Competency development

Competency development involves more than courses and training programmes. New knowledge, skills or approaches can be developed in many ways.


The competency development objectives should determine the method

In the agreement on competency development in state sector workplaces, competency development is defined as: Developing new knowledge, skills and/or approaches. New knowledge, skills or approaches can be developed in many ways.

Competency development initiatives have often been synonymous with external courses or further education programmes. In AU’s staff policy, however, competency development is described and recognised as much more than that. This means that when planning competency development initiatives, you should always consider what would be the best and most resource-efficient way to reach the desired objective. 

Internal sources of learning

  • Internal networks
  • Peer-to-peer training
  • Coaching
  • Feedback
  • Group development dialogues (GDD/TDD)
  • Mentorship programmes
  • Learning from new employees
  • Job swaps, visits, exchange
  • New tasks
  • Project/team organisation
  • Specialisation
  • Reflection
  • Training
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Better meetings through evaluation

External sources of learning

  • Courses
  • Continuing education
  • E-learning
  • Virtual meeting forums
  • Networks
  • Experience exchange groups
  • Conferences
  • After-work meetings

Competency development methods

It is also considered competency development when research group leaders or administrative managers give employees new assignments, feedback on assignments or organise the employees in teams or project groups.

Competency development covers all activities that challenge and expand the individual employee’s knowledge, qualifications and skills in relation to present and future challenges. Therefore, you should always consider what would be the best competency development method for the need in question.

Would it, for example, be possible for the employee to get the required qualifications through:

  • job swap, job rotation or posting
  • mentorship programme, trainee programme or peer-to-peer training
  • learning environments (e.g. how you organise work in projects or teams, how you share knowledge, give feedback and use coaching)
  • conferences, seminars etc.