If your organization already does formal skills assessments (or is thinking about doing them), it can provide management with significant insight to the overall state of your IT workforce. But it also creates an expectation in your workforce regarding properly leveraging that information, both for the individual’s and the organization’s benefit.
My experience has shown that the creation of individual development plans (IDPs) is an effective means to capture the current state of an individual’s KSAs, and document appropriate actions over multiple years for an individual to reach a set of professional career objectives.
The employee should take charge of creating an IDP, with the first question being, “Where do I want to be in terms of my KSAs and my position in five years time?” By having an employee answer this question and develop and document a set of actions to advance year by year, the manager and employee can have an in-depth discussion about the employee, their role in the organization moving forward, and support the organization can provide for the employee in obtaining their five-year objectives. This can be a powerful motivator for the employee, and to the degree the organization is supportive, can be a retention tool for the organization.
IDPs need not be long (recommend under one page), with the focus first on the employee describing their five-year objectives, along with a year-by-year set of tasks to meeting such objectives. These sets of tasks will generally fall into the following categories:
Once an employee develops an IDP, it can then become a living tool that can be reviewed and updated by the employee each year. It also becomes a key part of the performance review discussion with one’s manager, both in terms of reviewing performance against the past year’s tasks, and also fostering the review of future development over the next five years.