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Competency or compliance - you choose

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Looks at the value of compliance training in the workplace and suggests that an emphasis on competence would be more productive.

Published in: Business, Technology

Competency or compliance - you choose

  1. 1. Compliance?<br />Competence?<br />
  2. 2. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to take on a consultancy assignment in deepest Africa. Before I could go, I had to complete an e-learning course around issues of health, safety and security.<br />
  3. 3. As I found out, in some parts of the world safety and security are very important issues. <br />
  4. 4. There’s a lot that can go wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing. <br />
  5. 5. As you can imagine, this is a fascinating topic and the course could have been really interesting and engaging.<br />
  6. 6. It might even have worked if it had been properly positioned and reinforced.<br />
  7. 7. Trouble is, this was a compulsory course, followed by a very long test which I had to pass if I was to continue with the assignment.<br />
  8. 8. The game became beating the system – passing the test with the least possible effort.<br />
  9. 9. I failed in this respect because I didn’t pass the test first time round. Good job I had written down the answers to the more tricky questions, so I wouldn’t mess up a second time.<br />
  10. 10. And, of course, I had forgotten everything I had ‘learned’ within a few days.<br />
  11. 11. What could have been a highly intriguing exploration of issues likely to have a very real impact on my personal well-being …<br />
  12. 12. … became a rather frustrating chore to be finished as quickly as possible.<br />
  13. 13. To be fair, my client was, in this case, probably really looking to increase the competence of its employees and sub-contractors in dealing with issues of safety and security.<br />
  14. 14. What they got was compliance, i.e. people who could pass a quiz.<br />
  15. 15. Compliance training is carried out in order to meet a regulatory requirement or to reduce a risk of legal liability. Training must be seen to have taken place. Real learning is a bonus.<br />
  16. 16. Competence-based training, on the other hand, is focused on performance – making sure employees can do their job properly.<br />
  17. 17. Compliance training is designed to be as efficient as possible – that means cheap, quick and non-disruptive.<br />
  18. 18. Whereas competency-based training is designed to be as effective as possible. In other words, it works.<br />
  19. 19. So, why is compliance-based training not effective? Well, firstly it is compulsory, which causes resentment – a ‘teach-me-if-you-can’ mentality.<br />
  20. 20. Compliance training tends to start with the assumption that you’re guilty (of discrimination, of poor security, etc.) until proven innocent, which causes defensiveness.<br />
  21. 21. And most compliance training involves testing, which causes stress. Resentment, defensiveness and stress are not so good for learning.<br />
  22. 22. Compliance training can even do more harm than good.<br />“Practices that target managerial bias through diversity training show virtually no effect. In fact, research to date suggests that the training often generates a backlash.”<br />Professor Frank Dobbin<br />Harvard University<br />
  23. 23. Compliance training also damages e-learning. Here’s why:<br />
  24. 24. Here’s why compliance training damages e-learning:<br />
  25. 25. Here’s why compliance training damages e-learning:<br />
  26. 26. Here’s why compliance training damages e-learning:<br />
  27. 27. To ensure competence, an intervention needs to cover all the bases. First of all it must provide positioning - a rationale for the training - as well as covering the underlying concepts and principles.<br />
  28. 28. It needs to present the policies and procedures clearly and simply.<br />
  29. 29. It should work through some examples.<br />
  30. 30. And allow the learner ample opportunity for practice, safe from danger and from the risk of embarrassment. Here’s where simulations and scenarios come in handy.<br />
  31. 31. The learner must be supported in applying what they have learned to the job, perhaps by coaching, by reference information available on demand, or through communities of practice.<br />
  32. 32. And managers need to reinforce the new behaviours by modelling the skills themselves and by providing rewards through the performance management system.<br />
  33. 33. By contrast, a typical compliance programme does this ...<br />
  34. 34. By contrast, a typical compliance programme does this ...<br />
  35. 35. This methodology is driven by managers who don’t understand about learning. They assume that learners are empty vessels just waiting to be filled.<br />
  36. 36. As a result, most compliance training is like drinking from a fire hose.<br />
  37. 37. Compliance training only works as a tick-box exercise – it doesn’t result in changed behaviour (and it damages the reputation ofe-learning).<br />
  38. 38. To really make a difference, the emphasis needs to shift to competence: a more sophisticated and costly blend of activities, but with a strong chance of success.<br />
  39. 39. Success really is worth striving for: less discrimination, fewer accidents, fewer security issues, fewer security lapses, fewer legal claims, fewer PR disasters.<br />
  40. 40. Compliance or competence - you choose<br />was created by Clive Shepherd<br />© Copyright 2009, Fastrak Consulting Ltd<br />

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