HR Hartley

irascible insider on… sugar-coating personal development

Taking the carrot and stick to staff

few years ago, we introduced something called the personnel development planner
(PDP) across the company. It aimed to aid motivation, create staff engagement,
prompt more interaction with line managers, harness talent, identify and
clarify career paths, facilitate fast-tracking, manage performance…

was part of a company-wide ‘People mean business’ scheme. It was linked to new
company values, one of which was ‘valuing people’. No doubt you’ve heard it all

in HR did the usual: we marketed it and offered incentives to line managers to
follow new procedures, pasted the company values far and wide and linked them
to all we did, and wheedled messages designed to motivate and spread goodwill
out of our global and local leaders .

The grumbling gathered in pace and volume from
Stoke to
Singapore. "Time-wasting," the
staff cried. "Utter rubbish." We pleaded for compliance and buy-in.
We held courses on how to conduct a PDP meeting, and fill in the form. It went
through several incarnations – the latest of which has survived for three
years, and has largely been successful.

still the spoilers remain. Influential managers in three divisions won’t play
ball. PDP returns from them are sporadic, staff participation minimal. These
are the same people who have shouted the loudest for bigger budgets to reward
top performers with cash bonuses. Money, they reckon, is the only thing that

just granted that request company-wide – excluding those managers who fail to
carry out their PDPs. Will
it work? Watch this space.

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