Competency Models Show Clear Career Pathways

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on September 30, 2015

More than ever, employees insist on seeing clear career pathways. World-class companies know that creating and administering a formal training program supporting this desire is a competitive advantage.
Competency models – a structured system to develop the needed knowledge, skills and abilities for specific jobs – are increasingly used as a best practice to build and retain high-performance teams.
Competency models provide a structured way to look at job progression, job assessment and workforce planning and also to help identify gaps and put training in place to address them. Having a system in place to codify knowledge and skills required for specific job roles, with an aligned curriculum, is also critical for combatting the current and pending talent gap.
For instance, Tooling U-SME’s Competency Framework focuses on job roles and their associated competencies and behaviors. Each job role competency model includes mapping to relevant Tooling U-SME training resources to help employees grow to the next level.
To integrate competency models, the first step is for human resources to work with production and operations managers to develop job descriptions that accurately define the qualifications needed by workers and include both knowledge and skills. This creates a sustainable program from hiring through advancement.
This common “language” allows productive conversations related to performance management and individual development plans.
Tied to the bottom line, a standardized learning and development program that is methodical and visible can help companies provide their employees with the ongoing learning and feedback that most crave.
As the process of training has become much more sophisticated, a formal program using competency models has other advantages for manufacturers. Years ago, companies might check a box to indicate training had been completed. Today there are a lot more rules, regulations and documentation. For instance, think about the more stringent guidelines for ISO certification. 
It’s necessary now to validate that knowledge has been transferred – not just that a class has been completed. Manufacturers want to know that an employee is able to apply the knowledge provided in the class. 
The big benefit to manufacturers and employees is that these models help identify competency gaps accurately and initiate precise training to address those gaps, positively impacting production, quality, innovation and the ability to meet customer demands.
Using competencies, manufacturers now have a method to document expectations and plans to help employees reach those expectations and beyond, supporting both career growth and the bottom line.
-- Jeannine Kunz, director, Tooling U-SME