December 5, 2023

Make it relevant, practical and usable

The competency and skills model offers organizations a credible construct that facilitates upskilling and cultivates a culture of lifelong learning. The Competency Skills Model provides a mapping of required competency skills and appropriate behavioral descriptors for each skill to help students identify their strengths and opportunities for development in each competency skill. This enables the organization to define the skills that are important for driving business performance outcomes. The upskilling metric resulting from the self-assessment each learner completes defines the organization’s overall readiness for each specific skill or skill domain. However, creating a model of learning competencies and skills is only the first step. To truly reap the benefits of such a model, it must be scaled and sustained over time. This article offers 8 tactics for scaling and sustaining a learning skills model in your organization.

8 strategies for implementing the skills model of learning competencies

1. Define the competency problem

Your competency skills model will help address and address the need for upskilling or retraining in your organization. According to the Harvard Business Review, organizations are increasingly focusing on skills because they drive business performance outcomes. As a learning and development leader, you and your team will need to ask yourself two key questions: What are the core business needs and competency problem we are trying to solve? What is our upskilling readiness metric? Driven by business performance outcomes, the competency model will provide students with a map of what skills they need to succeed on the job. At the same time, it will enable organizations to use the mapping to define the skills needed to hire and retain the right people for various open roles across the organization.

2. Triangulate academic research, industry practice and organizational context to define relevant skills and competency descriptors

After defining the business performance outcomes that the organization is trying to achieve, you will need to create a competency skills model that is practical and relevant to the organization. I recommend triangulating data and insights from three areas: academic research, industry practice, and feedback from your students. Academic research can help you save time doing your own research by using what others have done to solve similar business questions. Leveraging industry experience and use cases will help ensure that the competencies and skills you want to build are applicable, practical and relevant. Finally, learning from students about what skills they need to successfully solve problems at work is vital, as it will give you the necessary context from your own organization and ensure the relevance of your model.

3. Engage stakeholders early and often

When developing a model of learning competencies and skills, it is important to involve stakeholders from the beginning. This includes employees, managers and leaders at all levels of the organization. Involving stakeholders in the design process ensures that the model is relevant, practical and aligned with the organization’s goals and culture. You can also hire an informal advisory board of thought leaders from academia, industry, and your own organization to review and validate the competency skills model you and your team are developing.

4. In accordance with the business objectives of the organization

The model of learning competencies and skills must be aligned with the organization’s business goals. This means that the model should focus on developing the skills and competencies that are most important to achieving these goals. By aligning your learning model with your business strategy, you can ensure it remains relevant and valuable over time. Making the transition across skill domains or categories, if not every skill set, with a specific organization’s business goals can ensure that this alignment is meaningful and transparent. Such a pedestrian crossing can also further reinforce the severity of your competency skill model.

5. Launch with technology that scales

Technology can be a powerful tool for launching and scaling a model of learning competencies and skills. You can leverage off-the-shelf capabilities and technology packages offered by online learning platforms (LXPs) and learning management systems (LMSs), as well as explore building your own open source package to provide your students with a model of your competencies and skills. . By leveraging technology, you can reach larger audiences, provide more personalized learning experiences, and collect more specific data that you’ll need for iteration and continuous improvement.

6. Measure and monitor Progress

To maintain a model of learning competencies and skills, it is essential to measure and track student progress over time. This includes assessing the model’s impact on employee recruitment, hiring, performance, engagement and retention. By regularly measuring and tracking progress, you can identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to the model as needed.

7. Iterate and improve

Using the data you collect about how students interact with the model, your LMS can provide significant quantitative insights into which skills students feel more comfortable with and which offer opportunities for improvement. You can supplement the quantitative data with qualitative data, including Net Promoter Score and open text feedback on how students felt when they interacted with the model. Both types of data will need to be collected, codified, prioritized and used to iterate and refine your model.

8. Cultivate a culture of learning

Cultivating a culture of learning in your organization is essential to maintaining a model of learning competencies and skills. This includes promoting the value of lifelong learning and providing opportunities for students to develop their skills and competences. Cultivating a culture of learning could consist of learning experiences such as regular training, mentoring and coaching programs, peer learning opportunities, and curated learning journeys offering multimodal learning experiences such as microlearning courses, videos, tools, books, and articles.


Scaling and sustaining a model of learning competencies and skills requires a strategic and holistic approach. By defining the upskilling problem you are trying to solve, engaging stakeholders and learners early and often, aligning with business goals, leveraging technology, measuring and tracking progress, and iterating and improving as a learning and development leader, you can create a model that is relevant, practical and with added value in your professional development efforts.

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