Cost effective competency management has always been important and in the current climate as we adjust to the challenge of Covid-19 and its implications, it is even more critical.
Yet over the years, through our work at Polaris Learning, we have frequently come across cumbersome and ineffective approaches to competency management systems.
Unfortunately, too many companies have spent small fortunes trying to manage competency. The solutions mapped out on paper, or the online competency management software implemented, have been expensive. And yet, the risk profile has not reduced, the competency of people has not moved forward or they cannot provide reassurance that they are on top of competency management in key risk areas.
However, there are steps that you can take to achieve your strategic goals with your competency management system and do this cost effectively. Here we will focus on the key themes that will have the biggest impact on your success rate.
Firstly, take a strategic approach to competency management and do not get sidetracked. Start by being clear on what your vision and goals are for your competency management system and structure your approach accordingly so that you will not have to re-work them.
Secondly, identify your key risks, be they major accident hazards or otherwise, and plan everything accordingly. This is the primary focus of your competency management system: To remove, reduce or mitigate risk. Before any item goes into your competency management system, it must pass this test. However, remember that when you are looking at individual competencies for job roles, behavioural and leadership competencies are required alongside technical competencies.
Thirdly, ensure that you understand and know how to apply the relevant legislation and industry body requirements or you will miss critical elements or even sink your system.
Fourth, get the right balance between a comprehensive and workable competency management system. Systems that are too big will fail quickly, but too minimal and you risk an exercise that adds no value.
Fifth, get buy-in from your assessors and verifiers by thinking about them early in the process, provide the right guidance and think carefully about how you spend your training budget to get the best results.
Finally, before you think about online software, make sure that your system is working well offline. Do not jump straight in and risk buying a competency management solution that does not fit the reality of your assessment set-up, requires too much upfront tailoring to work for your people, or has extra functionality that your people cannot follow or use.