Posts tagged Skills Gap
How do I ensure a results-oriented competency model?
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Build the model correctly

A competency model defines what each person in their role needs to be able to do, specifically, in order to perform their part of corporate strategy. If your competency model does that, without extraneous detail, then your competency model will be results-oriented, in fact, tied directly to corporate objectives and needs.

Follow the steps documented here to build a role-based competency model correctly.  

 

At a high level, the competency model tasks describe what someone must do.

The behavioral examples describe how someone must do the task.

 

Include skills of the future

With the pace of change and speed of business, including the incorporation of digitization and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, to be truly results-oriented, you need to be looking ahead. What tasks and skills will someone need not just to do their job today, but to make the people, and therefore the organization, competitive tomorrow? These are things like learning agility, critical thinking, data analysis, and influencing.

 

Reflect the organization’s business values

Created models should also reflect business values. The tasks and skills in the model define what that individual needs to do to be successful. If your organization values customer focus above all else, then it is likely that every job in the company will have some skill in their model that reflects internal or customer focus.

 These values might also be reflected in the behavioral examples of many tasks. That is, even a technical task such as “Create software functional specifications” might have examples that describe how to apply customer focus, for example, “Engage cross-functional stakeholders to ensure their needs are being met by the specifications.”

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
3 ways to ensure you frustrate and disengage your employees

What’s the sure fire way to frustrate and disengage your employees?

  1. Don’t tell them what they need to do to be successful

  2. Don’t give them the ability to see if they have the skills to accomplish what they need to do

  3. Don’t give them the opportunity to close skill gaps 

In the Deloitte study on Human Capital Trends[1], skill gaps and employee engagement problems are at the top of mind of 87% of the leaders in HR and executive management. Only 14% of L&D leaders believe business leaders view them as strategic partners, with 52% seen as mediocre partners or worse. This is because the skills gap crisis and employee disengagement continue to grow, and leadership doesn’t see Learning & Development as the solution. (Read more in this white paper)

Want to ensure that your business leaders DON’T view you as a strategic partner? Follow these 3 steps.

 

1) Don’t tell them what they need to be successful

A role-based competency model describes what it looks like to be great in each role. It defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy. It’s a roadmap to be great. And it’s never been more important than with the speed of change, the impact of digitization and artificial intelligence on jobs, and the scarcity of good talent. If you don’t want to tell your employees what they need to be successful, don’t create and use a competency model for each role.

 

2) Don’t give them the ability to see if they have the skills to accomplish what they need to do

To make competency modeling actionable, you need to enable people in that role to self-assess against it and identify skills gaps relative to their work. If you don’t want to give your employees the ability to see if they have the skills required for their role, and you don’t want to intrinsically motivate them to bridge their skill gaps, don’t enable them to perform a skills assessment with a skills assessment system/competency assessment system.

 

3) Don’t give them the opportunity to close skill gaps

After people have performed a skills assessment for their job and know what specific skill gaps they have, you need to automate the identification of competency-based learning relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. This eliminates guesswork. It accelerates learning transfer. It drives behavior change. It creates a culture of learning and learning agility that experts say is the key to sustainable competitive advantage. If you don’t want to give your employees the opportunity to close their job skill gaps, don’t provide a personalized learning plan. Just hope that their managers can coach them up.

 

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning

Also found on LInkedIn and ATD

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How do we motivate employees to take charge of their development?

This is an easier question than you might think.

Stop pushing!

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What I mean is, stop doing training TO them. Stop dragging people to what you think they should do.

They then have 2 choices:

1)      Own their development, focusing on what they want and need, with the tools they have for doing it.

2)      Or fall behind. Falling behind means they will not only get passed by for promotions, they will likely have trouble keeping their current job if they don’t have the skills (which are probably changing) and can’t keep up. And that job they have now? Well, it may simply cease to exist in its current form.

 According to Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle-Giulioni:

“Learning agility is the new job security. Employees who want to own their development and drive it in a desirable direction need to shift their attention toward enhancing employability with key skills, capabilities, and experiences. They must look around the corner to anticipate changing needs.”

