The best laid L&D plans begin with competency mapping and performance management

Employees need to upskill consistently to stay competent at work, especially in the current scenario, when all business processes are going through disruption


Growth-oriented business organisations demonstrate high degrees of agility, which keeps them in the fast lane. They are quick to change and are able to successfully tweak even the most inflexible and old practices. They are led by visionary leaders who are committed to making their teams future ready.

Such leaders are experts in people sciences and focus on continuously upskilling their employees. They rely heavily on technology-led learning and development (L&D) programmes to develop their internal talent.

The L&D solution for each individual is personalised, based on her/his requirement. It is seen that employees lose interest in learning programmes when they do not find them aligned to their goals. How can organisations and business leaders ensure that the training programmes initiated by them keep the employees engaged and generate positive outcome?

Competency mapping
Competency mapping starts with the manager breaking each job into key behavioural incumbents and grouping them under the ‘core competency’ bracket. Then, the team members are assessed on the basis of these core competencies regularly. Data is collected and analysed for each individual and the same helps the managers to initiate L&D programmes.

Training employees is an investment, and sometimes organisations fail to reap benefits from it because the training programmes are not designed to meet individual upskilling requirements. They are merely a check-the-box activity for management who demonstrate no flexibility in scheduling these programmes, and employees are forced to attend them on a rotation basis.

Modern LMS and competency mapping helps team leaders customise learning even when the team sizes are large. This keeps the business and the teams competent even when jobs and processes change due to digitisation or disruption in the industry.

Performance management
With the complexity at work increasing and competition continuing to put up a tough front, leaders are using L&D solutions to provide their teams with razor-end sharpness to fill up the competency gap.

A competency-based performance management system ensures that individual learning goals are aligned with the training programmes offered by the leaders. They initiate L&D programmes on a continuous basis and learners are given the freedom to choose and opt for the programmes they like.

In comparison, the periodic performance-management process of the past is too laid back and does not affect performance in a meaningful way. It only serves as a summary of past performances and is too closely tied to salary adjustments.

The performance-management system has evolved significantly over time. Today, with technology-aided tools, timely feedback to employees is possible and developments can be tracked. Technology also enables short bursts of L&D interventions on a digital platform that motivates learners to upskill at their own convenience. Moreover, individuals receive quick feedback from the leaders, and an acknowledgement goes a long way in keeping the employee motivated at work.

The learners are more aligned toward introspecting and self-directing themselves to improve their strengths, work on their weaknesses and look for development opportunities.
Only organisations that provide learning opportunities that take care of individual learners’ needs will be able to attract competent talent from a competitive market. Tech-based learning solutions also allow employees to apply what they learn at work through virtual reality and other sophisticated learning tools.

Organizations are scrambling and can no longer depend on traditional talent management practices to grow and retain employees. Read this white paper which covers the scope of the talent crisis, including the industries and regions affected; its causes; and steps HR leaders can take to combat it.

A good performance-management system balances employees’ developmental needs with the organisation’s objectives.

Competency-based performance-management systems are very popular because of the following advantages:

Developing internal talent: Developing internal talent is a mandate of all senior leaders. There is a huge business and resource loss attached to attrition and hiring new talent. Most leaders spend a big slice of their work time in creating opportunities for positive growth for their teams.

Upskilling: To unlock maximum potential, employees need continuous upskilling. Since technology-led redundancies are very common in all industries, employees require continuous upskilling to keep themselves relevant in the market. Organisations align the L&D programmes to take care of the personal needs of individuals as well as the business objective.

Agility: Employees are quick to adapt to new tools and technology and are open to moving into new functions and domains. Competency-based performance-management systems help leaders to keep their teams a step ahead of what is practised by others in the market.

Goalsetting: When employees see positive outcomes from attending competency-based learning programmes, they feel gratified. This encourages many to opt for self-directed learning and upskilling. A continuous feedback process is part of performance management and that keeps employees engaged and motivated.

We can safely conclude that competency mapping and performance management reveals where the employees are lacking and how upskilling can help them perform the job better. Upskilling will play an increasingly important role in an organisation’s ability to achieve business goals and reach high performance.

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