Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Best Practices in Implementing Competency-based Learning & Development

Part 7 of 7 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Learning & Development 

Competency-based Learning & Development is typically introduced as part of a larger Competency-based Talent Management (CbTM) initiative, and in our experience, is being done to support major change in the organization. Perhaps the organization is trying to accomplish a major change in culture, perhaps it is shifting its vision and strategic direction, or perhaps it is facing the harsh realities of trying to maximize efficiencies and cope with major economic shifts in the market.

Regardless of the reason, changing the learning culture of the organization requires careful planning, good communication strategies targeted to different stakeholder perspectives and interests (i.e., senior leaders, managers / supervisors, employees, clients , partners, etc.), as well as training programs to equip managers and employees with the skills needed to participate in a competency-based learning and development process.

Best Practices for Effective Competency-based Learning & Development
Some of the key best practices in Competency-based Learning & Development include the following features:
  • Learning that links individual performance to the corporate and work unit business plans and goals;
  • Learning that focuses on results - i.e., desired behaviors (competencies);
  • Regular reviews and updating of learning plans to address changing demands;
  • Training for both managers and employees on how to effectively participate in a development process based on competencies;
  • Catalogs of learning resources and options (including formal training programs) mapped to competencies in order to support employees in identifying learning options that fit with their learning style and the resources available within the organization;
  • Competency-based learning curricula that focus learning on the key requirements for success;
  • Review and evaluation processes that determine the impact of learning, both at the individual and organizational levels.
competency-based learning and development
Implementation Stages
The following implementation stages are suggested for mid to large organizations implementing competencies in Learning and Development on a corporate-wide basis.

Stage 1:
  • Determine policy for integrating competencies in Learning and Development.
  • Design individual learning tools and processes (Learning Plan Form; associated instructions / tools) and / or acquire tools to support individual Learning Planning
  • Build and / or acquire a catalog of learning resources organized by competencies in the Dictionary and classify organization specific programs and tools in the catalog.  Advertise and make the catalog widely available to employees and managers (e.g., post the catalog on an intranet site; acquire and implement web-based software to support employee).
  • Develop and introduce training / communications related to competencies and their use in the learning and development process in the organization.
  • Implement self-assessment and reporting processes as competency profiles become available for job groups.  Introduce supervisor and multi-source assessments as employees become familiar and comfortable with the competencies and the assessment process.

Stage 2:
  • Conduct a needs assessment / analysis and design / develop tools and reporting processes to support aggregate analysis and reporting of organizational strengths and gaps in competencies.
  • Assess how curriculum / learning program design and development could be improved with the introduction of competency-based management.  Implement changes, as required.
  • Review current processes for conducting evaluations of learning programs within the organization and integrate competencies, as required, to determine:
  • the extent to which workplace behavior and outcomes have changed in the desired direction; as well as,
  • the impact and return on investment for the learning / training provided.


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HRSG is a leader in competency-based learning and development solutions and training. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

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