An increasing number of employees in your organization already get it. They want to own their development and you need to make it easier for them to do so. More on that in a moment.

For those who don’t have motivation today, leverage the power of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, which research shows is more effective at driving action then sharing positive benefits.

The Institute for the Future says that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't yet been invented. Guess what? That means that jobs that do exist today will be replaced by those new jobs. And it won’t take until 2030 to happen. It’s happening now.

Employees either want to grow, or they don’t. But if they personally don’t take steps to continue to learn and grow, someone else will. And they will find themselves unemployable on the other side of the divide.

You can’t change the motivation of a complacent employee. Only they can do that. But if everyone around them becomes more engaged and learning new things, and having better conversations with their manager, and getting new challenges or even new positions, and they’re not… well, maybe that will change their intrinsic motivation.

If they are close to retirement, and they lack the motivation to learn something new, make them a lead player in knowledge transfer. Make them a task-based mentor to others. Have others shadow them. Have them shadow others and provide feedback.

Let them pull

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 If you want employees to develop with the best activities, you need to make it easy for them to get those activities. Some people know their skill gaps or believe they do. Most do not. Even when they believe they do, there is no consistency in expectations from person to person, or a way of getting them to know what’s changing. 

Self-awareness drives intrinsic motivation to change

Start with a role-based competency assessment for their job (which includes new/changing skills) to let them identify the full scope of requirements for their role and compare themselves to it. Be sure you don’t stop at WHAT they need to do… you must also show them HOW they need to be able to do the WHAT.  That is, provide behavioral examples at each level of proficiency so people can consistency and objectively compare how they do things to best practices and find out where they really stand. Then present them with their results: their skill gaps and strengths. You need them to leverage both.

Keep in mind, skill gaps are not the same as weaknesses that you may choose to ignore.

In a role-based competency model, a skill gap is something you have to do in your job.

So if you can’t do it, you MUST learn. 

Personalized learning facilitates action

 As much as role-based content curation and Netflix style recommendations (“others like you watch this video”) are all the rage, it’s not necessarily the right content for a specific person. By connecting people’s skill gaps to specific learning options tailored to them in their role, you’re enabling them to self-direct efficiently.

“I don’t have time for learning” is the most common excuse for lack of action. Overcome it with informal learning so they can learn in the flow of work.

If the only learning options you offer are formal learning, including eLearning, you’re going to lose a lot of people who don’t respond to it. If you want to motivate employees to own their development, help them learn while doing the thing they need to do.


Sustain motivation

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Getting them motivated is not enough. You need to make learning a habit to create a culture of learning. That takes specific communication to ensure learning is operationalized, for example, a part of the regular employee/manager conversation. But that’s a deeper conversation for a different day.


In summary, to motivate employees to take charge of their development, stop pushing… get them pulling. Help everyone understand the learning imperative. And make it easy for them to know what to pull and why to pull it.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How to convince leaders to use competency models to create a culture of learning
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To convince leaders to use competency models to create a culture of learning, you need them to tell the story of skill gaps and engagement.  Today, it would be hard for a leader not to recognize that both are challenges they face.  Competency models can fix them both. 

Skill gaps

Ask leaders, “How do you know if people have the skills they need to do their jobs?  You know we have skill gaps.  How do you know where they are?”

In order to know what skill gaps exist and to be able to measure improvement, you need a baseline.  A competency assessment with a role-based competency model will give that to you.

Engagement

Research from Deloitte shows there is a new social contract between employees and employers which you can summarize like this: 

  • You agree to develop me and help me grow

  • I agree to be engaged while I’m here, and put my mastery toward achieving your goals

 Don’t do the first, and I won’t do the second.

To successfully develop them and help them grow at scale, you need people to own their own development and career planning.  Competency models tied to personalized learning enable organizations to shift from training to learning.

  • Training is an event, something you do to people.

  • Learning is a continuous process, something people do for themselves.

 Similar to getting a skill gap baseline, you also need an engagement baseline in the form of engagement survey metrics, attrition rates, and exit interview results.

