Deeper proficiency through competence development

Competence development means an individual's competence and proficiency development throughout the working career. In one's own work, competence development can refer to updating, expanding, deepening or completely redirecting one's competence.

The objective of competence development is the comprehensive development of the work community and organisation. Competence development is part of the strategic operations planning of an organisation, and the direction and objectives of the development stem from the strategic objectives of the organisation.

The significance and importance of competence development must be recognised and acknowledged throughout the organisation, top management included.

How is competence developed at workplaces? 

  • Seminars and conferences of the field;
  • Degree-oriented or non-degree-oriented long- or short-term training and education;
  • Company-specific training and development programmes;
  • Individual or group coaching and mentoring;
  • Participation in the research and development projects and programmes of one's own workplace;
  • Job rotation through professional networks;
  • Keeping track of professional literature and trade magazines.

Why should competence be developed?

Information-based society, the renewal of information and working methods, changes in job descriptions and duties: reasons behind the importance of competence development can be found both in social development and changes in one's own job description. International and national competitive situations as well as new services, products and technologies challenge existing information, skills and attitudes.

We can only secure target-oriented progress towards the goal by defining the trend and maintaining our target-orientation and systematic operations. The same goes with competence development.

Superiors play a significant role in competence development

Superiors play a central role in competence development at workplaces. A superior is a focal person when charting existing competence, identifying competence deficiencies, outlining development goals as well as enabling and offering opportunities for development.

It is not enough for the top management and superiors of an organisation to regard development as an important issue. The experts themselves must also be interested in their own development and development potential and assume responsibility for it.

Few workplaces – mainly large corporations – have a dedicated person for personnel development in their organisation. Therefore, we must also ourselves be advocates for our own development.

Several tools are available for competence development:

Competence can be charted and developed in many ways, and basically all required tools are also available. The question rather is: are these existing tools used – and if yes – how widely and efficiently?

These tools include:

  • Competence analyses;
  • Preparation of a personal development plan in conjunction with a development discussion, for example;
  • Personnel and training plans required by the Act on Co-operation within Undertakings.

Challenges of competence development

The challenges of competence development at the workplace often involve deficient planning and the detachment of the competence development from the strategy and goals of the organisation. Not nearly always is competence development regarded with adequate weight when assessed as an investment in the organisation's and an individual's future and future competitiveness. Another challenge involves decision-making and perceiving to a sufficient extent the connection between the profitability of the organisation and the personnel's working capacity, coping at work and occupational well-being.

As for employees, challenges often have to do with resources, first and foremost a lack of time as well as deficient planning and information.

Common challenges in competence development include the wide range of training and development service providers and provision as well as their diversity in terms of quality, a lack of instruction targeted at adults and a partial mismatch between demand and supply.

Studies show that employees appreciate development opportunities at their work as well as the possibility to learn something new through their own work. For example, 80 per cent of the so-called Generation Y want to develop in their working careers by seeking education and training.

To a great degree, development opportunities also contribute to job satisfaction as they make the work interesting for their own part. Developing and advancing one's own competence are considered important, and employers must therefore offer opportunities for them.

Is coping in today's working life possible merely through development? How many have personal long-term competence development plans?


Contact information:

Advisor for Educational Affairs

Suvi Eriksson

p. +358201299268