At Teamatics, we are very focused on skills. They are central to our vision of developing happier, more engaged team members that comprise and create successful organizations.
We have been working on a significant initiative to better inform skill proficiencies through the myriad of assessments, tests, certification exams, etc. that so many of our clients utilize today, and which often disappear as a PDF into the depths of an inbox somewhere. As we've discussed this with our customers, we have repeatedly heard that the capturing of certifications has the most immediate value and impact.
These conversations have reminded me of the many ways that certifications impacted the IT organization I ran for over two decades. There are a variety of reasons certifications are critical to various organizations and their team members.
Perceived Proficiency. I've heard from many employees over my career that they believed they were stronger in a skill than another colleague who was certified. They simply didn't feel certifications mattered. While I agree that the skill itself is more important than the piece of paper, the certification does create a perception of proficiency. A certification serves both the employee and the organization in several ways.
To attract clients, companies must demonstrate expertise in their domain. Certifications from governing bodies or vendors are proof that companies have gone through the effort to educate their team in a particular skill.
Until an employee has the opportunity to prove expertise, employers, colleagues, and clients see certifications as a representation of that expertise. A certification can significantly improve an employee's success concerning getting hired, job retention, and career trajectory.
Actual Proficiency. Although I believe real expertise is more important than the piece of paper that says "you are certified," the process of obtaining that certification is still entirely relevant.
While the difficulty to obtain certifications varies greatly from one governing party to the next, the process of preparing to take an exam is educational in itself. I've seen preparation for some more difficult certifications require months of training and education. This effort helps develop real expertise.
There are several possible methods to ascertain any individual's proficiency in a given skill, but often a 3rd party assessment creates a consistent, objective approach that an organization needs to establish relative proficiency from employee to employee. Many organizations utilize certifications as a requirement for specific roles in an organization. It is a clear way to set the bar.
Vendor Relationships. In addition to informing skills, many organizations rely very heavily on vendor relationships. Vendors often use certifications to identify an organization's expe rtise and commitment, in much the same way an organization uses them to identify the same in an employee.
Vendors may require certifications to be able to resell or service products they produce. Organizations rely on these lines of business for their success and therefore must manage certifications on a per-vendor basis.
Many vendors have partner levels that allow partner organizations to receive referrals, access commissions, receive market development funds (MDF) and more. Those partner levels typically require specific certifications to be held by the partner organization.
There is a clear shift in focus from certifications and degrees toward actual skills, and we are thrilled to see it, but certifications still absolutely matter. Consider how certifications can be a win/win for both your organization and your team members, helping grow the skills you need to differentiate your business from your competitors and the skills your team members need to build their careers.