3 Core Competencies You Must Follow For Successful L&D

July 23, 2020 | 8 Min Read

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What is a Core Competency?

A core competency is a concept that is part of an overarching set of learned skills developed through intellectual, personal, social, emotional experiences. Extending throughout a lifetime the facets within these experiences are interlinked and act as a learning foundation. 

Thus core competencies are developed when an individual engages in particular skills that support educational curriculums. Effective development and ongoing learning has to have an involvement of both the learner and individuals that support the learner.

The 3 Core Competencies

1. Communication

Is all about the connections and interactions with others that contribute an individual's knowledge and aptitude. 

The events that happen within a lifetime can help learners take the experiences they have acquired through communicating to understanding and develop their identity. This enables them to take what they understand from previous situations and apply it to solve new problems. Through this process, they can find purpose and fulfillment.

Within the communication, there are 2 sub-competencies:


Involves an exchange of ideas, experiences, and information and is used to comprehend an individual's external environment. This is often interlinked to one’s self identity. 

Those who are skilled will use learnt techniques to effectively communicate based on who they are interacting with, however, the more communication the more learning between them and the object(s) of interaction.


Correlates with people solving problems based on situational circumstances, usually with similar goals and purposes. Here each member will have their respective roles and contribute ideas and strategies acting as a mutual benefit for all, intellectually and personally.

Collaboration should ideally be done in an encouraging environment where the support of all members are highly impactful.

2. Thinking

Concepts are absorbed and processed into a state of newfound knowledge, contributing to intellectual development. The importance of general self-awareness on how you learn will support how you process information habitually (on autopilot) and metacognitively (when you’re thinking about your thinking). 

These abilities allow sentiments and understandings towards new concepts to develop subconsciously and unconsciously.

The competency of thinking has 2 sub-competencies:

Creative Thinking

Pertains to generating new concepts and dictating the value the idea, of that concept, will have for others. Though these new ideas are carefully taken into consideration, creative thinkers are not afraid to take risks. 

They are open-minded and view the world with curiosity and though they have an affinity for contemplating existing theories they are comfortable when faced with new ones. 

Critical and Reflective Thinking

Is a set of learned skills that involve logic and reasoning when confronted with new concepts especially ones that require various depths in thinking. In order to draw conclusions, based on the given situation, existing experiences will come into play to analyze and form judgements. 

Critical thinkers are analytical and have an affinity for having their current knowledge base challenged. They are able to set goals, solve problems and tackle issues because they are always refining their knowledge and understanding through the process of observation within their environment.

3. Personal and Social

These skillsets relate to how one's identity is shaped through self-awareness and social responsibility.

It is important to comprehend where one stands as a member of society which then provides a sense of ease when striving to achieve purpose.

There are 3 subcategories within the personal and social competencies:

Personal Awareness and Responsibility

Implies comprehending the connection between self-awareness, wellbeing and social behaviour. Drawing from the experience and understanding from each of these enables you to make ethical decisions. 

Individuals who are personally aware take responsibility for their actions when present in difficult situations. They focus on their wellbeing, set goals and manage expectations and emotions. All while being well aware of their rights.

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity

Involves comprehending an individual's awareness within one's heritage and belief system.

Through cultural narratives those who have value in this find satisfaction as it contributes to their overall wellbeing and identity. 

This gives individuals a sense of worth and confidence which empowers them to support others within their community.

Social Awareness and Responsibility

With the common goals of contributing to society, individuality is shaped through relationships and interactions. Therefore this concept involves comprehending an individual's awareness through the connections they have with others. 

Supporting this common objective allows people who are socially aware to have empathy for others and to care for family and friends. Their perspectives are appreciated as they help others solve issues resulting in positive lasting meaningful relationships.

What is the Role of the Human Resources (HR)?

Now let's apply this to human resource development, which uses these core competencies in structuring and planning for organizational improvement. Not to be mistaken with human resource management which involves general tasks for better efficiency in the workplace. 

But we’ll back up here. What is human resources and what are their roles?

Functions of the human resources department

1. Recruitment

Finding the right candidate within your organization is important for workplace culture. Other responsibilities relating to recruitment can include job postings, sourcing and screening, interviews and involvement with management in final selections.

Bringing on new staff is always a challenge, but that’s especially true when you need to fill an important role that’s been vacated. This article reveals how to Build a Stronger Succession Planning Process with eLearning to lighten the burden on your organization and the HR department!

2. Taking Care of the Company Internally

HR plays an important role in nurturing the working environment, by making sure all is running smoothly. They are responsible for ensuring the initial onboarding process goes smoothly and that the employee comfortably settles into their new work environment. Providing material and training for workplace safety training is also a crucial step.

