New Feature – Fully Automated Competency Based Training Framework

Competency based training framework

New Feature – Fully Automated Competency Based Training Framework

A while ago, we discontinued our training tracking system because, among a few other factors, it was not a competency based training framework. This was a hard decision for us and we almost went back on it a couple of times. In fact, just when we decided to discontinue this feature, a lot of people suddenly became interested in using it.

However, we stuck to our decision and rode the storm out. Here’s why.

Training and employee development are probably the most important aspects to the success of a business. Without proper training, your employees will be unable to keep up with modern trends and tools, and this would eventually mean substandard performance for the whole company.

Because employee training is this important, we analyzed our training tracking system and decided that, although it is similar to what is obtainable in other niche software, it doesn’t quite provide the power and features needed to support effective employee training.

But we weren’t throwing in the towel, certainly not.

After careful planning and consulting, we recently decided to go big on training with the design of an automated competency based training framework, built into our Learning Plan system. This system offers features you cannot find anywhere else.

 

How Does Our Competency Based Training Framework Support Effective Training?

For training to be effective, it has to be suitable to the needs of each employee. If you use a one size fits all approach to training your employees, you would end up with training that fits no one.

It’s kind of like an electronics company producing one size of boxes for all their products. Whether it’s a fridge or a small speaker, it is packed in the same large size box, because creating different size of boxes takes extra effort. At the end the result would be ridiculous.

In a sense, many training approaches follow this same pattern. Of course for training, the effort required to make customized training plans for each employee can be incredible. For a large organization, it might even seem impossible, but that’s where our Competency Based Training Framework comes in. Our system is uniquely designed to help you make employee training suitable to the needs of each particular employee. Here’s how.

 

Automatic Training Recommendations for Employees

Our Competency Based Training Framework pulls information from an employee’s skills profile, job role skills requirements, and certifications to determine the exact skills each particular employee is lacking, or needs to improve on to support the business objectives.

When these skills are identified, the system then automatically recommends the corresponding training that would enable the employee acquire or improve on the identified skills. The system also recommends trainings that would help employees maintain their certifications.

Recommended Trainings - Competency based training frameworkUsing job role as an example, let’s assume an employee works as a Business Analyst, and by the definition of this role in the system, occupants should be experts in Data Analysis. If this person doesn’t have the required skill level, the system searches through available courses to find one that offers the Data Analysis skill and at expert skill level, and recommends it to the employee.

Thus, the competency based training framework takes care of all employee training without an admin lifting a finger.

Of course, the system also allows admins and managers to manually add trainings to employee profiles as seen fit.

One important thing to note is that this system would be most effective when you have the right trainings planned in the company. Otherwise, training needs would be identified but there would be no training in the system to recommend.

The good news for you is, you can use our Training Planning dashboard to ensure you plan the right training.

Training needs dashboard - Competency based training framework

This dashboards helps you identify the skills that are important to your business but lacking across the company – vital information to help you make the best training plans for your employees.

 

Tracking Learning Plans (Individual Development Plans)

When an employee decides to take a training from the automatically recommended plans (or is assigned a training by a manager), they get a set of tools (Individual Development Plan) to track their progress on each training. These tools help the employee visualize their current courses, the progress they have made, the time spent on each course, and other important aspects.

IDP - Competency based training framework

Employees can also add unique learning plan activities in their IDP to track other training opportunities such as personal development, soft skills gained from working with a particular professional, etc.

 

Importing and Creating your Trainings

Getting your courses into the Competency Based Training Framework is very easy. If you already have them in a Learning Management System, you can import them into our system and cut out extra work. You also have the option of creating individual trainings in the system.

Creating trainings - Competency based training framework

For each training, you can add skills that will be gained after the training is complete, as well as the skill level for each skill.

 

Learning Plan Reporting

Admins and managers can view a report of training activities in the system. This report shows the courses in the system, who is taking what course, how far along they are, what skills they will gain at completion, and much more.

Report - Competency based training framework

You can drill down on this report to display particular courses, or only people in a department, job title, location, etc.

With reports, you will be able to understand your current training plans, see how these can impact company projections, and plan for the future of each department and individual employee.

 

How Can You Use This Information?

Every company has a training budget. This is money set aside with the plan that training programs would make employees more effective in their role, and help bring in more money to the business.

