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Policy: Annual Appraisal / Personal Development Plan

In this article, we review the personal development plan approach for annual appraisals

Key Points

  • Managers are tasked with undertaking annual appraisals for each of the staff team within their respective cost centre, using the below model as part of their template for each of their staff
  • Agreed outcomes must be updated in BambooHR Goals for future tracking
  • Annual appraisals need to be diarised in the school's HR & Staffing calendar.
  • Managers must ensure that this is delivered. PDP Templates for appraisals can be found in Google Doc here



Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a central pillar to Hatching Dragon’s HR, Training & Development and Talent Acquisition & Retention strategy. It is a performance assessment and career progression mechanism that allows line managers and their subordinates to annually (or biannually, as the line manager sees fit) review progress in key areas of the subordinate’s job description and thereby assess areas of strength, development, career aspirations and what resources may be required to assist in their delivery.

Hatching Dragons employs the Personal Development Planning Cycle model to assist line managers and subordinates chart their PDP. 

The process broken down into 7 key stages (see image), starting with Establishing the purpose / direction of the PDP and concluding with the Review & Evaluation Stage. For full guidance on the process for each step, please see the PDP Cycle Explanation Matrix

It is driven by the line manager but delivered by the subordinate. What this means in practice is that each consecutive stage will be discussed between the line manager and the subordinate in consecutive Monthly Reviews, offering the subordinate the time to plan his / her response to each stage and therefore take a more proactive role in the development of his / her PDP. The line manager is there to act as a guide and to direct the subordinate to learning & development resource and opportunities and to help him / her realise his / her career progression and development ambitions within the business.

A central part of this process is self-evaluation and third party evaluation of subordinate’s performance in key areas.

Self-Evaluation: Hatching Dragons employs a number of tools to assist staff in self-evaluation:

  1. the Johari Window Framework encourages both self-evaluation and third party evaluation, asking staff to draw on what they know of themselves and then to compare with feedback secured through third party assessments (see below). Please see the Johari Window Framework Template in resources for staff to fill out.
  2. Kolb’s Learning Cycle – to help staff better understand how they learn optimally 
  3. Personal SWOT Analysis – an opportunity for staff to evaluate their own individual strengths, weaknesses, opportunities (for progression & development) and threats (to their position / progression within the company)

Third Party Evaluation: Hatching Dragons employs a number of approaches for third party evaluation that can feed into the subordinates PDP:

  • Peer on Peer observations – in which colleagues will assess the practice of their peers for submission to management
  • Monthly Supervisions with line managers, of which stages of the PDP will be set as targets for staff to develop on themselves
  • Quaterly Reviews with line manager – to assess parts of the PDP and progression towards meeting KPIs
  • Annual Appraisals, of which the consolidated / finalised PDP and its review will be a central part
  • 360-degree staff feedback surveys – hosted online and on our website, delivered through survey monkey
  • Parent / Customer feedback on individual staff

These evaluation channels are on-going, making the PDP and the feedback that provides the basis for development, an organic document that is subject to periodic review. This is why the monthly development of the PDP, discussed between the line manager and the subordinate during monthly reviews, is so critical.

Context & Prerequisites

As discussed above, the PDP is part of a multi-channel HR, Training & Development and Talent Retention Approach within Hatching Dragons. All staff benefit from an annual performance review and appraisal system that allows for:

Job Description – to be signed upon induction and to be used as a baseline to progress assessment on agreed KPIs during induction and throughout probationPeer on peer reviews – peer assessments from colleagues on practiceManager Supervisions – monthly meetings with line managerQuarterly Reviews – quarterly managerial reviews to ensure that staff are delivering on KPIs set within the PDPAnnual Appraisals – with the manager to both review / revise the PDP and assess the staff member’s delivery on previous objectives360 Degree staff surveys – as a tool to secure more feedback for the Johari Window FrameworkParent / Customer feedback – as a tool to assess staff member’s adherence to company standards and brand values

The principle approach for the PDP is that:

