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Building Workforce Competency - Why it helps organisations to thrive

Posted By: Linda Steedman

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More emphasis is being placed on business outcomes and all departments are being asked to measure the effectiveness of their interventions. This has always been a very tricky area for training departments, as many of the interventions are subjective and can take years to demonstrate any benefit if ever. So to create metrics from a standing start can be difficult. This is where the introduction of competency tracking has taken centre stage amongst many large organisations. Still a daunting task but it gives a clear vision of how metrics can be collected. Assessing the competency at various stages allows companies to set benchmarks and check movement on performance.

Professional Institutes and Awarding Organisations have been using competency-based assessment for many years as this model has shown to allow management to assess their organisations overall performance. This trend is now filtering through to corporate and government departments due to a number of reasons, one of these reasons is Workforce Demographics.

Workforce Demographics

For the first time, organisations are faced with having 4 or even 5 generations working in the same organisation at the same time. With 80% of the current workforce for the next 20 years already been in work for a number of years; and the new 20% of workers entering the space with a very different approach to work, trying to create a productive culture is a major headache for many managers. The new workers, ie. those born after 1990, referred to as Millennials or Gen Y employees are especially unwilling to settle long-term, being very keen to move on to a new opportunity the second they lose focus or feel like they are not receiving sufficient feedback or attention. This new generation enjoy strong networks, are tech-savvy and extremely well-informed.

Organisations are finding it more challenging to hold on to their best people and are financially impacted by the high costs of replacing an employee, often as much as 125% of the loaded cost of the incumbent. This job-hopping trend of younger workers is expected to continue even more for the foreseeable future as more young people enter work. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of a glaring skills gap in the job market. In order to keep their employees whilst attracting new ones, organisations need to clearly define career paths within job families, roles and competencies, with growth opportunities that will fulfil their staff’s ambitions and help to diminish any skills gaps. These also need to be transferable so the employees value their in-work achievements.

Recording and tracking competency need not be as daunting as it seems as it can be made easier by adopting tried and tested models, that adapt over time to the metrics you require.

Recent eCom case studies with a focus on workforce competency include Scottish Water and a Global Oil and Chemicals Company.

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