The first few weeks with a new organization can define the success of a new employee and their long-term commitment, so take home a few of these tips to Make a Great First Impression with a Solid New Hire Onboarding Program.

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3. Employer to Employee Correspondence

Measuring job satisfaction and mitigating workplace conflict helps with retention as dissatisfied employees contribute to counter-productivity. If unions are involved HR departments may work with their organization to negotiate contracts and collective bargaining agreements.

4. Compliance & Employee Laws

A workplace without compliance could result in workplace dissatisfaction and complaints. Productivity and profitability can be highly affected along with legal repercussions if certain standards within labour laws aren't met.

An LMS can be an extremely effective tool for compliance because it keeps all records of completion and documentation in one place. This can save a lot of time and money when managing your employees.

Here is a wonderful read for those who are interested in exploring LMS for a successful compliance program

5. Benefits & Compensation Structures

Payroll, medical insurance or group health coverage are all governed through best practices and evaluation. Usually, this is subject to the organization’s standards.

6. Employee Training & Development

An HR representative administers the appropriate tools needed for an employee to successfully integrate into the workforce’s environment and culture. Below will explain further what exactly is HR training and development.

What is Training & Development (T&D)?

Training involves changing an individual's attitude and to make improvements in behaviour. This is determined after a thorough needs analysis is conducted to focus on specific competencies. 

Development involves time as you grow for future opportunities, usually using existing skills as a foundation. Training and development are often mistaken for being the same, with many using both terms interchangeably. 

Training and development, sometimes called learning and development (L&D), serves as the main role of an HR representative, in fact the organization, as a whole, is responsible for providing mandated training hours to their employees. 

A structured training curriculum should be based on the job description listed and the goals of the employee. With this, they can use throughout the process for continuous learning as employees are encouraged to outside the work environment.

There’s so much more to learn when it comes to T&D and L&D! Learn how you can streamline your HR responsibilities with this eBook on Compliance and Competency Training Made Easy with LMS.


Stages of Training and Development

An organization can determine the success of its curriculum based on employee completion results and job competencies developed. There are 4 stages to a training program.

  • Assessment, determining whether training is required. You can then figure out the gaps that need to be filled.
  • Develop a training plan, with content and structural design in mind. Timelines, material and mediums should be determined. 
  • Implementation, running the employee through the program once development is complete.
  • Evaluation, determining employees success.

A T&D curriculum needs to correspond with employee contracts and agreements. There are many methods to supporting employee T&D such as allowing them to gain experience on the job. 

This could be through committees within the organization, conferences, on-site visits, job aids, or assisted learning. Change or expansion of an employee's job duties would be another method. 

Whether through mentoring, network or classroom seminars, workshops or courses, there are a multitude of ways for employee development depending on the needs of the organization.

Why Evaluate?

There are many benefits to a T&D program. Not only are they great for monitoring progress but they allow you to measure the return on investment. Some immediate benefits:

  • Employee accountability, for learning the given training curriculum
  • Ensure costs, time is money. Organizations need to know that the budget they are allocating for HR training and development is used productively
  • Analytics or feedback for employee and training supervisor 

Evaluations are commonly based off the Kirkpatrick model which consists of 4 levels: Sentiments of the employee and the received training, the level of comprehension of the content, the level of change in attitude and behaviour and the company's bottom line.

The whole point of evaluating your education and training programs is so you can make them even better. But your training program evaluations are likely having the opposite effect, and you’re not alone! Discover How Training Program Evaluation Is Hurting Your Talent Development in our Practical Guide to Evaluating Your Workplace Learning Effectiveness.

Learning Culture

Providing an environment where learning is encouraged in the workplace can reinforce employees' training and development. A learning culture; essential and can deem beneficial to an employer by saving costs and turnover and retaining top talent.


  • Employees will have more motivation to stay and willingness to participate actively
  • An increased innovation with satisfied engaged workers contributing to new ideas and aspirations 
  • Set standards for continuous improvement, can lead to business growth and development

Throughout the article, we discussed how effective and efficient HR training and development programs require an analysis of core competencies, human resources development and having a learning culture in the workplace. Now, do you have all you need to train and develop your employees?

Learning culture is important and managing an L&D team to support this culture is key. Our webinar will show you how you can ensure your teams stay aligned to foster and improve your workplace culture.

For more advice, best-practices, and how-to guides to creating, implementing, and improving your Learning and Development programs, we have all of these additional resources:

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