Speed to Competence: the ever changing challenges in the modern workplace 

 

 
A modern challenge? 
In today’s modern world, the quest to achieve full competence within the workforce is hard sought after but in many cases, it is simply not a realistic or attainable goal. The speed to competence struggle is real and is a constant battle faced by every business in every industry. 
 
Many factors impact the time required for an individual to achieve the desired competency levels for their job role. 
 
Learning frameworks can be broad, protracted and complicated, particularly for roles requiring an element of technical ability or at management level where roles will command comprehensive management and leadership skills, as well as industry or company specific knowledge. 
 
It can often be a long and complex journey to reach that single point in time where certification is achieved and the gold ‘I Am Competent’ badge is awarded. And in reality, with the endless addition of more training modules, the goalposts are constantly moving further away. 
Linear learning paths? 
So is a linear training path a fair way to assess an individual’s competence to perform their job? Are we ever to be deemed fully competent in the workplace? Or worse still, are we considered INcompetent until we have officially made the grade? 
 
With some competency frameworks taking months or even years to complete on paper – and that is without the inevitable delays due to workloads or training capacity or simply, life getting in the way – we must consider what effect this inference of incompetence can have on the mindset of the individual? The inevitable loss of engagement from the learner can only have negative consequences for the individual, the workplace environment and the business as a whole. And all the while, they are still expected to fulfill their role on a day to day basis to the best of their ability! 
 
The structure of traditional learning pathways clearly has a direct impact on speed to competence. With often infrequent content reviews, learning frameworks can become static, dated and are often so fragmented that it could be questioned whether all the training remains relevant, or for how long it can be deemed valid. 
 
The linear nature of most training paths can often leave an individual floundering in their every day world of work, especially in the early days, weeks or months. Consideration should be given to the sequencing of learning and how subject matter is prioritised – does the current structure truly equip an individual to adequately do their job, right here and right now? 
Traditional Approaches? 
Traditionally the early phases of training will focus on company history and brand awareness. Yes these modules will plant the seeds of brand loyalty and hopefully ignite passion and fire but how does this help an employee who is new to a role, and potentially new to a business, when they are faced with an angry customer on the shop floor? If customer facing individuals were to complete training in the basics of customer handling or dealing with conflict from the offset, it can be argued that they will feel far more empowered, safe in the knowledge that they are better equipped to deal with whatever comes their way whilst continuing on their learner journey. And this can only have positive effects for all involved: the customer service advisor feels less stressed, more capable and doesn’t dread arriving at work in the morning; the customer is handled in an empathetic and professional manner and the business can only benefit from the double success of happy employees and happy customers. The brand story can then build on these foundations of a happier, more confident employee.  
 
Methodology of training delivery has certainly evolved over the years – the variety of vehicles to deliver training today is a far cry from the customary long days spent in a stuffy classroom from years gone by. The advancement of e-learning, micro learning, virtual classrooms, face to face training and coaching, provides greater flexibility and availability of learning. A business’ day to day operations can only be positively impacted due to less down time on the production line, in the workshop or on the shop floor so that overall productivity is improved. Whilst some training topics will only work in a physical training room which allows for active participation and interaction between delegates, some subjects will be perfectly well served by online e-learning which can be completed in isolation, at a more flexible time. Appropriately adopting a variety of training methods will inevitably lead to speed to competency improving significantly. 
 
Utilising a variety of training delivery methods will also seek to satisfy the needs of multi-generational workplaces. It is natural that the Generation Z-ers within the workplace are likely to be more at ease with technology heavy training methods, with earlier generations preferring more traditional in person methods so offering a variety can only be a good thing. 
Workplace downtime! 
Improvement in the speed to competence timeline will have numerous benefits to the business. In the short term, the day to day business operations are less effected as individuals having the opportunity to utilise micro and e-learning opportunities means less time out of the business. Over the longer term, a more contented workforce will ultimately lead to a lower attrition rate and improved employee retention, even if the Gen-Z-ers are keen to move up the career ladder! There is less wasted investment, both in terms of time and monetary investment and recruitment needs should also be positively affected. 
 
If we strip it right back, every single benefit of reducing speed to competence results can be attributed to a positive financial impact to commercial performance: more productivity, less workforce attrition, lower recruitment costs; as well as greater employee retention and improved customer satisfaction. 
 
The desire to increase Speed to Competency has been around for decades so surely something needs to change? As Henry Ford so eloquently said… “If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got”. 
 
So, let’s take this full circle, and while we’re at it, let’s rip up the rule book altogether! If we were to redesign the structure of a learner journey and link the wider business goals and commercial KPIs directly to the new learning framework, could we witness even greater improvement in business performance? 
 
What is the solution? 
Titan Learning, built to directly link learning objectives to your commercial performance. Letting the performance of your business and Titan's built in machine learning dictate the training priorities of your employees, removes the need for long training paths and finally deals with the perennial issue of speed to competence by giving access to knowledge when it is needed the most! 
 
Manually promote training courses that support current or future issues faced by your business or just focus people on a current topic to support your performance, it's all at your fingertips! 
 
Utilise the internet to bring additional content to your employees through preset searches, avoiding the need to develop expensive content that already exists in the public sphere! 
 
Delegate activity tracked to a modular level enables identification of possible issues with content by monitoring drop off data. 
 
With the addition of the Titan Learning Mobile App, delegates will enjoy a seemless experience that not only brings their learning into their pocket but gives the ability to notify them when things change!  
Find out more at www.titanlearning.co.uk or get in touch for a more detailed conversation about how this great product can support your businesses performance! 
 
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