Competency Development for Smart Organisations

In our business training and business consultancy practice we regularly advise clients on the best ways to develop the competency of their organisation. We’d like to share our approach with you here.

First though, we need to clarify what competency is. At the organisational level, core competency results from deploying specific behaviours, skills and methods that deliver additional value to the customer. These, together with organisation resources, give an organisation capability to maintain competitive advantage and access a wide variety of markets. Core competency links directly to strategic success.

Organisational core competency rests on individuals acquiring and using those strategically aligned behaviours, skills and methods at work. What people do drives what the organisation achieves. Smart organisations know what are the behaviours, skills and methods they need for strategic success, and invest heavily in bringing them into play.

So, how do smart organisations step that out? Here’s how:

  1. Invest in an organisation wide competencies framework. This describes the strategically aligned behaviours and skills needed for every role at every level in the organisation. Many of these behaviours and skills will be shared with other businesses, some will be unique to your own industry, sector and history. It’s not a huge job, but start where your need is greatest. The senior leadership team needs to sign off on this as confirmation that these are the ones; and for maximum value they need to be embedded in recruitment, induction and performance management as well as to inform training.
  2. Inventory your people against this framework. An on-line 360-degree review is the most comprehensive and reliable tool for a behaviours inventory; technical skills are better assessed by a specialist or manager review. Make sure the 360-degree review specifically uses your own framework – reviews against generic frameworks don’t quite cut it.
  3. Use the review information to identify and prioritise your training needs. This is a critical step to getting value from the training you put in place. And you will get better results (and value) by focusing on the ‘nearly there’ behaviours of your people than you will by trying to fix fatal flaws.
  4. Purchase training solutions with learning outcomes that focus on changing skills and behaviours at work and improving organisation results. To do this, training needs to provide new ideas, and best practice tools and methods; provide practice of new skills and behaviours in a safe environment; and support application of new skills and behaviours back at work. Most training solutions don’t do this at all well – be very careful about what you buy and who you buy from.
  5. Measure everything, as you go and at the end. Regularly check in on learner engagement, learning achieved, application of new skills and behaviours on the job, and changes to organisation results. Best practice is to design the measurement protocols into your learning solutions right from the beginning. And when you find things that are not working as you want, fix them straight away.

If you’re responding to training needs without a competency framework, inventory, or analysis to reveal priority needs, then you need help. Your current investment may not be aligned to strategy and may not be supporting organisation core competency. That needs to be fixed, fast.

At ODI our core competency lies in partnering with clients to build their organisational competency and improve their results. We have the consultants, facilitators and coaches to build frameworks, administer 360-degree and other reviews, identify needs, provide trainingsolutions that change skills and behaviours and improve results, and measure and report outcomes at every step.

Talk to Kyran or Nicky on 03 943 2373 about how ODI can help you build competency in your organisation.