Medical Technology Company Embraces Competency-Driven Talent System
2019 Brandon Hall Bronze Award, Excellence in Learning — Best Use of Blended Learning
A multi-billion-dollar global medical technology company based in France is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions in 176 countries. Recognizing the benefits of competency-driven talent management systems, the Company developed a competency framework and competency management process to deploy across the organization. The Company’s Learning and Development team worked with Innovative Learning Group (ILG) to create a suite of learning and performance support solutions to enable successful implementation and adoption of this system.
The Company had created a core set of observable, measurable competencies, organized into a framework; this framework would serve as the foundation for each phase of the talent life cycle. Along with the competency framework, the Company developed a competency management process for using the competencies. With the competency framework and related process in place, the Company was ready to implement this “system” across the organization.
With more than 79 manufacturing sites in 36 countries, this would be no small feat. Effective change management was critical. How could the Learning & Development team move management and non-management employees’ perspectives towards competency-based talent management from lack of awareness to acceptance to commitment? Clearly, this would require careful planning and execution of a blended solution.
A critical component of implementing the Company’s competency-driven system was ensuring that the employees in various roles had the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to adopt and use the system effectively. To this purpose, one of the competencies included in the competency framework was Competency Management, which was assigned to all employees. What was needed next were learning and performance support solutions to enable achievement of the competency. The L&D team contracted with its partner ILG to develop this suite of solutions, which would include an effective blend of delivery methods.
Several key considerations drove the design and development of the solutions:
- Needs were different based on the role of the employee related to the system.
- Champions drove deployment of the competency-driven system; they worked with people leaders to identify, define, and implement the competencies.
- People leaders were responsible for conducting accurate, consistent, and fair competency assessments for the employees who report to them, developing learning plans with their employees, and monitoring progress in achieving these plans.
- All employees used the competency-driven system.
- The overall suite of solutions needed to serve learners at various points in time across the talent management lifecycle. For this reason, L&D and ILG selected Mosher and Gottfredson’s
5 Moments of Need™ (5 MoN) model to design tools, training, and performance support that would serve learners at each moment of need; that is, when they are: learning for the first time (New); expanding their knowledge (More); acting on what they have learned in order to perform (Apply); handling problems or unexpected events (Solve); and changing ingrained performance practices to a new way (Change).
- An agile design and development process was needed to allow for flexibility and innovation while meeting the Company’s rigorous learning design and development standards.
The blended-learning components developed for each role are described below.
The solutions that ILG developed for Champions needed to enable them to drive implementation of the system. These solutions included:
- Champions Playbook, an interactive online performance support tool providing key information for each step of the deployment process, including overview/rationale, process steps, outputs, tools/templates, and examples
- Modeling Tool, an interactive online tool that Champions use collaboratively with people leaders at their sites to capture competency definitions in real time (This tool reduces paperwork, rework, and unnecessary steps, while ensuring consistency.)
- Application-based E-Learning Course, a two-part course that:
- Walks learners through the steps of the deployment process
- Provides hands-on experience using the modeling tool
- Champion Coaching,a system of coaching that pairs new Champions with experienced Champions to provide expert-level support, encouragement, and lessons learned at any of the 5 MoN
All employees needed to understand what competencies are, what a competency-driven talent management system is, how this system is beneficial, and how to use it. The solutions developed for all employees were as follows:
- Learning Nuggets,a series of videos that begin to “socialize” key ideas about the competency framework
- E-Learning Courses,two courses about learning plans and what is expected of employees and managers related to plans
People leaders needed all the knowledge and skills of the employee role, as well as the new skill of working with their employees to conduct competency assessments. Solutions identified and/or developed for people leaders included:
- The Learning Nuggets, the same videos described for employees above
- The Two E-Learning Courses, the same courses described for employees above
- Instructor-led Assessment Workshop, a hands-on, interactive workshop that uses a case study to prepare managers to conduct competency assessments for employees
Given the Champion role was critical to successful implementation of the competency-driven system, the Company focused its evaluation efforts on this role. L&D collected the following data (Kirkpatrick Levels 1 through 3) for this role:
- Level 1: Reaction. Champions were very positive about the tools and the learning they received.
- Level 2: Learning. Champions were able to create a competency model for their sites and use the tools immediately after training.
- Level 3: Behavior. L&D used two measures to determine whether desired behavior was achieved: whether the models created by the Champions were accurate (that is, they did not need substantial changes once put into use); and whether the models resulted in appropriate employee learning plans. In terms of creating models, data shows 98% of Champions are able to create models needing little revision. Overall, the Level 3 data shows that desired behavior was achieved. Key success factors were that new Champions received rich and timely coaching, and that they created their models soon after completion of learning.
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