Learning Paths Case Study: Agricultural Company

The company, delivering services for the agricultural industry, embarked on a project to design career paths for the company. The company wanted to define common avenues for moving within and across jobs to increase opportunities for internal movement in multiple directions.

The main aim of the Career Path Project at the company was to lay the foundation for integrated talent management with the following specific objectives:

  • To demonstrate to employees that they are being valued
  • In providing employees with a proper career path per job family, they will have a very good idea of how they can progress and develop within the company
  • Management would also like to use this ‘tool’ / project as an instrument to track and improve succession planning strategies

To support the Career Paths, it was decided to follow a combination approach where competencies and proficiency modeling was done. A competency model is the traditional way to identify what Skills, Knowledge and Attitudes are needed for effectiveness in the role. The downside of only using competencies is that it often misses how competencies work together in different combinations to produce a desired result. As Steven Rosenbaum, co-author of the book “Learning Paths” and author of the book “Up to Speed” argued “knowing the features and benefits of our products is part of how a salesperson makes a presentation, answers questions and even fills out an order. If you only use a competency model to support the career path, you could master all the competencies and not produce the desired results on the job. In other words, all the pieces don’t add up to the whole”.

For this reason, the company also included Proficiency Modeling as part of the career path project. Proficiency is both a measure of performance and a set of observable behaviors that describe what a proficient employee produces and how the employee must work to achieve those results.

It was also important to develop the Learning Paths for each role in the Career Map that was designed to act as the binding mechanism between roles. Without learning paths, a career map is just a sequential list of jobs and employees would not know how to develop themselves to move from one role to another (upwards, sideways or down). As part of the pilot, the HR function was selected, and the following components developed:

  • The HR Career Map
  • The Behavioural- and Functional Competencies for HR
  • The Proficiency Model per role
  • The Learning Path at a Glance and the detailed Learning Path per role

The company used these deliverables to:

  • Build the Employment Value Proposition for attraction and retention
  • Career Management
  • Recruitment
  • On-Boarding
  • Learning and Development planning
  • Proficiency Audits
  • Succession Management
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