As they say, ‘use it or lose it’. 

Many studies show that the amount of information can deteriorate quite quickly after a training or learning event. Typically, around half of what was presented can be lost after just one hour! Eventually the retention sits around 20% after one month.  This is why competency management is so important.

Learning Retention Graph

Chart showing a sharp drop in retained knowledge in the first few days


If you think about this in the context of the workplace, once deemed competent, at a particular time, an employee will need to carry out the relevant task immediately and regularly to maintain competency.  However, in many cases it is not economically feasible to undertake a task frequently. For example, an offshore (sub-sea) crane operator should be competent in safely operating and overcoming mud suction forces but this task is rare in a day-to-day sense.  Competency in that task will degrade overtime and therefore refresher training is vital prior to a lift off the sea floor.  In this case, the most economical solution is to use a simulator.

This is where intelligent competency management comes into play.  By fully analysing individual tasks, task frequency, risks and employee characteristics, the management of workforce competency can become efficient and economical.  It is less obstructive to normal business operations and unimposing to the individual.  Too frequent and aimless competency verification can affect morale and employee trust.

The other aspect to consider in competency management is when there is a change in equipment or processes.  If we don’t have a systematic process to determine and fill the gaps in skills and knowledge when change occurs then a hole opens up in time and space, leading to potential catastrophe.  Part of our strategy when designing competency management and competency assurance systems is to ensure there is an integrated approach with Procurement, Operations, HSE and HR.

You won’t remember half of this in an hour!