The Move Towards Competency-Based Development for IT Professionals

Audience people sitting rear at the business seminar on the screen in Conference Hall.

Master your IT Skills

In the digital age, it is people that matter more than ever. A recent study by PWC shows that 77% of CEOs see the availability of key skills as the biggest business threat. The challenge isn’t necessarily finding new and innovative ways of accessing the talent market; it’s about using the full range of HR expertise and tools to identify skills gaps, anticipate needs, spot potential and build the workforce for the future (PWC CEO Survey 2017).

Organizations are looking for ways to assess their skills. For IT professionals specifically, more and more organizations are turning to the e-Competence Framework (eCF). This is an overview of 40 IT-related competences that are important in this digital age. Organizations are increasingly turning to the e-Competence framework for support and as a result there are many experiences across different organizations of implementing and using it. To share these experiences and today’s best practices, EXIN organized an afternoon for IT and HR managers. The event took place at the EXIN headquarters and the afternoon was filled with inspiring presentations from Dr. Ing. Pascal Ravesteyn (Hogeschool Utrecht), Yvo Verbeek (Achmea Academy), Bart van der Linden (Nyenrode Business University), and Anouk Willems (EXIN).

The e-Competency based approach

Anouk Willems started with a demonstration of how you can use the e-competency based approach to gain insights into the competency gap(s) of an organization. She shared a simple model to visualize how this approach works. This approach is based on the 3 pillars (see below) e-competences, role, and learning. It measures and gives insights into the skills gap of a professional, team, department or the whole organization. In order to meet business needs for the assessment of skills and competence gap analyses, EXIN developed e-CF® NEXT. This SaaS solution enables managers, consultants, and sourcing specialist to assess IT-related competences.


Adoption of e-Competences in organizations

Next up to inspire the audience was Dr. Ing. Pascal Ravesteyn, a professor at HU University. His presentation was about the theory behind competency-based development and the e-Competence Framework (eCF). He focused on the future of the IT job market. The e-skills demand and supply gap is growing year on year. Using statistics from empirica he illustrated that by 2020 there will be an IT job gap of 825.000 in Europe. Later on in his presentation, he told the audience about qualitative research he is undertaking in cooperation with Henk Plessius. The subject of this research is ‘to what extent are organizations ready for use of IT competence frameworks?’. They collected data by interviewing 13 organizations that were in the process of implementing a competency framework or had just finished this implementation. The most significant thing they learning from the interviews were that communication is an important factor while implementing a competency-based approach. Another discovery was how important it is for companies to measure current competences for roles but also the required competences for the future. They also found that organizations search for ways to make a generic framework specific for their organization. Lastly, organizations would like IT skills and soft skills to be added to the e-Competence framework to make it more practically relevant.


Competences & IT outsourcing 

After the afternoon coffee break it was time for Bart van der Linden (Nyenrode) to speak. His goal is to improve alignment and collaboration between organizations in outsourcing processes. During the presentation he talked about his research: how the e-Competence Framework can be used to identify the competences and type of roles that are needed at the outsourcing company. The research is divided into 2 parts: (1) a questionnaire about e-Competence Framework and outsourcing and (2) workshops to identify which competences are required for IT roles. The biggest takeaway from his study was that there is still a need to keep certain competences in-house even when all activities are outsourced. Another insight he shared was that organizations see a difference in the level of competences required by the outsourcing company and service provider to have a successful collaboration.


Moving towards competency-based talent development 

The closing speaker was Yvo Verbeek from the Achmea Academy. Yvo shared best practices of how Achmea adopted the e-Competence Framework (eCF) and why they use e-competence analytics. Achmea’s mission is to become a learning organization by implementing a competency-based talent development approach. During the presentation he explained how they gained meaningful insights and how Achmea was able to make data-driven decisions to align training and education programs by identifying their skills gaps. Currently, Achmea is assessing the competences of 2000 IT professionals to personalize their learning paths and help them to develop the right skill sets. This will enable them to perform better in their current role or prepare them for the next. He closed his presentation with implementation tips such as the best approach for rolling out in phases and how to present insights across different teams and divisions.