Competency-based Training The Academy Way

The competency framework, once developed, forms a repository of skills and knowledge within the organisation.

Lifelong learning now is a necessity, not a choice. Employers need to ensure that employees are acquiring the right skills, technical as well as behavioural, to thrive in the competitive ecosystem. The new generation of employees wants to be invested, and they are eager to learn new skills, strive for self-development and have their career path mapped out.  

As Learning & Development touches almost every aspect of the employee life cycle like hiring, onboarding, engagement, performance and retention, it is the responsibility of L&D heads to align the development programmes to business strategy. They must design the programmes and measure the impact on performance. Most companies use ‘competencies’ to do this.

Competencies are the integrated knowledge, skill and behaviours that an employee needs to exhibit to perform his or her role effectively. By having competencies defined for each role, the organisation not only sets expectations from its employees but also aligns personal performance to business goals. The framework comprises information on the required level of competencies for each role vs the actual level of competencies of each employee for that role. 

The competency framework, once developed, forms a repository of skills and knowledge within the organisation. It can be used in various ways in talent development and management. One such use case is a competency-based training model, which helps in the targeted development of new hires and existing employees. What makes a competency-based training programme different from generic training is that it specifically targets the skills needed or gaps identified to improve the overall competencies of the organisation. Also, it focusses on skills rather than knowledge acquisition.  

Competency-based training can be effectively run through an academy model. Training sessions are identified based on the priority skills marked in the competency framework. Then, participants are identified based on their skill gap. The entire lifecycle of a training programme involves a pre-assessment, actual training, intervention, and, finally, a post-assessment test to measure the success of the training programme. The interventions after the training programme support the application of skills to enhance performance. Execution of training programmes in this manner ensures the effectiveness of training sessions that have a direct impact on the performance of employees. The employee’s success in training is recorded as an upward movement in his/her competency. 

If Machine Learning is identified as a high-priority competency, the training programme for it will get precedence over other training sessions. The content for the training programme will come from the competency framework, which is customised according to the role. Participants for the training programme will be identified based on gaps (desired vs actual). The participants will go through a pre-assessment and then the actual training. After two months, an intervention is arranged. The intervention is in the form of on-the-job support, wherein the trainer helps solve queries that may arise while implementing the skills learned. Finally, a post-assessment test is conducted to measure the progress post-training. Each participant is observed by his/her supervisor for a period of three months to assess if the skill acquired has had a positive impact on performance. Based on the observation, the competency level of each participant is updated. 

The framework consists not only of current but also future competencies, which are identified through the strategic plan of an organisation. The approach helps the organisation get future-ready with its talent so that strategic initiatives are executed promptly and efficiently. 

Also, it is important to revisit the competency framework periodically, so that the data can be reviewed, updated and improved upon as per the current situation or business need. 

Competency-based training run through the academy model results in targeted learning, which positively impacts business and helps develop employees. It helps build a unique combination of competencies within the organisation, which acts as a competitive advantage. It is the best return on investment for any organisation if created, executed and maintained with precision. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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Competency training integrated knowledge skill behaviour

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