Competency Development Training

Do you provide competency-development training?
A. No. We have no training budget.
B. We have provided some training from time to time.
C. We provide training so that employees can develop their competencies where necessary.
D. We provide training so that key employees can develop the competencies that help them achieve their personal objectives and contribute to our strategy.
E. We provide training so that each employee can develop the competencies that help them achieve their personal objectives and contribute to our strategy. 
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]
Why is this question important?

You should provide appropriate training so that each employee can develop the competencies that help them achieve their personal objectives and contribute to your strategy.

In a traditional educational, training and development systems, the ‘unit of progression’ is time and it is teacher-centred / trainer-centred.  In a Competency Based Training system, the ‘unit of progression’ is mastery of specific knowledge and skills and is learner-centred or participant-centred.

Two key terms used in competency-based training are:


A task or group of tasks performed to a specific level of competency or proficiency which often use specific measurement criteria or standard operating procedures;  some skills, however, such as counselling, are knowledge-and attitude-based.


A skill performed to a specific standard under specific conditions.

One comprehensive definition of “competency” is:

“A cluster of related knowledge, skills, and attitudes that affects a major part of one’s job (a role or responsibility), that correlates with performance on the job, that can be measured against well-accepted standards, and that can be improved via training and development.”
(Training Magazine: July, 1996)

An “essential” competency is critical for an employee to perform effectively.   A “universal” competency is one that is required of all employees regardless – in many organisations customer-service delivery is a competence required of all.

Competencies are gained through a multitude of ways – life experience; formal education; apprenticeship; on-the-job experience; self-help programs; and, and development programs.  All of these together contribute to job competence in an employee.

Ultimately, supervisors and employees working together and assessing consistency of job performance (behaviours) over time determine overall “employee competence.”

When choosing training and development activities to help you achieve competencies identified for your job, target competencies development – not simply training courses.

Competencies Count

  • Research suggests that the cost of a bad hire can range from one to five times of that position’s annual salary – doesn’t bear thinking about.
  • A study of the productivity value between average and superior performers showed that, in highly complex jobs, the output of a superior performer was up to 50% greater than an average performer.
  • Think of how much more your top salesperson sells than an “average” salesperson.

Five essential elements of Competency-Based Training Programs

  • Competencies to be achieved are carefully identified, verified and made known in advance.
  • Criteria to be used in assessing achievement and the conditions under which achievement will be assessed are explicitly stated and made known in advance.
  • The instructional program provides for the individual development and evaluation of each of the competencies specified.
  • Assessment of competency takes the participant’s knowledge and attitudes into account but requires actual performance of the competency as the primary source of evidence.
  • Participants progress through the instructional program at their own rate by demonstrating the attainment of the specified competencies.

Characteristics of Competency-Based Training Programs

  • Competencies are carefully selected.
  • Supporting theory is integrated with skill practice.  Essential knowledge is learned to support the performance of skills.
  • Detailed training materials are tailored to the competencies to be achieved and are designed to support the acquisition of knowledge and skills.
  • Methods of instruction involve mastery learning, the premise that all participants can master the required knowledge or skill, provided sufficient time and appropriate training methods are used.
  • Participants’ knowledge and skills are assessed as they enter the program and those with satisfactory knowledge and skills may bypass training or competencies already attained.
  • Learning should be self-paced.
  • Flexible training approaches including large group methods, small group activities and individual study are essential components.
  • A variety of support materials including print, audio-visual and simulations (models) tailored to the skills being mastered are used.
  • Satisfactory completion of training is based on achievement of all specified competencies.

Benefits of CBT

  • Participants will achieve competencies required in the performance of their jobs.
  • Participants build confidence as they succeed in mastering specific competencies.
  • Participants receive a record or list of the competencies they have achieved.
  • Training time is used more efficiently and effectively as the trainer is a facilitator of learning as opposed to a provider of information.
  • More training time is devoted to working with participants individually or in small groups as opposed to presenting lectures.
  • More training time is devoted to evaluating each participant’s ability to perform essential job skills.