Certification has many uses, from your qualified trade continuing education and specific niche technical skills to internal compliance. This gives you various levers to pull when incorporating certification in building organisational capability.
Why should you offer certification programs in pursuit of building organisational capability?
Professional certification is an astute way to bolster technical and leadership capabilities. Continuing education, whether internal or through third party bodies, helps plugs both sudden and emerging gaps in your talent pipeline.
Internal certification programs:
- Help ensure a more consistent culture, service and product as you’re credentialing processes, mindsets, behaviours and tools within a certification program.
- Provide clear evidence of the progression needed for certain career trajectories for employees.
- Can support job role redesigns and transitions into new roles for employees.
- Support self-sustaining development processes, meaning you’re not at the behest of a third-party provider to be up to date with content.
- Contribute to corporate or capability academies by way of developing functional and technical skills specific to your capability needs. (Side note: Capability academies are generally co-owned by HR and business functions, making for better L&D alignment.)
A capability is built from tools, process, knowledge and skills. External certification programs ensure:
- Objective industry validation of hard skills (or technical skills as some prefer).
- Enhanced credibility, a somewhat underappreciated part of employees carrying third party certifications. Not only does this increase confidence and garner more respect from peers, but given capability building is no easy feat, all these factors weigh into over-performance of developing an organisational capability at speed.
What are the challenges of using certifications in building organisational capability?
The main issue associated with certifications is relying on them as a replacement for other forms of training or education. Treating certifications as anything other than supplementary qualifications for continuing education may see your capabilities peak at a certain moment in time.
That is to say, the knowledge and skills learned to earn that certification will likely be outdated within years. Resting measures of competence or talent on those certifications means that every few months or years the goalposts will change, creating instability in performance management processes. (That can render capability frameworks unstable foundations on which to build a business, by the way.)
When it comes to certification, putting all your eggs in the third-party certification basket means you may miss the opportunity to create internal training credibility. But attempting to create a capability academy of your own certifications will take time and resources, which may not be feasible for small HR and L&D teams.
What is the impact of not doing this as it relates to building organisational capability?
Without continuing education, you may unintentionally rely on the outdated or high-level knowledge provided by other qualifications like bachelors degrees. That, or you’ll focus too granularly on capability building within your organisational context rather than considering the industry standards, software and behavioural practices that all contribute to individual capability.
Certifications, as part of continuing education, contribute to a culture of lifelong learning. Lacking tangible results or rewards for their learning efforts, most employees may not seek out any training outside of what may be mandatory. Even then, certifications are the backbone of compliance training. If you don’t have certification programs in place, compliance-based roles and processes can go unchecked, potentially putting your organisation at risk of financial or industry consequences.
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