Next, you’ll need to identify the costs associated with not closing skill gaps, and not fixing the engagement problem.  What you want to do is show them that the cost of doing nothing, (e.g., the cost of replacing people, the impact on creativity and innovation, and what turnover does to competitive advantage), far outweighs the costs of trying something different.  This is the business case you’ll use to influence them.

Want to learn more about how to create a business case for influencing leaders to embrace a culture of learning?  Join us for a free ATD Webcast, “Create A Culture Of Learning That Supports The Speed Of Business” on August 21, at 1pm US ET.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
GASP! I just created learning that doesn’t transfer and they can’t get up!

If you create learning that doesn’t transfer, then you too will keep your target audience from “getting up” in skills and business results. By that I mean, no addressing skill gaps, and no improving results.

Why employee disengagement occurs

In a Deloitte study[1], less than 25% of Line Managers believed their Learning & Development (L&D) departments were critical to achieving their business goals. That is not surprising given related findings on learner disengagement. It is cause and effect.

If the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job and their needs, they will be disengaged in any learning.

--> If the employee is disengaged in the learning process, then L&D efforts are mitigated – any learning opportunities will have minimal effect.

--> If minimal effect occurs, then skill levels do not improve.

--> If there are no skill level improvements, then business results do not improve.

--> If employees participate in training programs, and positive business results do not follow, then Line Managers are likely to lose faith in the ability of L&D to contribute.

Why does this happen?  It’s a likely scenario when you don’t know what skills people need. You can know you have a skill gap crisis, but if you don’t know what job skills they need, how can you possibly help them develop the right skills?  How can you create content that is relevant to their job?

Even if you know what skills they need, but you can’t measure skill gaps (you don’t actually know where skill gaps exist and have no supporting data), then how can you measure whether skills and business results improve?  That is, how can you measure that the programs you’re providing are closing skills gaps and driving results?

Resolving learner disengagement step 1: Create competency models

First, you create a role-based competency model, which defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy.  In other words, the competency modeling connects skills and strategy.  A competency model describes what it looks like to be great in that role.

Step 2: Create competency-based learning

Next, you develop competency-based learning to increase the likelihood that each person CAN accomplish their goals.  This is where the learning objectives of activities are tied to the specific competency model skills and behaviors. 

Creating competency-based learning ensures the content is relevant to their job.  But remember that if the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job AND relevant to their needs, they will be disengaged.  We’ve solved the first problem, now we have to solve the second.

Step 3: Provide competency assessment tools

In order to make content relevant to each person’s needs, you need to enable them to perform a competency assessment in order to identify their specific skill gaps.  And you need to automate the identification of content relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. 

If you develop competency-based learning and enable personalized learning, you will drive learner engagement and accelerate learning transfer.  And if you’ve got a good competency model, then it will positively impact skills and business results.

What’s more, the aggregated skills data combined with business results over time will let you measure the impact of learning.

Summary

If you ensure that you only create competency-based learning for a role, you will never again create learning that doesn’t transfer.  If you use a competency assessment tool that personalizes learning for each person, you will maximize learner engagement, accelerate learning transfer, and you WILL be able to measure the positive impact on skills and business results.

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning.

Also found on LinkedIn.

 

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Can we get too detailed in a competency model?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

Of course.  It's easy to get too detailed in a competency model.  If you look at a list of soft skills, I’m sure they would apply to almost every job (written communication, problem solving, teamwork, etc.).  A competency model is what best defines success in this role.  That’s why with a standard competency model, you might start with 40 or 50 skills and you select 20 that are appropriate for this role in your organization. 

Remember that the competency model needs to be actionable.  If you have 50 skills in a model and I have 10 skill gaps, where do I focus?  Narrowing to those tasks/skills that are most critical to success ensures that you can help people focus on where it will make the biggest impact on the organization’s strategy and objectives.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
STOP! How to capture knowledge from employees before they leave
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At this point it’s clear.  Those people in your organizations, the ones you go to for all your questions about how to get things done, they’re starting to retire.  And while you try to get them to train those who will take their place, you know most of that information will disappear forever.  You’ve known it was coming, but a solution just hasn’t been easy.

Additionally, if you don’t do a good job retaining high performers in your organization, that knowledge drain will hurt you in unimaginable ways.

