What is competency standardization?
Competency standardization is a performance specification that identifies the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to succeed in the workplace.
To break that down further: Standardization is the process of aligning something, in this case competencies, to a shared set of rules, often set at an industry level. Competencies are described as the ‘how’ behind a task and are used by recruiters as benchmarks for assessing the eligibility of candidates. Unlike skills which are typically binary - you can either do something or you can’t. Competencies describe the combination of ability and knowledge, supported by a core skill.
For example, a hiring manager might have ten eligible candidates for a social media role. Each candidate is skilled in social media management, but only two align with the company culture and put in the effort to keep their skills up-to-date.
How is competency standardization used?
Competency standards are used by organizations and governments to define the qualifications required by candidates to successfully practice in a professional discipline. Medium to large organizations tend to lean on custom competency frameworks to identify the best talent for a role. This helps to support the hiring process by enabling hiring managers to quickly process shortlisted candidates.
Job-seekers can use competency standardizations to identify missing skills and anticipated behaviour for preferred career paths. This enables candidates to seek out opportunities to acquire the skills that meet hiring expectations and help them to stand-out amongst other applicants.
Is competency standardization necessary?
The idea behind exploring global or national competency standardization is truth. When a hiring manager is assessing a resume with a credential, the truth of competencies gives them the confidence to make a hiring decision. When comparing resumes with credentials claiming the same competencies, standardization ensures hiring managers know they are comparing apples to apples.
For a candidate exploring learning or training opportunities, competency standardization identifies paths that will directly impact their career goals. This aspect is particularly important to job-seekers that are facing financial or time constraints and removes the element of risk.
The workforce looks substantially different than it did ten years ago. A four-year degree would have been enough for the majority of job roles, yet today it is more of a stepping stone. We continue to witness explosive growth of continuous learning and e-learning opportunities alongside increasing segmentation of job roles. This is where competency standardization can help to convey the value of a credential and navigate the complexity of professional development.
What are the challenges of competency standardization?
There are concerns about competency standardization. Such as the risk of stifling innovation and the impact on certain geographical regions and social brackets, or providing clarity when there is no central authority. Consider a central authority like Google, they are a huge presence in the world of technology and have built the framework for Google developers in training. Hiring managers see Google as an issuer on a credential and instantly understand the value.
With thousands of courses and training programs being created each year, identifying which ones provide value and assure career-advancement is complex. There are also a lot of variables to consider, particularly for global standardization, including culture, languages, and localization. These are the challenges of competency standardization that require careful thought and balance to get right.
Competency standardization will help demystify paths of career-advancement for candidates and simplify the hiring process for organizations. There are concerns that need to be faced around central authorities, cultures, and differences in social-geographic backgrounds. This is particularly important for global standardization and will enable greater accessibility for all learners. Supported by utilization of advancing technologies, such as AI and machine learning, competency standardization will eventually remove the risk in choosing credential programs and making hiring decisions.
Accredible is a member of the OpenCreds Consortium. The OpenCreds Consortium is facilitating the best practices of micro-credentialing. They provide clarity and classification of credentials for organizations to align to. This helps issuers showcase the value of their credentials to institutions and individuals. The OpenCreds Consortium was launched to provide global and national standardization in micro-credentials across professional learning, vocational education and training, and higher education.
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