As a training manager or HR Executive/Personnel, the weight is on your shoulders to make employee training have this impact

Thus, it is best to ensure your training plans are based on deep insights into the needs of your company, and of individual employees.

Our Competency Based Training Framework, built into our Learning Planning System provides this insight and also automates the process. If you already use Skills DB Pro, please contact us if you need help setting up this feature. It is already active on all SaaS accounts.

If you are new here, please sign up for a free 45-day trial of all our features.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Technical Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

A Sneak Peek Into Skill DB Pro’s Revamped Interface, Features, and Pages

Old and new interface

A Sneak Peek Into Skill DB Pro’s Revamped Interface, Features, and Pages

A few months back, I was chatting with our CEO when mention of our plans to revamp Skills DB Pro was first made. And I am very excited to inform our dear clients that these changes have started rolling out.

We put a lot of thought, planning, time, and effort into improving the interface and page structure of Skills DB Pro to give users a more modern feel.

Our thought process on this was to create a user experience that is not much different from the modern look you get on your mobile devices and laptops. Managing your skills is serious business, but it doesn’t have to look Jurassic 🙂

Simplifying Pages

If there’s one phrase we want people to think about when using Skills DB Pro, it is “simple and effective”.

There are quite a few softwares out there that do what Skills DB Pro does, but setting them up and using them is usually a mammoth, complicated process.

However, Skills DB Pro offers an easy solution to skills management, but that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied with “easy”. We prefer “very easy”, and so we continue to look for ways to simplify our system.

To this point, we formerly used to have 8 different pages for setting up personnel details. But with our latest update, we combined them all into a single page that is twice as simple, twice as functional, and frankly, 10 times better looking than the previous pages. You might even say this page went under the knife.

Previous interface. People management was made up of 8 different pages

people

New interface. People management is done from a single page

People management page

So when a person wants to work with personnel setup, they can go to a single page and simply switch tabs to access different sections.

Improving the Look and Feel

We started rolling out the changes to our interface a few months ago.

We began with the main skills management page for employees, and have gradually started to apply the changes to other pages.

With this new interface, users can manage their skills with a modern look and feel, including the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect like rotating waiting indicators, and more.

Below, you can see the changes to the interface.

Previous skills management interface

previous skills management page

New skills management interface

New skills management interface

One prominent feature of this new interface is the on-page help button. This means you do not need to go to any other page or consult any help document to get most of your answers. Instead, you simply click the Screen Help button and this launches a video guide on how to use the current page.

In upcoming months, you will continue to observe these changes in yet other areas of the software. It is our aim to phase out the older interface and replace completely with the new one by early next year.

As we make these changes and add new features, we would always appreciate your input and reviews. If while working, you think about a feature that will make your life easier, please do send a message about it to steve@skillsdbpro.com

We greatly value your suggestions!

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

New Feature – Main And Training Needs Analysis Dashboards For Administrators

New Feature – Main And Training Needs Analysis Dashboards For Administrators

For some time, we deliberated on creating an informational dashboard for our users, and we recently went ahead and implemented not just one, but two dashboards.

The first is the main dashboard which keeps you updated on your people’s skills and activity in the system.

Main Dashboard

The two sections on the top left let you know how your people are using the system.

On the first stat, you can see the number of people who are yet to add skills to their profile. The second stat shows you how many skills are updated each month, and with this data, you can decide if your people are active enough, or if you need to send out a notification reminding them to use the system.

It may also help you keep track of employee development initiatives. If skills are not being developed, employees will have few or no skills to update, and this stat will drop.

The “Top Skill Averages” section at the bottom helps you identify the skills for which your people are most competent. It brings this information out by displaying skills that at least 5 people have, for which the average score is at least 3 (Competent).

The “Training Needs Analysis” stat on the right gives you a sneak preview of the skills for which your people need training. Further, we designed a dedicated Training Needs Analysis dashboard with which you can get more insight.

Training Needs Analysis Dashboard

We thought about it carefully and decided all the functionality needed for in-depth Training Needs Analysis could not be fitted into the Main Dashboard. Thus we chose to create a separate Training Needs Analysis dashboard.

Training needs analysis

With this dashboard, you can create custom TNAs, unique to your requirements, and the needs of your company.

One simple way to find out your company’s training needs is to pull out skills that meet the following two criteria:

1. Quite a few employees have the skill.
2. The skill has a low skill score rating across employees.

If there is a particular skill owned by quite a few people, this may indicate that the skill is important to the company. If you then find out the average score for this skill is less than “Competent”, it may be time to train.

