Competences and Professional Standards: The Missing Link

Thought for the Day

A number of competence driven workforce development models are having an impact in service design cross-sector. There is growing interest globally in setting skills standards for world-class global competitiveness in skills and retaining top talent.

However, establishing HR driven, organisational specific, succession planning is never easy in a multi-disciplinary context.

The solution may be the use of competences or professional standards. But there is a fundamental missing link.

That of behaviour.

I wonder when employers say they have a skills gaps; whether they are assessing candidates on full skills, knowledge and competence OR ALSO including the more fundamental recruitment decision: Will this candidate fit into our culture? Does this candidate have the potential to co-create exceptional products and services?

Not just whether this candidate delivers and add value to our work practices and operational outputs.

A fine balance at recruitment stage.

Having developed professional standards with employer input, I know the application of professional standards in HR practices such as recruitment, learning and development and workforce planning is extensive.

In all my years developing and supporting reviews of professional standards in a number of sectors, I am aware that behaviours are integral to the development of standards – but kept exclusive beyond the world of professional code of practice and ethics.

One reason (of potentially many) is how would you determine and indeed define a particular behaviour trait for workplace success. There are many leadership traits that can be appointed, but have we the same understanding and application of this when working in our specific sectors? When I make the suggestion of leadership traits; I am referring to the ‘lead without title’ aspiration. That our employees all work to contribute leadership success, in their own right. An enabling and empowering term, that engages at the core of employee motivation and workplace activity.

We can acknowledge a number of essential ‘leadership’ skills that are required for success. This is the easy bit. But what if we dig deeper? How do we collectively translate these, within standardised and governed formats that regulate professional standard development and occupational standards. How would we interpret these in occupational standard setting and what would our KPIs be if we were to measure this in practice?

We know this missing link is fundamental, but can we all agree to a standard definition and format?

Working wider, in the world of social media, relationship building and cross-cultural global developments: We will require an agile competent workforce with core cross-cultural competence solutions. Are we ready to co-create a unique set of professional global standards, which support generic workplace practice? Would these also include behaviours? How do we simplify occupational competence and assessment? How do we simplify and perform workforce planning and development, so it is integral to our business processes?

I leave this ‘thought of the day’ with a question:

What proportion of culture, outcomes, performance, team building, organisational development and success is reliant on individual, team and organisational behaviours? Competence and professional standards aside; supporting skills development and delivery.


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