High performing organizations understand that success depends on the knowledge and skills of their employees. They also realize that formal education doesn’t entirely prepare employees with the appropriate skills needed to perform optimally within their specific industry or organization. Hence the reason training is so important.

However, many organizations find it challenging to move from inspiration to implementation, especially small businesses or those with fewer than 1,000 employees.

A great place to start is with a competency model followed by gaining an understanding of what employees know and what they don’t know. Here’s a 4-step plan to get you started.

Step 1: Define your Competency Model

A “competency model” defines the skills and levels of proficiency in those skills that an employee needs to possess to do a particular job effectively.

Based on best practice research, a competency model contains three parts:

Professional Skills

The professional skill set includes the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics that employees at all levels need to be successful regardless of technical or job related expertise. This set includes emotional intelligence skills such as self-awareness, self-management and relationship management which have repeatedly shown significant impact on job success.

Leadership Skills

The leadership skill set includes the knowledge, abilities and other characteristics needed by managers and leaders at all levels of the organization. Performance management, project management, team leadership and application of business acumen are examples of these skills.

Occupational Skills

Several occupational skill sets include job specific knowledge, abilities and skills needed in such fields as human resource management, learning and development, information technology, finance, customer service, manufacturing, sales and marketing, etc.

Step 2: Assess Employees’ Skills

Assessments may be conducted online using modern polling tools to collect skills data. Employees may assess themselves, managers assess their employees, and other relationship roles (peer, subordinate, mentor, customer, and more) may also contribute input on the skills of each employee.

Data from such online assessments help identify both hidden strengths and critical weaknesses within your workforce. This critical step allows organizations to make important planning decisions about training and staffing based on data rather than anecdote or guesswork.

Step 3: Analyze the Skills Inventory and Individual and Organizational Skills Gaps

After assessing their skills, users should be able to access both a “Strengths Report” and an “Individual Skill Gaps Report.” Organization leaders can analyze this data for individuals and across the entire organization to create action plans based on skills gaps overall or by role, providing valuable insight into workforce skill levels. Armed with this data, managers and leaders are able to make better informed decisions resulting in improved staff performance and reduced training and staffing costs.

Step 4: Take Action to Achieve Your New Objectives

The logical next step is to provide training materials tailored to building specific competencies and to closing identified skills gaps. Training can be delivered through online courses, on-the-job training, mentoring, creation of job aids, and harvesting knowledge into books. One of the biggest paybacks you get is from employees and supervisors discussing the outcome of the gap analysis, since this fosters an environment of open discussion where both gain further understanding of employees’ strengths and weaknesses.

As you take action and implement an assessment, training, and analytics solution to support training, you help your organization move closer to achieving optimal performance. For more in-depth knowledge, download our white paper – Energizing Performance Through Competency Management. Or, for a complimentary consultation, contact us here at Avilar.

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