In any organisation, developing specialist competencies is an investment in human capital, requiring a coherent strategy. Developing specialist competencies amongst your staff can enhance overall productivity, expand the capabilities of the different teams and groups composing a larger organisation, as well as enhance business possibilities and outcomes.
Having a strategy to develop employee competencies ultimately improves overall individual and organizational performance. The first step to competency development is ensure that all the relevant stakeholders — the trainers, learners, leaders, HR practitioners and L&D specialists — possess a solid understanding of the strategic business objectives and mission of the organisation. This ensures that learning investments are aligned with their goals.
Competency gaps in employees, particularly in those roles requiring technical development, are best focused on an individual basis. This is to develop the specific portfolio of skills required to perform well in their roles. Compliance and certification are a consideration for some industries, such as banking, insurance and financial services, or construction, building and maintenance.
See: Virtual Teams: Getting People to Work Apart
Development best occurs through a combination of learning opportunities, particularly with social learning and apprenticeship, with managers and leaders supervising the practicum aspect of newly-trained employee. This is composed of what is commonly known to most L&D professionals as the 70:20:10 learning model, where 70 percent of learning is derived on the job, 20 percent from people (mostly the boss) and 10 percent from courses and reading.
Learning opportunities within corporations should aim to tap into mobile-enabled programs and social technologies. This is to allow for more just-in-time collaboration and on-demand learning. The best training & development programs are flexible, scalable and are aligned with an organisations goals and growth objectives.
Investing in the training and development of an organisations workforce, especially in specialist competencies, is a strategic, long-term investment. Leaders within an organisation need to learn to be strategic, especially when engaging in competency development amongst employees.