Organizations of all types and sizes have varying levels of competency development programs. Some are informal systems that evolve as needs arise, and others have been rigorously developed and honed over time. Of course, there is no single solution that works for every organization, but no matter what approach you take, these six key areas should be included to ensure that your workforce has the necessary skills to help the organization succeed.
1. Creativity and innovation
The modern world is constantly evolving, and organizations must be able to adapt with the times. This requires creativity and innovation among employees because they must continually seek new solutions as challenges arise. Whether they are developing new processes to accommodate a technological advance or responding to new customer behaviors, employees must be able to tap into a skill set that enables them to think analytically and generate creative solutions.
Training that helps foster innovation will enable employees to apply those skills in a range of scenarios that require them to solve even the toughest problems.
2. Communication and collaboration
People at every level in the organization must be able to communicate effectively, whether they are interacting with peers, supervisors, customers, or mentees. This includes having the ability to resolve conflicts, generate excitement, present new information, listen to and deliver feedback, and successfully negotiate.
Training individuals and teams in how to communicate with each other will help improve collaboration within and between departments, which ultimately supports the organization's goals.
3. Adaptability and continuous change
Change will always happen in organizations, whether it’s instigated by internal initiatives, external factors, or both. When employees possess the ability to readily adapt to new situations and processes, the organization is able to smoothly continue in the strategic direction that has been defined.
Providing training that enables individuals to embrace change rather than fear it enables them to continue performing to their potential, no matter what unforeseen obstacles arise. Leadership training should also be provided so that leaders know how to lead change in a way that eliminates stress and anxiety.
4. Agile leadership
The modern workforce includes employees from different backgrounds, varying education levels, and multiple generations, and each employee therefore has different expectations and preferences for how they want to be led. Leaders must be able to empower every individual, no matter how much their expectations may differ. Having the ability to nimbly switch between different types of leadership will have a strong impact on employee retention and engagement.
Training for this type of skill focuses on developing competencies around empowering cross-functional teams through performance management, coaching, and delegation.
5. Productivity and efficiency
The better employees are able to manage their time at work, the more productive and efficient they will be. Investing resources in developing these types of competencies contributes to a better bottom line. Also, employees are empowered when they have the skills to operate at their full potential. People want to be successful at their jobs, and giving them the tools to be efficient and productive also helps them reach their individual goals.
Include training programs that address time management, work prioritization, and skills for eliminating distractions to help keep teams and individuals operating at peak performance.
Generating a sense of accountability among your workforce helps contribute to both individual and organizational success. When people consistently deliver on their commitments and have the skills to navigate any obstacles that come up along the way, the result is a better-performing organization.
Provide training that demonstrates the importance of accountability and the techniques that will help employees be more accountable, both to themselves and to each other. Leaders should also be trained on how to hold employees accountable for their work.
Create a development program that works
Building these six competencies will help any organization improve performance. To ensure that every individual has the opportunity to develop these new skills, create a development program that provides ongoing training that builds on itself. Remember that people at different levels need various types of training, so each course should be targeted appropriately. Offer a mix of training types, including experiential learning, to allow different types of learners to stay engaged. Follow up with a retention program that keeps the training content top of mind and encourages people to apply their new skills on the job. To learn more about why developing these six competencies is so important, read our free guide, Competency Development: Training a Modern Workforce.