Competency Management Matters – Avoid Costly Errors in Online Implementation

Most organisations will set-up their approach to managing competency online, using software that enables employees in different locations to access the competency management system at any time.

If done well, this arrangement provides real time information on competency levels for all employees wherever they are located, ideally linked to learning and on the job training.

However, for many companies, the process of moving an existing competency management system or setting up a new competency management system online can go wrong, and as a result can cost the company a lot of time and money.

In this article we want to share some tips on how to avoid these costly errors, as well as some pointers on what you can do to make sure that the competency management system that you set-up online is the best solution for your organisation.

 Think About the Software Last

It is tempting to jump straight to thinking about the software before you are ready to do this.

There are many products available that offer a lot of functionality but the core features of how competency is handled do not actually fit well with what the organisation requires.

To avoid this risk, start by writing down what you need and evaluate accordingly.  We have included an example below which intentionally focuses on training and competency as the priority.

Build Your Competency Management System on Paper First

If you do not yet have a competency management system in place, build one on paper first.  If possible, map out all positions, locations and levels first, and then roll it out to a small pilot group, test it and refine it.  Then you can start thinking about software options.

No organisation is likely to get a competency management system right first time and trying it out on paper (probably using Microsoft packages) so that you can easily refine your approach without the cost and time of involving software developers, will save you a lot of time and money.

If you do not have a competency management system, the steps below are a high-level outline of the stages to consider:

If You Have a Working CMS: Review, Align and Question

If you already have a working competency management system offline, take the opportunity of moving to an online solution to review your existing set-up.

Ask the following types of questions:

The Bigger Picture

  • Do we still have a clear strategy for our approach to competency management?
  • Do we have the correct competency standards identified for each role?
  • Do your competencies help you manage risk?
  • Is our approach streamlined and working effectively?
  • Is it sustainable and will it continue to work as our organisation grows and evolves?
  • Are there any elements that are not working well?

The Governance of Your Competency Management System

  • How well is our assessment process working?
  • Is our approach to recording and evidencing of competency working?
  • Is our approach to verification working?
  • Have we made sure that learning is happening effectively?

Integrating Training and Competency

  • How well have we linked training and competency?
  • Are we making effective use of on-the-job training?
  • How do we link training and assessment?

Thinking About Going Online

Once you are ready to look at moving to your online solution, there are some tips that we can offer based on our experience of what makes online competency management system projects successful.

  • Break this project down into manageable steps and start small
  • Involve the right people especially the people who know your competency management system already and how it works as well as those who will be using it when it is online
  • Ask difficult questions and involve the people who will ask difficult questions
  • Pilot, test and evaluate, and then move on (following the waterfall approach)
  • Do not under-estimate the importance and complexity of handling the data involved in setting up the competency management system online
  • Think carefully about how you will evidence the competencies and how you will export the data from the system. What gets measured gets done
  • Do not overload the users and the assessors, and get the balance of work right
  • Avoid over-complicating the solution, allowing it to get too big or equally making it too simple and a tick box exercise that adds no value

In summary, choose a solution that is flexible for your organisation, can grow with the organisation and does not require you to change your organisation’s competency management system to fit the software.

Getting your competency management system up and running, and online, will make a big difference to the day to day experience of everyone involved, as well as allowing you to better manage training and competency within your organisation, reduce risk and enable your people to develop faster.  If you are about to embark on this project, you have a great opportunity to push your business a long way forward.


If we have touched on anything you feel you would like to explore further, please get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you and your team.

Alternatively, visit our website to find out about our own competency management software:


Call us on +44(0) 1651 873398

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