Competency-based Training – Be More Competent In A Competitive World!


Skills development training is an important part of every company. Competency-based training may sound like jargon to many who hear it for the first time. But the concept behind competency-based training is quite simple and logical. Every organization would benefit from implementing competency-based training in their training and development program.

What is Competency-based training?

To form a basic idea of how competency-based training is beneficial, it is important to get to know –

What competency-based training actually means? How can anyone get trained in being competent?

  • Competency-based training or learning is training especially catered to suit specific competencies or skills.
  • Competency-based learning is tailored to help learners attain certain knowledge to reach specific outcomes.

In contrast to many available training methodologies that are prevalent, competency-based training breaks down the whole into smaller units which are ultimately easier for individuals to handle. Each unit will concentrate on a specific skill. One cannot advance from one unit to the next until complete mastery in the previous unit. It is a more efficient process to reach a larger learning goal. This kind of approach also saves time.

A significant number of organizations are implementing this type of competency-based training because it saves money and provides better results.

Different Types of Competencies

Competency is basically the quality of an individual to complete a certain task in an efficient manner. There are several different types of competencies. They are:-

Functional competency

Functional competencies are mostly used in reference to a specific kind of job. For example, the functional competency of a carpenter is obviously different from the competencies of a manager. These are different for different professions.

Personal competency

Personal competency obviously refers to the individual skills or mannerisms that help her/her to achieve success. Examples for this group may include responsible decision making, time management, good relationship, or professional skills.

Business competency

As the name suggests, this group of skills helps in attaining success in business. The ability to comprehend the type of organization, understand its finances, to be able to manage time in an efficient manner are all examples of business competencies.

Advantages of a competency-based training

According to training experts, Graber & Rothwell, “competencies are an important tool, just like a compass, to find direction in attracting, developing, retaining and positioning the best, most productive and promotable people.”  

Now, what exactly are the benefits of competency-based learning systems? There are many. Most organizations benefit by introducing the techniques of competency-based training as it is of help to both employers and employees. 

1. Improves Specific Performance

Competency-based training and assessments are more effective in the sense that it trains individuals in a way specific to their needs. It is more cost-effective, this approach is useful to lessen cost overruns as it improves the performance of the employees.

2. Time-Saving

This approach saves time too. It is a goal-oriented approach and has greater workplace relevance. The training is specific to what the work demands from its employees. Thus it is quicker for learners to be more competent in the required areas.

3. Better Communication Among Employees

Competency-based learning helps to bridge the gap between employer and employee. It results in better communication which is ultimately beneficial to everyone involved.

4. Assessment & Evaluation

Assessments make it easier for employers to judge the performance of the workers. Also, whether a specific job can or cannot be performed to an expected standard. Evaluation is better.

5. Employees’ Satisfaction

It is also advantageous to the employees because it often provides greater satisfaction in the working environment. There are no miscommunications regarding expectations. It helps the workers to be more effective and to make better decisions. It also provides a method to record the abilities of an employee and helps in their recognition. Employees feel more satisfied.

Training and development programs have their own challenges. Let us look at how can competency-based training programs can be implemented in the workplace.

Implementation of a competency-based training program

In any adult training program, time should not be held constant instead of the outcome. In competency-based training, which is a result-focused training program, individuals can spend different amounts of time on different modules. This helps them to learn in a better manner and saves time to skip ahead of topics they already are knowledgeable about, and they get to spend more time on topics that are challenging to them. These programs consider different levels of knowledge and different types of learning, be it formal or informal.

Step 1: The first step would be to decide the needs specific to an organization and design the framework according to those needs. It is helpful to decide what constitutes the core competencies.

Step 2: To decide what makes people more successful in a particular job, it is wise to ask those specific people. Only HR managers cannot decide what constitutes the essence of the training approach, valuable inputs from appropriate sources should also be taken into consideration.

Step 3: Transparency in development is of utmost importance. The process of development of such a program should be readily understandable to all involved. This will result in more effective communication.

Step 4: Preparation of relevant competencies is also important. The program should be in accordance with the skills and outcome. If a certain skill is not relevant to the specific outcome, that skill or competency should not be included at all.

Step 5: Evaluate the present training program for employees and try to bridge the gap.

Step 6: It is important to keep in mind the work-life balance. While setting the framework and the goals of the training program work-life balance is important. Without this consideration, employees can become less productive.

Step 7: Assessments are the method of collecting evidence to determine whether the required goal has been achieved. Using the assessments, understand the skill gaps in your employees. Work with them to bridge those gaps and motivate the staff through this process.

Step 8: Lastly, it is also important to develop a program that is sustainable and long-lasting. It is useful to keep on modifying goals with respect to the changing needs of the market.

Follow the steps and you will be able to achieve a great competency-based program. What are you waiting for? Too much delay will allow your competitors to take advantage. Also, your employees should be up-skilled from time to time. Give specific competency-based training to employees and stay competitive in the world!

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  1. Very detailed explanation. Competency based training benefits both the employees and employers. This approach helps in improving cost effectiveness and performance also.


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