  1. It is designed by both the staff member and his / her line manager to provide a starting point for the basis of evaluation to assess his / her progression towards agreed objectives
  2. It is regularly updated based on on-going feedback from the above sources

The process is explained in more detail below

Personal Development Plan (PDP) Process

The process for the development of the PDP will be as follows:

  1. Induction: Upon starting with the business, the new staffer will sit with his / her line manager to set out the parameters of the PDP developmental cycle, 
    1. how the staffer will be evaluated based on his / her job description over the probation period (as defined in his / her contract)
    2. how the staffer will be required to feed into the process and when expected material will be required (Johari Window / Kolb’s learning cycle and other developmental / self-assessment materials). 
    3. The Personal Development Planning Cycle – see the Explanation note – and how the staffer will be ultimately responsible for policing it with the line manager
    4. The Training & Development Options provided by the company and avenues for external training if desired to feed into the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) of the staff member

During this induction, the line manager will also outline the third-party assessment timetable, giving the staff member an indication as to when he / she will be subject to evaluation that will feed into the development of the PDP.

  1. First Monthly Supervision: The staffer will be expected to provide his / her line manager with his / her self-assessment materials to provide the baseline for the PDP, in terms of:
    1. Johari Window / SWOT analysis of his / her strengths, developmental areas, opportunities and threats
    2. Career progression – 3 and 5 year targets
    3. Training & Developmental Areas to be considered in their delivery
  1. Probation Review: The review of his / her adherence to and delivery of the KPIs set out in his / her Job Description
  1. Monthly Supervisions: To assess third party assessment of the staffer (peer on peer and any other commentary, as well as line manager review / staffer feedback) and incorporate into the PDP
  1. Quarterly Reviews: To offer quarterly evaluation reviews of the staffer’s progress in delivering on KPIs and tracking progress in training & development
  1. Annual Appraisal: For the PDP, now finalised to be reviewed based on the inputs throughout the course of the year and the evaluation / KPI criteria and timelines mapped during induction and subsequent Supervisions and Reviews

Contents of the PDP

The Personal Development Planning Template

It is important that the employee has a clear, agreed job description which defines the primary purpose of the role and the critical success factors relating to it. Line manager should have a signed Job Description printed as part of the PDP review process to assess past performance and determine new parameters for success in the coming period. 

Line Managers should review assessment material outlined above (feedback surveys – peer on peer and monthly supervisions / quarterly reviews) as part of the basis for evaluating performance, as well as the staff member’s own assessment in the Johari Window, Kolb’s Learning Cycle and other self-evaluation channels.

Job Description KPIs

Company Values

(Manager to review Job Description & KPIs listed with Review & Supervision Notes and supplementary third party feedback)

(Consider how the staffer has complied with the company’s ethos and brand values)

Interpersonal Skills

Business Skills

(Use 360 degree staff assessment & peer on peer / customer feedback)

(Review of Google Drive / Microsoft / Adobe & Accountancy / ICT platforms and staff knowledge of) 

Technical Skills

Managerial Skills

(Development of Childcare knowledge, theory & practice – qualifications and training progression in early years along with supervisions & peer assessments of practice)

(Staff management / feedback from subordinates etc)


(Use the Johari Window and Staff Member’s SWOT analysis as the basis to develop the below self-evaluation section


Development Areas / Needs




Preferred Method of Learning

(See Kolb’s Learning Cycle)




Career Aspirations

Training / Resources Required (CPD Programme)

(NB reference to Job Description of aspirational role & KPIs and staff timeframe to realise ambition)

(NB timeframes and specific training required to deliver / development opportunities e.g. shadowing / secondment)

Development Opportunities

(job rotation / coaching / mentoring / secondment / work shadowing)

SMART Objectives

It is equally important that there are clear objectives for the review period, including measures of success and timescales for each objective.

Prioritisation of these objectives is a key part of measurement they can fall into High, Medium, Low (H/M/L) and, Short, Medium & Long term (ST/MT/LT), and will be identified in the second column to each field

New Job Description / KPIs

Company Values


Interpersonal Skills

Business Skills







(Summary of key actions and due dates for delivery)