How to encourage business growth through your team’s personal development 

How to encourage business growth through your team’s personal development

Your team is in place and performing as they should be. Things are running smoothly, but what happens next? If you want to grow your business, then your team needs to grow in their knowledge, skills and expertise.

Team development can seem like a huge investment in both time and money, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right planning, team development can be, and should be, part of your day-to-day activities.

Team development starts with the individual. Each member of your team, whether junior or senior, should have a personal development plan (PDP). A PDP is a tool to help each member of your team focus on progressing and improving their skills on an ongoing basis. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to support each team member in creating a PDP that will help them move from one specific point to another.

Let’s look at an example.

A junior member of your team has just passed their probation and it’s time for them to develop their first PDP. To kickstart proceedings, reflect on these three very simple, but very important, words.

Be. Do. Have.

What does the team member want to ‘have’?

What does the team member want to ‘have’? This question will help form their personal goals. Do they want to ‘have’ a new car, for example, or ‘have’ more time to spend with their family? It’s crucial that a PDP starts with personal goals as these are the motivators for the individual to develop and get better. Helping your team to achieve their personal goals and have a positive impact on their lives will in turn have a positive impact on the business. Looking after your team will mean they look after business.

Once the team member has established what they want to ‘have’, they will need to consider what they need to ‘be’ and what they need to ‘do’ in order to achieve their personal goals. What do they need to ‘be’ and ‘do’ to move to the next step? How can they help the business so the business can help them?

Headline work goal

The team member should identify a ‘headline work goal’ – a measurable objective for their work performance over the coming year. This is about identifying a clear, achievable target, which is going to mean that in the next 12 months the team member will have achieved something for the business which will mean the business can help them achieve their personal goals.

Now, how’s that junior team member’s PDP shaping up? In a year’s time, they want to have booked a holiday to New York for a week and also buy their first car so they can finally leave their crowded train commute behind. In order to ‘have’ these things, they’ve identified that they will need a promotion and a pay rise of at least £2,000 per year.

Holiday and Salary

So far, so good for them. How does helping them go on a holiday of a lifetime and increasing their salary help your business grow? The next part of the PDP is crucial. You will now work with the team member to identify SMART work goals – the things that the team member needs to ‘be’ and ‘do’ to get better at their job and therefore help the business grow through the addition of new skills and expertise.


In order to create the SMART work goals, the team member should consider the following:

  • Where are my gaps? What do I need to improve in order to have an impact on the business and achieve my personal goals?
  • Which core skill could I work on to help me get better at my job?
  • What do I need to do over the next 3 months to help me towards my headline goal and personal goals?

A 12-month goal can seem daunting and intangible, so it’s key the SMART goals break the headline goal down into manageable 3-month chunks. What progress can be made over the next quarter to move towards the overall goal?

As a manager, you should help the team member identify different ways of improving their skills and expertise. Part of this is identifying how they learn best. Are they a reader or do they learn more through watching videos? Would external courses benefit them or do they learn more through their peers? What are they already doing as part of their role that fits with their PDP, and could they do more of it in order to improve?

What next?

Following your discussion, the team member should go away and write up their PDP, before presenting to you for sign-off. Each team member’s PDP should fill you with confidence that their development is going to have a positive impact on the business.

Once you and your team member are happy with their PDP, the team member should book in time with you every six weeks or so to check in on progress. It’s important to schedule these regular check-ins to ensure everything is moving in the direction you expect it to.

Helping your people grow is a surefire way to help your business grow. By creating a PDP for each team member, you’re demonstrating that you see them developing within your business and you feel they are an integral part of the team.

Chew on this:

Can your business really grow if your team aren’t always getting better? 


Author: Safaraz Ali
My career began in the financial services sector and since 1999, I have been involved in the world of business. I am Head of Pathway Group, which is a workforce development solutions provider. Pathway Group specialise in apprenticeship training and recruitment. I also offer independent strategy, advice, and investment for a wide range of private business sector. These include: social care, education, training, and recruitment.