In recent weeks I have been preparing several career development plans (CDP) for my direct reports. This is a multi-step process starting with the employee answering a set of questions, and for engineers a technical skill-set self-assessment. Typically over a lunch we discuss theses answers and review the self assessment. The next step is for me to write up my opinion on the employee: strengths, areas of improvement, and development steps.
Previously when engineers asked when the next CDP will be, my answer was simple: "CDPs are always. Don't wait for a specific HR designated time period. Let's talk in our regular one-on-one about this."
One-on-ones are typically weekly. If there is one thing I want to pass along to new managers is to have regular one-on-one meetings with your team. Talk about the projects, but also about how they see things in the company or their opinion on pending decisions. Over the last 7 years, it is my habit to have one-on-ones while walking around the company neighborhood. This is a habit I picked up from my first manager at RTI: she was pregnant at the time and wanted to include walks in her daily routine. The habit stuck with me. I must have logged hundreds of miles in recent years in the Sunnyvale area. The Northern California weather helps.
I've written up my career advise opinion -'cause that is all that really is: my opinion- for several employees now. I must admit it has been quiet complementary to the one-on-one mentoring and career advise. This is in part thanks to the guiding CDP questions and the fact that we make it a special focus. Thus I've come around: career development is always and at least once a year.