With our new TNA dashboard, you can find this out very easily. With the first section on top, you can ask the system to return skills that are owned by at least X number of people, for which the average score is less than Y.

Employees and scores

After specifying the values and hitting Refresh, the TNA graph refreshes to show you the results of your query, and from this graph, you can pick out skills for which your people need training (See TNA graph above for a sample).

But it doesn’t stop there. Below the TNA graph, there is a simple report. If you drag the “Person” filter in front of “Skill” as shown in the picture below, the report shows you each individual who has the skill, and what their score is. With this information, you can select people to be trained, and people who are competent enough to handle the training.

Training Needs Analysis Report

As you can also see in the picture, there are many other ways you can drill down on this data. If your company is spread out across multiple cities, you can add the city filter, etc.

We hope by now some of you have taken our dashboards for a spin and have found out how they can give you insights into the activities and needs of your workforce.

If you are yet to do this, this article has shown you ways in which this new feature can help you keep your workforce in top shape. Please take advantage of it and continue to reap the benefits of using Skills DB Pro to manage your workforce.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

Feature Upgrade: Skills Lists Can Now Be Imported

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Feature Upgrade: Skills Lists Can Now Be Imported

We’ve been working hard for a while now to produce features that are aimed at making your job a lot easier. Late last month, we completed the skills import module and have tested it rigorously since then. We are thus very excited to inform you that this module is now live and can be used to get your company’s skills into the system.

Before this upgrade, you had to manually create new categories and skills in the system. Although we have a skills library which you can choose from, this library cannot contain all possible skills across all fields, so you likely had to create a number of skills manually.

But not anymore!

Using the skills import feature, you can easily import your company’s complete skills list from a CSV document in one go. The process for importing skills is quite similar to the “people import” process, and here’s how it works.

How To Import Skills Into The System

1. Go to Admin > Skills Setup > Skills Import
Skills Import Link

2. Under “Import Skills & Categories”, click on the second link to download the CSV document, and then click on the first link to open a PDF guide containing import instructions.
Import Skills and Categories

3. Following the instructions in the PDF guide, populate the CSV document with the list of skills and qualifications you want to import.
Populated CSV file

4. Come back to the import page (Admin > Skills Setup > Skills Import), and click Launch Import.
Launch Import link

5. Set the import type to “Skills”, click on “Choose File” and select the populated CSV document, and click Import.
Import skills
The result should be as shown in the picture below.

Import Skills Report
So whether your list contains 1000 skills and qualifications, they are all created in the system in one hassle free import process.

We hope this update helps save your time and make your job easier. If you have any questions or suggestions about this or any other feature, please contact us about it; we would love to hear from you.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

New Feature: Live Walkthroughs For Administrators

Guided setup widget

New Feature: Live Walkthroughs For Administrators

You may have noticed a new widget at the bottom right of your screen each time you access Skills DB Pro.

Page with setup widget
Article Update: We moved this widget to the top right of the screen as it seemed to cover some functions in its previous position.

If you have been wondering what this button does, but have so far refused to click on it, because you (like me) would rather avoid anything that involves the word “setup”, then let me put you at ease.

This button actually opens up an on-page walkthrough that makes it easier for administrators to setup and use the system.

New clients who just started the initial setup process for their company can simply follow through from step 1 to the last step.

But besides the initial setup, this feature simplifies the day to day usage of Skills DB Pro. For example, if you were working with the system but forgot how to get something done, you would have to grab our user guide and skim for the answer, or maybe even contact us.

But with this new feature, you can simply click on the widget, select the topic that addresses what you want to accomplish, and the system walks you through each step.

The system covers many basic setup functions, and we will continue to add to it as we see fit, or according to your suggestions.

How Does It Work?

Let’s say I wanted to assign some employees to their department manager, here’s how I can get this done:

1. Click on the widget and select the appropriate guide from the list.
Item selected in widget

2. Follow the steps in the guide to assign employees as shown in the following screenshots.
Assign employees screenshot
Assign employees screenshot
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
Assign employee screenshots
As you can see, the walkthrough takes you through the whole process until you’ve completed the task you have in mind.

