6 Reasons Competency-Based Learning Helps In Bridging Your Employee Skills Gap

Bridge Your Employee Skills Gap With Competency-Based Learning

Independent of profession or industry, most employees have an innate desire to perform their jobs to the best of their ability, hone their skills, and achieve career advancement accordingly. The path to those goals, however, is all too often not straightforward. Traditional corporate training tends to introduce unsuspecting roadblocks. "Employee development programs" often don’t live up to their name and can be characterized by redundancy, inefficiency, and rigidity.

eBook Release: Competency-Based Learning: Increase Employee Skills Development Through Competency-Based Learning
eBook Release
Competency-Based Learning: Increase Employee Skills Development Through Competency-Based Learning
Create the competency-based learning program that is right for your organization.

Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to hone existing skills and acquire new ones. Companies seeking to invest in meaningful employee development have turned to competency-based learning as a means of maximizing the full potential of their workers. In this article, we’ll examine 6 reasons why competency-based learning is an effective means of bridging employee skills gaps.

1. Understanding The Company

The first step in a competency-based learning program is the development of a competency map. Associating jobs and roles with specific competencies organizes the game plan for professional development. Properly constructed, this map allows employees to visualize and understand where they fit in the bigger picture. Such clarity is empowering, as it removes any doubts about what it takes to be successful and the steps necessary to achieve career advancement. Each employee is fully informed about their strengths as well as the skills and competencies that remain to be acquired.

2. Relevancy

Once the bird-eye view competency map has been developed, it’s easier to narrow down the most efficient and relevant path for specific employees. All positions do not require the same competencies, so it makes sense that all employees would not need the exact same training. Keeping the training relevant to each job role and targeting the necessary competencies will draw emphasis to the right skills, reduce redundancy, and improve engagement.

3. Accurate Assessment Of Effectiveness

Competency-based training requires establishing identifiable standards. These allow employees to be accurately assessed as to whether or not they have mastered the skills required for their job. Traditional corporate training relies on summative testing to determine skills mastery, a method not always considered reliable. A passing grade is not necessarily an indicator of mastery of the broad range of content, and it provides no real insight into what skills are lacking. In comparison, competency-based training requires mastery over all individual learning objectives. Testing based on granular objectives ensures that crucial skills are not overlooked and the learner does not continue to progress without sufficient knowledge of the required material needed to be successful as the learning progresses. At a higher level, this type of assessment information can really target where the gaps in training lie and better facilitate organizational efforts to bridge those skill gaps.

4. Efficient Progress

One of the more tangible benefits of competency-based learning is the acknowledgment of previous learning and already acquired competencies. Demonstrated proficiency allows a learner to more quickly progress through training rather than being required to spend time ticking boxes on skills they’ve already acquired. Free from this constraint, learners can devote that precious time and attention toward developing the skills they actually lack. The learner is, therefore, more likely to be engaged with fresh, relevant content rather than bored and frustrated at a perceived waste of time. This approach emphasizes bridging skill gaps and provides the learner with opportunities to use slices of time efficiently on areas of potential growth.

5. Flexibility

Defining learning objectives through the lens of competency provides learners with certain agility in terms of career path management. Having a benchmark against which to explicitly measure and transfer each competency allows learners to avoid redundancy when making a professional shift. Competencies that have already been acquired are taken into account, and additional training can be applied where necessary. Career pivots are a less daunting exercise because employees are informed and aware of the competencies they need to acquire.

6. Speed

Tackling new skills is at the forefront of competency-based learning. Learners spend less time on information they already know and can focus on the next unlearned skill. Rather than being constrained by a set learning program and the progress of peers, competency-based learning is characterized by self-pacing, allowing those that can move through the content more quickly the freedom to do so. Each competency-based milestone is a clearly attainable goal. Once a goal is reached, the associated sense of accomplishment functions like a springboard toward the next achievement. The increased momentum and internal motivation propel learners to the next skill on the competency map.


If career paths were physically walked, competency-based learning would be the element making the journey toward each new skill shorter. The route remains interesting and the pace is determined by the employee explorer rather than a tour guide who necessarily caters to a wider group. Learners are empowered to fill their travel packs with the skills that correspond to their professional journey, and thus have a much greater likelihood of reaching their full potential. Download the eBook Competency-Based Learning: Increase Employee Skills Development Through Competency-Based Learning to discover more about this highly-strategic approach to employee skills development.