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PIP vs. PDP: What’s the Difference?

by | Apr 13, 2022 | Career Planning

We can probably all agree: Business abbreviations are the worst! When you don’t know what they mean, they sound like random letters thrown together to make some people feel superior and leave the rest of us feeling totally confused and ignorant. 

The professional development world is full of abbreviations too, and they can be just as confusing. PIP and PDP are two common abbreviations that cause a lot of confusion. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a PIP?

PIP stands for Performance Improvement Plan. A PIP is used to document performance issues and exactly what an employee needs to do to recover. It can be a step toward termination, though it doesn’t have to be.

If you’ve been put on a PIP, this article can help you approach the situation strategically.

What is a PDP?

PDP stands for Professional Development Plan. A PDP is used to define career goals and map out activities to help you achieve them. It can be a useful step in career development and advancement.

While a PIP is generally considered a negative thing, a PDP is positive. A PIP is typically created by a manager and given to the employee. A PDP is typically created by the employee and sometimes (though not always) shared with the manager.

I’ve written extensively about the steps to take to build your own Professional Development Plan. You can learn more about it here.

Hopefully this helps clear up the mystery of these two similar-sounding abbreviations!

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The Career Success Library is a convenient, affordable online learning center for career advancers including administrative professionals, emerging leaders, and anyone else who wants to leverage the power of ongoing professional development. 

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Professional Career Manager (PCM). She is an author, in-demand presenter and international speaker known for engaging, entertaining, educating and empowering audiences of all sizes and backgrounds. Learn more here.

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