How did you get to where you are today? Some professions have a clear career path, requiring specific qualifications and membership of professional associations but a surprising number do not. eLearning design and L&D are two prime examples, with practitioners coming in to the profession from a range of backgrounds from human resource management to media production. So, how important is a clearly defined career path and how do you support those members of staff who have taken a more circuitous route?
There are professions where specific qualifications are essential; medicine and law to name but two. However, do you really need your next project manager to be a Scrum Master or an IT assistant to have a degree in Information Technology? Insisting that new recruits hold a specific recognised qualification does not necessarily guarantee an appropriately skilled workforce but it does help.
However, the fast pace of technological and cultural change means that new job roles are being created all the time that do not yet have a clear career path. Education is playing catch up. For example, can a traditional marketing or event management course prepare someone for a 21st century career in Event Amplification? If you are too prescriptive in your job description you may well exclude some potential stars, capable of bringing a fresh approach and dynamism to the role.
How do you ensure the quality of your staff if you don't insist on specific qualifications?
The first step is to determine a baseline level of expertise. Identify those skills you believe to be essential to the role and assess staff competence in those key areas. Don't just dust off the old job description. Find out what kind of skills your competitors value. Do some research.
If employees can demonstrate the relevant skills, how they acquired them is not an issue. A good diagnostic assessment will let you identify any gaps in knowledge and skills and create an individualised learning plan for staff. Tailor this to your company's needs so that you can craft a bespoke workforce with the skills and values your business requires.
Reward staff for the skills they already possess. Give credit for prior learning, however unconventional. Support them by paying towards membership of professional associations. Buying corporate membership is a cost effective way of rewarding your staff and acknowledging their professionalism. Identify further study for their individual professional development and celebrate their progress.
Invest in alternatives to traditional qualifications. Rather than paying for a course or qualification for a member of staff, you could put that money into financing an overseas exchange or job swap. Bring in experts to run masterclasses or partner up with stakeholders to run a conference or event.
If you feel there is a need for a qualification that does not yet exist, contact the awarding bodies with your request and they may well work with your sector to develop a qualification.
If you would like more information on developing your workforce contact us.
Catherine Sellars, Editor
Supporting innovation in teaching and learning
Copyright © 2014 Bray Leino Learning