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Take Your Team from Competent to Capable with Effective, Actionable Training Solutions

  1. Pen Jennifer Martin
  2. Calendar April 15, 2021

Are you tasked with building or updating a professional training program for the employees at your organization? Could you use actionable steps and insights to take learning from theory to practice, with the aim at getting measurable performance improvements from your employees?

To transform your competency or capability model into action from your employees, you’ll need interactive learning solutions to cultivate employee confidence that will lead to consistent and effective performance. You must empower your employees with learning experiences that promote a positive mindset toward the new behavior- one where they’ll gain a better attitude through on-the-job practice. Employees need decision-making experiences in a safe learning environment, and a catalyst to move them outside their comfort zone to engage with challenges that build their confidence.

Employees need decision-making experiences in a safe learning environment.

But how do you start a design process with a model as its foundation? First, let’s look at the distinction between two main models commonly used in learning and development and business strategies: a competency model and capability model It’s helpful to know the difference between the two to effectively leverage them into programs or initiatives that will help your organization meet specific business goals.

For a while people would initially think of competencies when designing their training programs, and that makes sense. Because competencies are traditionally a set of specific skills a learner will need to fulfil the current expectations related to their in their professional position, employees need training programs to help them gain those skills. Those skills might include medical training for a medical assistant, the various functions of office software for a receptionist or accountant. For a software developer a competency could include extensive knowledge of coding language.

In general, employees gain competency through formal education and training; experience on the job as an apprentice or with guidance from mentors and leaders; through self-directed study and participation in professional development programs.

 Capabilities are a little different and we’re seeing a shift in L&D teams prioritizing or focusing on capabilities more than only competencies. According to R. Nagarajan and Dr. R. Prabhu’s research, “While competence deals with the current state, capability focuses on the ability to develop and flex to meet future needs.”

A capable employee has the ability to creatively cope with the complexity of new conditions. It’s their ability to use competencies in a new way based on novel situations which is helpful considering that change is inevitable in any organization.

The goal of a capability model is to provide your employees with the set of qualities, abilities, and potential skills they’ll need to meet challenges inherent in their roles. You want to give them a foundation of skills to draw from, plus the right mindset, attitude, and instincts to find solutions while working on the job.

Provide your employees with the set of qualities, abilities, and potential skills they’ll need to meet challenges inherent in their roles.

A well-crafted plan to incorporate either a competency or capability model into learning programs should start with the following strategies:

  • Contextualize the capabilities or competencies – For learners to successfully perform in ways that will positively impact the business, they need to see and hear what competencies and capabilities look and sound like within the context in which they will actually use them in their specific role. Training should demonstrate these skills and have the learner practice in similar conditions they’ll perform them on the job. This will boost the learner’s understanding of the behavior and will help them directly apply what they’ve practiced to everyday situations.
  • Contextualize the capabilities or competencies – For learners to successfully perform in ways that will positively impact the business, they need to see and hear what competencies and capabilities look and sound like within the context in which they will actually use them in their specific role. Trainings should demonstrate these skills and have the learner practice in similar conditions they’ll perform them on the job.  This will boost the learners understanding of the behavior, and will help them directly apply what they’ve practiced to everyday situations.
  • Contextualize the capabilities or competencies – For learners to successfully perform in ways that will positively impact the business, they need to see and hear what competencies and capabilities look and sound like within the context in which they will actually use them in their specific role. Trainings should demonstrate these skills and have the learner practice in similar conditions they’ll perform them on the job.  This will boost the learners understanding of the behavior, and will help them directly apply what they’ve practiced to everyday situations.

Additionally, it’s important at each step in the process to provide the right messaging to your learners. They should receive clear instruction, guidance, and feedback on their performance and if they’re meeting expectations.  All guidance should be direct and actionable so they know what to do to improve or adjust their behavior.

If you follow these basic principles while designing your training program, you will have the foundation to take your training to actionable steps with outcomes that can be measured.

What metrics may be used to determine the efficacy of your training solution? Contextualizing capabilities should lead to an overall improvement of operational performance. Here’s what you might measure, and how you might measure it:

  • Individual performance reviews and KPIs
  • Development plan progress
  • Management observation
  • Customer satisfaction scores

You may use HR data in the form of aggregated information about performance reviews, as well as digital data such as hits on learning sites. Self-reported information gathered directly from employees or through surveys may be useful as well.

Note: It is often helpful to plan your training with key metrics in mind at the very beginning to determine how effective your training is at reaching goals set by your organization for the workforce.

Finally, it is often useful to bring in a performance consultant to help develop effective learning programs and identify areas of need. The team at AllenComm is passionate about learning and development solutions and would be happy to hear from you with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

About Us:

At AllenComm, we design, develop and deploy training-based content for large learning audiences using accessible innovation. Our people, technology, and services work to help organizations scale their training content and help L&D departments make an impact to gain the recognition they deserve. We can help with innovative, scalable, impactful solutions for your organization.

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