Best practices for giving your company’s certification process a facelift:
Many companies offer and sometimes require a variety of certifications to their team members. Sometimes the certifications are required – like health and safety focused programs, while others might be more about helping team members improve their skills and grow their career.
When an organization mixes required and optional certification programs, it can be challenging to get everyone in the organization to fully embrace the process and opportunity. If you are embarking on a certification process overhaul, make it on-going, long term, and online.
At first glance, this may seem like a daunting task (and to be fair, it’s no walk in the park), however the outcome will add value that will scale up as your company grows and expands. Here are four best practices that you can start today:
1. Assess Organizational Certification Needs
Your company is unique, it has its own culture, lingo, processes and quirks, which is why step one includes a 360 degree organizational assessment. Determine your priorities, identify vulnerable gaps, acknowledge key strengths. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to assemble a team that is responsible for creating an organization wide snapshot. Get an honest understanding of where your company is today so you can create a plan to get you where you need to be.
2. Set Organizational Certification Objective
In step one you orient yourself with the current condition of your certification process (or lack thereof), in step two you use this information to set realistic attainable goals for your overhaul. With the knowledge you’ve gained, identify objectives to bridge the gap between current and desired outcomes. For example, you may identify that your logistics department is consistently completing their certification requirements at the final moments before the deadline, leading to a bottle neck of problems because everyone is scrambling. In this case, one of your objectives should be to smooth out this process and avoid costly inefficiencies. Make sure to set quantifiable objectives so you can gauge progress. For example, you can require that XX% of team members need to complete certification each week until deadline. Partner with your department leaders to set realistic objectives that set everyone up for success.
3. Create Certification Action Plan
The next step is to create a comprehensive action plan that is tailored to the nuances of your organization’s process and culture. Unless you have an experienced HR leader to spearhead this initiative, we recommend teaming up with an outside consultant that does this work every day. Do not waste resources reinventing the wheel when an entire industry of experts has exactly what you need. Your action plan should be detailed and incorporate employee learning styles, communication methods, and company culture. Remember, it’s not just about making sure certification requirements are complied with, but that your team retains the knowledge and demonstrates competency every day.
4. Implement Certification Initiatives
The implementation phase is where the certification process comes to life. Organizations need to decide whether certification training and assessments will be delivered in-house, externally coordinated, or a hybrid of the two. Program implementation should consider employee engagement and learning KPI goals, as well as thoroughly planning the scheduling of activities and any related resources (facilities, equipment, business cycles, etc.). The overhauled certification process is then officially launched, communicated and conducted. Continuously monitor employee progress to ensure your new certification process is efficient and effective.
As we said earlier, overhauling your company’s certification process may seem like an insurmountable task, but starting with these four steps will definitely get you and your team closer to your desired goals.