We hope this feature will help save your valuable time, and improve your general experience as you manage and optimize your workforce with Skills DB Pro.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

Feature Upgrade – Employees Can Now Create Categories, Skills, and Qualifications.

Enable employees create skills

Feature Upgrade – Employees Can Now Create Categories, Skills, and Qualifications.

We’re excited to announce that we have implemented a new feature that many of you requested.

You can now enable employees to add skills, qualifications, and categories.

We initially had reservations about implementing this feature, and here’s why. When employees are enabled to add these items, admins can no longer control what skills and qualifications go into the system. And so, two employees may add the same skill using different spellings, and this could lead to duplicates.

On the flip side, enabling this feature would make it much easier to setup and use the system.

During setup for example, an admin might decide not to create company skills but allow employees create them as they go along. This will cut down the initial setup work by a great deal as the skill setup phase often takes the most effort.

And whenever employees want to score themselves on a skill but cannot find it in the system, they do not need to contact the admin for assistance but can create the skill themselves and then go on to add a score.

So, although enabling this option will limit your control over what skills go into the system, it will also mean less work for you and a more dynamic skills list.

How To Enable This Option

New accounts created after this feature was implemented have it enabled by default. Older clients will need to enable it before it can be used.

To do this, go to Admin > Company > Company.

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Check the box labeled “Employees can add to skills list?”

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Click Submit.

Note: To disable it, uncheck the box and click Submit.

After enabling this feature, if one of your employees want to rate a skill but cannot find it in the system, she simply clicks “Add Skills to List.”

2015-09-21_13-13-03

After which she selects the skill category, types in the new skill, adds description if necessary, and clicks Add.

2015-09-21_13-14-39

She and other employees can then rate themselves on this new skill.

Inform Employees

If you have enabled this option, you may need to inform your employees that they can now create skills, skill categories, qualifications, and qualification categories as they use the system.

Further instruction on how they can do this can be found in Page 4 of our “Getting Started as an Employee” guide, which is available for download in our help section.

Have Other Suggestions?

We appreciate the clients whose suggestions led to this upgrade, and we aim to continue to improve Skills DB Pro in line with ideas and recommendations from you.

If there is anything you feel our system can do better, or any feature we should add, please do not hesitate to inform us about it.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com

Feature Upgrade – Notifications Just Got More Noticeable

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Feature Upgrade – Notifications Just Got More Noticeable

Early this month we started testing some exciting upgrades to our notification feature. Our aim was to make it more easily accessible so admins can keep all personnel skills and certifications current without digging through menus for the different notification functions.

In the process, we also made it more functional.

Notifications are used to locate employees who have expiring certificates, or who have not updated their skills in a while.

Search returns all who haven't updated their skills after selected date.
Search returns all who haven’t updated their skills after selected date.

After the system returns the list of employees, the admin can go on to notify them that they need to update their skills or renew a certification (I guess we would not have called it “Notifications” otherwise.)
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Before the feature upgrade, the two major notification functions (certificate expiry and skills update) were crowded in with some other items under Score Details, and we noticed we sometimes had a hard time finding them (heck we designed this.)
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And so we moved notifications to their own special place under the “All People” menu.

Notifications are now grouped in a distinct menu
Notifications are now grouped in a distinct menu

We also grouped the Training Notification function (used for reminding employees of upcoming training) into this menu. Before now, it could only be accessed through the training module and was separate from other notification functions. But since we added it to this menu, all notifications are now located in the same place.

“Days Since Last Update” Option

To save your precious time, we added a new option that makes it easy to select a “Last Update” date range.

Let’s say you wanted to find people who have not updated their skills in the past 6 months. Without this new option, you’d have to say: ok so today is 24th August 2015, 6 months ago was February – March, April, May, June, July, August, alright 6 months ago was February 24th. Yeah, so I have to enter 24th February 2015.

But now, all you have to do is click 180 in the “Days since last update” option, and you’re done!

Easily select a month, a quarter, half a year, or one year back
Easily select a month, a quarter, half a year, or one year back

Under expirations, this option is labeled “Days until certificate expires”, and it also provides a predefined number of days that you can click on to see who needs to update their certificate.

Though this seems like a little upgrade, I found it made notifications a pleasure to use.

I hope you will have the same experience.

And if you have a feature in mind that you think we should add, or you feel one of our features can be improved on, please contact us about it. We always appreciate your inputs and suggestions.

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support
http://skillsdbpro.com