A competency-based training approach is one of the most important pieces of a competency development program. It’s the key component that expands the skill set of each staff member. This, in turn, boosts the competency level of the whole organization. A targeted, competency-based training program can take new hires, existing staff, and your entire company to the next level.
Plan it Out
Prior to starting a competency-based training program, it’s important to lay some groundwork and create a master plan for your approach. In the planning stages, it’s essential for decision makers within your organization to agree on your core competencies. By getting all key staff members on board from the beginning, this will mean less time spent deliberating, and possibly derailing your framework and deadlines later on in the competency management roll-out. It’s also important to make your intentions clear to everyone in the organization and, if possible, provide an outline with goals, deadlines, and expectations.
Once the preliminary groundwork is completed, you can begin to give assessments to find out where your employees stand competency-wise. While assessments are an important part of the discovery process, for many (including the team member being assessed), the term “assessment” carries a lot of negative baggage. A couple different types of assessments include self assessments, supervisory assessments, online, face-to-face or a combination of all of these. It’s important to make sure your employees understand the purpose of the assessment and that you clarify the goals you have for them.
Create a Framework for Competency-Based Training
After the planning stages are complete and assessments have been given, it’s time to create a competency-based training framework. Together with all levels of management, it’s important to lay out a plan that will work for your organization. Make sure to develop a training framework that is aligned with your competency development goals.
When creating a framework for competency-based training, keep in mind:
- Ease of use– If the program is hard to understand, students can get frustrated.
- Motivation – If students can’t see the end goal or don’t understand how the program is benefiting them, they won’t push themselves to meet your goals.
- Work-life balance – For most organizations, staff are working full-time and learning new skills after hours. This can put a strain on employees. It’s important to keep a work-life balance in mind when creating your framework, your timeline and your goals.
Align Competency-Based Training with Assessments
To make the most out of your training, use the data gathered from your assessments to decide where the skill gaps exist. Convey this information to management and decide on the skill areas you want to develop. Prioritize these skill gaps and develop a plan, set deadlines and empower your staff throughout this process. It’s important that your workforce understands the end goal or they won’t feel motivated. Explain to staff that by building their skill sets and expanding their competencies, they’ll be benefiting personally from this process in addition to benefiting the organization as a whole.
Implement Competency-Based Training
What makes competency-based training programs stand out against more generic training is that they specifically target the the skills needed to expand and improve an organization’s core competencies. Along with an overall Competency Development plan, this provides the best return on investment for an organization.
There are several ways to implement your competency-based training approach including, but not limited to, one-on-one training sessions, workshops, e-courses, individual and self-paced, in a group setting with an instructor, and more. Remember that when adults start a training program there are these two things to consider:
1.) Each individual comes with varying levels of knowledge about the subject.
2.) Each individual has different learning styles as well as all of the other, non-work related things happening in their lives. They are going to learn at different paces.
No matter what format you decide upon, make sure that your learning program is conducive to those who are taking the courses. With most organizations, staff are already working forty hours per week so self paced online courses could be the key. For a subject that relates to larger groups or is company-wide, a workshop during work hours might be better.
Make use of Competency-Based Learning Management Software
To provide staff with the best learning experience possible, as well as create a framework that is sustainable and will be usable for years to come, implementing competency-based learning management system software (LMS) is crucial. Providing staff with an e-learning option like Avilar’s LMS allows for a customized, self-paced learning experience: a structure that makes sense for all involved.
Our LMS includes the ability to track all learning activities of your employees, define and track employee certifications and customize the LMS to meet your workforce’s specific needs. Avilar’s LMS also includes a collaborative “study group” area where students can collaborate with others in their group.
By implementing Learning Management System software, data is easily accessible by management. This allows for quick and easy decision making and ongoing skills gap analysis.
Analyze and Revise
After your competency-based training program has been implemented, it’s important to continue to improve upon the framework–collect data, interview staff, speak with management and make changes to your training program based on your findings. This will create the most sustainable competency-based training program going forward.
If you have questions about creating a competency-based framework or about our learning management system software, contact us.