What if it turns out that there is one solution to both problems?

Let’s start with the basic question – how do we capture what the best people, and those who know how to get things done, know and do?  And then, once we know what that is, how can we share it with those who need to know?

1) Create a role-based competency model

The answer is simple.  You use your high performers, and those with valuable expertise, to create a competency model.  Very simply, a competency model describes what it looks like to be great in each role.  It defines the skills and the knowledge required to execute their part of corporate strategy.

If you want to learn how perform competency modeling easily in just weeks, watch this ATD webinar and use these materials.

In this way, you capture all the critical nuances of what people do to be successful.  This may include with whom they build relationships, what process steps they take, and what tools they’ve created to ensure repeatable success. 

Now you know what they know and do to get things done.  And you probably have informal resources you’ve collected during the process that can serve as competency-based learning for others.  How do you share it with those who need to know?

2) Make your competency model actionable

You make that competency model actionable in a competency assessment tool/skills assessment system. 

  • This gives everyone in that role the ability to see what great looks like, via a competency assessment, from their first day in the job (onboarding).

  • It gives people in that role the ability to compare their skills to “good” and “great” and identify what gaps they have (individual skill development), driving intrinsic motivation to change.

  • It gives people who are not yet in that role the ability to compare their skills and identify what gaps they have (career planning).

  • It gives hiring managers the ability to fine tune who they hire (recruiting).

 

3) Leverage intrinsic motivation to change

You also want to connect each competency model to competency-based learning and automate that connection.  In this way, you can provide personalized learning to empower people to close their own skill gaps.

What’s more, providing that kind of employee empowerment will make it more likely that your high performers will stay.  They will know how to close their skill gaps, and how they can prepare for other roles in the organization that may suit them. They get recognition for contributing to the professional development of other employees.

Summary

If you want to capture knowledge from employees before they leave, either because they have tremendous experience or are high performers:

  1. Use them to build a competency model

  2. Make that competency model actionable in a competency assessment tool/skills assessment system

  3. Leverage personalized learning to empower people to close their own gaps and drive their retention

That way, each employee knows how to become a high performer… for the job they have or the job they want.  They have a detailed plan they believe will get them there.  They are in control.  They will want to stay. 

Also found on the ATD site and on LinkedIn

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Is “Competency Model” a dirty word?

(OK, actually 2 words, but you get my point)

I had a meeting with someone yesterday who told me that in their company, the phrase “competency model” is not to be spoken.  That’s not actually that unusual.  In many parts of the world, such as the UK and Australia, “capability model” is the more common term.  But let’s go back to why it’s taboo to use it.

Common competency model thoughts on why they’re not good

  • “It’s full of gobbly gook”

  • “No one can understand it”

  • “We spend all this time working on it, and don’t do anything with it”

If that’s been historically true in your organization, then it’s easy to see why they may consider “competency model” a dirty word. 

Here’s how to fix it.

1) Stop calling it a “competency model”

Stop using the dirty word.  If it already has a bad connotation, don’t try to change perception… just call it something else, such as “capability model” or “capability framework”.

2) Fix competency model content

Fix the problem with the competency model content.  It should not be full of big corporate words that don’t really say anything.  It should be in the language of the person using it.  If you create or customize one, use that role’s high performers in those sessions.  If you use a standard model, work with some high performers to “put it in their language” so that it is easy to consume… both in the capabilities/skills/tasks and the behavioral examples. So a Sales competency model would read like someone in Sales would speak, and a retail competency model would read like someone in Retail would speak. It must also be relevant to both current skills and skills of the future.

3) Make the competency model actionable

A capability model on a web page, PowerPoint, PDF or poster will never be used and will quickly reinforce the current perception. So you must make the competency model actionable.  If you create a song and dance around a “capability model” that isn’t easily accessible by those during the development process, and isn’t assessable such that one can measure their capabilities against it to identify and close gaps with competency-based learning, it’s worthless. If skill gaps are your organization’s biggest challenge (and where are they not?), then if your competency model positioning is as a tool for upskilling and reskilling to address the needs of digitization and AI, you’ll gain acceptance and adoption.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector