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Competency-Based Training and Development

Formal competency-based training takes a more job-specific approach than do standard programs for teaching knowledge and skills. Speak with a Workitect consultant to learn how you can create a competency-based training and development programs for your organization.


Competencies are seen as predispositions to perform appropriately in a given situation--not simply latent characteristics (for example, just because someone knows the technical aspects of a product does not mean he or she will use that knowledge when called upon to do so in a particular, conceivably complex situation). Because of its unique approach, competency-based training uses a different technique from that of traditional, knowledge-based training programs. Competency-based training is a five-step competency-acquisition process, which begins with the knowledge component and ends with on-the-job application. See slider above.

Competency Development Guide and eDeveloper

Workitect’s Competency Development Guide is designed to help individuals and managers locate resources for developing competencies. It provides background on competencies and instruction on setting competency development goals, along with specific suggestions for developing 35 behavioral competencies.

For each competency, there are sections on:

  • A definition and observable behaviors that may indicate the existence of a competency in an individual
  • Importance of the competency
  • General considerations in developing the competency
  • Practicing the competency
  • Obtaining feedback
  • Learning from experts
  • Coaching suggestions for managers
  • Sample development goals
  • Books
  • Self-study courses

The workbook also helps organizations implement competency-based human resource systems, and helps individuals improve their competencies and opportunities for career advancement.

Selecting for Competencies versus Developing Competencies

Some competencies in every model are harder to develop than others. These harder-to-develop competencies should be the criteria for selection or career pathing to a job, rather than the criteria for training (unless the competencies are so rare as to preclude their use as criteria for selection). In general, competencies at the motive or trait level (e.g., Initiative) are more difficult to develop than competencies that resemble skills (e.g., Persuasive Communications); the latter might best be developed through a combination of training and on-the-job experience.

This page is part of an actual model completed for a Project Manager position. It summarizes recommendations regarding selecting for or developing the competencies in the position. Seven of the competencies are recommended as selection criteria, because either they are hard to develop from zero or they can be developed only if there is a minimum level of the competency. These fall into the "Select for" column. Six competencies (in the "Train" column) are recommended as training criteria, since they are more developable and, therefore, less critical than the others in selection.

Ideally, all the competencies in the model should be criteria of selection. What this form provides is a means of determining the relative importance of each competency in the decision to hire or promote. For example, given two candidates who each possess 10 of the 11 competencies, the candidate who lacks Self-Confidence (a competency recommended for selection) is much less desirable than the one who lacks Managing Performance (a competency recommended for training). The operating principle behind these guidelines is to select or promote into the target jobs according to the competencies that are most difficult to develop, and not to give excessive weight to the other, more developable competencies

Recommendations on Ensuring that Project Managers have the Project Managers Competencies

Selection involves assessing candidates or staff to ensure that they have demonstrated a certain level of the competency before placing them in a project manager position.

Development involves enabling people to learn on the job through observing project managers, trying out competency-related behaviors, and receiving coaching and mentoring.

Training involves providing candidates with structured courses and learning experiences.

See table here.


Client Testimonials

“Their consulting and training include excellent materials and great examples, demonstrating the talent management tools of competency modeling and use in recruitment, promotion, career planning, performance appraisals and succession planning.”

Kathleen Moldenhauer, S.V.P. Human Resources, Pall Life Sciences

“The abundance of useful tools, templates and examples amazes me. These are things I can put to use immediately to drive performance through competency models in my business unit.”

David DeAngelis, Director, Technology Training & Support Services, GTech Corporation

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