Need to Increase Staff Performance?The Next Big Thing is Capability Academy

Recent published research has identified that corporate universities are yesterday’s approach to training and education.  I explored some of their issues in the previous blog in this series. Capability academies are the approach that will appeal to most CEOs, as they do the most to drive business performance.

What is a capability academy?  There are several key attributes:

  • They focus on one key area or one major business goal.  For example, if your company strategy includes increasing your average gross margin, stockturn, availability on the shelf or similar metrics, then create a Buying and Merchandising Capability Academy.  If a key goal is to improve aspects of Store Operations, Customer Service or Omni-channel success, create a capability academy for store operations and omni-channel skills.
  • Capability academies include the training content targeted to educate your teams to improve the metrics and processes appropriate to your business plan or business goals.  The good ones focus on education and employee performance support.  This means that the investment in capability academies is more directly measurable.  The Board and the CEO can more easily see the return on their investment.
  • They differ significantly from corporate universities because they are not populated with large numbers of training classes covering every subject you might ever want to train people in.  
  • Capability academies are therefore smaller, cost less and companies already on this particular journey often have several academies, each focused on a specific subject and goal area.
  • With this approach, you do not have to boil the ocean.  You can start with one capability academy, say addressing supply chain as that’s the number one issue for many retailers today, and add others as priorities and budgets permit, and company priorities change.

How to Get Started?

There are a series of steps to get started:

  • Talk to business leaders to identify your company’s number one priority – or maybe just read the company business plan if you have one.
  • Agree with senior executives that this is the top priority.  As an example, let’s assume that the priority is to address performance challenges in buying and merchandising.
  • Create a diagram of all the career paths in buying and merchandising starting with induction of new employees to the company all the way up to senior management positions.  If you want to see an example to get the idea, click here
  • Then for each job role, take the job description if you have it and, if not, identify the key skills and knowledge that individuals in that job role need to achieve the company goals, or at least make their contribution to them.
  • Use this knowledge to create individual learning paths for each role.  You can see an example by clicking on any person icon in the example career paths map above.    Here’s one example for convenience. 
  • These examples are generic to many retailers, but you can create the variants you need to get the most perfect match you can. 
  • As well as retail, we also cover consumer goods manufacturing and companies that sell products or services to retailers and consumer goods companies, including technology companies, consultants, accountants and third party logistics firms.
  • If you want help with any of this, please feel free to contact us and we’ll be pleased to respond.

If you do visit these links, you will see the types of training we offer to help you create your capability academy. And remember, you don’t need to build it all at once.  You can start small, focused on one or a few job roles and build out from there.

We can help you populate your capability academy with our products, and we can add customised training to be a closer fit to your needs, if necessary.  Of course, you can add other people’s products too.  We can support you with classes to build initial knowledge and skills, micro-learning in the flow of work once your team has enough base knowledge, and with performance support tools to help people perform their roles better after they are trained.

If you have a corporate university already, you can even use our cloud based Learning Management System to pilot your first capability academy, before deciding whether to take it in house or leave it with us.  And if you use other companies’ content, which conforms to industry technical standards, we can host that for you too, so your pilot can reflect your specific situation. 

If you would like to see examples of our products in action, discuss our services in more depth or just get pointers on how to move forward, free of charge, either contact us via our web site, or call me directly in the UK or via our US phone number, or use my email address, all of which are given below.

Brian Hume

+44 1823 333469 (UK)
+011 770 756 8231 (US)

Posted by Brian Hume
12th January 2023

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