Capability Building: Definition, Benefits and Strategies to Build your Program

Learn about the benefits of a comprehensive capability building program and how to develop one.

Together Team

Published on 

September 6, 2023

Updated on 

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Think of a person constantly looking to improve themselves, learn new skills, and increase their knowledge. Now think of another person stuck in their ways.

Who do you think will be more successful in their professional and personal life?

The answer is obvious. The person on a constant journey of self improvement is more likely to succeed.

The same goes for organizations. When it comes to organizational growth and financial success, capability building plays a key role.

What is capability building?

Capability building, also known as capability development, is the systematic process of enhancing and expanding the skills, knowledge, and overall abilities of individuals or organizations. It involves acquiring new competencies, improving existing skills, and cultivating a mindset that embraces continuous learning and improvement. 

Capability building empowers individuals and organizations to perform tasks effectively, achieve objectives, adapt to changing circumstances, and ultimately, reach their full potential. It focuses on developing specific competencies but also on building a broader capacity for growth, innovation, and resilience.

Why is capability building important?

Capability building empowers individuals to continuously enhance their skills and acquire new ones, enabling them to excel in their careers and seize new opportunities. For organizations, capability building ensures a highly skilled and agile workforce and contributes to improved performance, innovation, and competitive advantage.

1. Facilitate better performance and productivity

Capability building equips employees with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles. As employees become more proficient, they can perform tasks more efficiently, leading to increased productivity. Improved performance across the organization translates into better outcomes, higher quality work, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Think of a customer service department where customer service representatives (CSRs) have a basic level of product knowledge and communication skills. Chances are that some members of the team struggle to resolve complex customer inquiries, resulting in long call durations initiated through the call center, frequent transfers to higher-tier support, and customer dissatisfaction.

A comprehensive capability-building program would enhance their product knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills. They will learn to handle a wide range of customer issues, from technical troubleshooting to billing inquiries. They will also be trained in effective communication techniques to empathize with frustrated customers and resolve issues more efficiently.

As a result, the entire team becomes more proficient in handling customer inquiries. Call durations will be reduced significantly, and the need for transferring calls to specialists will be decreased.

2. Enable faster innovation

A workforce with continually improving capabilities is more likely to innovate and adapt to changing circumstances. Employees who embrace continuous learning and skill development are better equipped to identify opportunities for improvement, propose innovative solutions, and pivot when faced with challenges. This culture of innovation and adaptability can be a significant competitive advantage for the organization.

Think of a software development team that has a fixed set of skills and relies on established coding practices and technologies for their projects. Without a capability building program, the team would miss out on the latest technologies and development practices. 

With a capability building program, they would explore and experiment with new tools, frameworks, and development approaches. Throw in a mentorship program where senior developers guide and inspire junior team members, and you will have a team that uses creative solutions and achieves faster development cycles.

3. Attract and retain talent

Capability building results in internal mobility. And, internal mobility results in organizations being able to retain employees up to 5.4 years, which is twice the average retention of other organizations.

Amazon loses $8 billion annually due to employee turnover. One of the biggest reasons for their high turnover is limited upward mobility for hourly workers. Even though they have training programs, they do not have processes in place to measure the impact on these programs.

Organizations that prioritize capability building — and have processes in place to measure the impact of their capability building initiatives — create an attractive environment for top talent. Skilled professionals are more likely to seek out employers who invest in their development. 

Moreover, when employees see opportunities for growth and skill enhancement within the organization, they are more inclined to stay, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs. This combination of attracting and retaining talent contributes to a more capable and competitive workforce.

4. Build a framework for succession planning

Capability building helps identify and nurture potential leaders and successors within the organization. By developing a talent pipeline through skill enhancement and professional growth programs, companies can ensure a smooth transition of key roles when the need arises. This reduces the risk of leadership gaps and promotes stability during leadership transitions.

In January 2023, Netflix announced Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters’ appointment as Co-CEOs of Netflix, with Reed Hastings transitioning to the role of Executive Chairman. This move exemplifies a strategic succession planning and capability building success story within the company. Reed Hastings, in his message, highlights the deliberate approach taken by Netflix's board to plan for leadership succession, a practice that is essential for any organization's long-term sustainability. 

In this case, the transition was initiated in July 2020. Over the course of the next three years, the leaders promoted to co-CEO and COO proved their mettle by skillfully managing the company through challenging times, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix’s continued success showcases how strategic capability building, mentorship, and leadership development paves the way for a seamless transition.

5. Align employees with organizational goals

Building and enhancing capabilities aligns the workforce with the organization's strategic objectives. When employees acquire skills and competencies that directly support the company's goals, it becomes easier to execute strategic initiatives. 

For example, an employee’s individual goals to improve sales techniques, negotiation skills, or market analysis will directly contribute to the organization's revenue growth objectives. When each member of the sales team achieves their targets, the organization will achieve its revenue goals.

Similarly, capability building for each department ensures that the workforce is equipped to contribute effectively to achieving long-term organizational objectives, driving the company's success.

5 strategies for effective capability building

Fostering a culture of capability building within an organization can be challenging due to several factors. Firstly, there may be resistance to change, with employees and management accustomed to existing workflows and reluctant to invest time in skill development. 

Additionally, the lack of a clear strategy and commitment from leadership can hinder efforts. Moreover, organizations may face resource constraints, both in terms of budget and time, which can limit the implementation of comprehensive capability-building programs. 

Overcoming these challenges requires a concerted effort to communicate the value of capability building, secure leadership buy-in, allocate sufficient resources, and establish a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

1. Identify organizational goals and skill gaps

By clearly defining the long-term objectives and strategic priorities, companies can identify the key capabilities required to achieve success. This provides a solid foundation for developing a capable workforce that can contribute to the company's growth and competitiveness.

Let’s say a mobile app provider wants to aim for improved performance and one of their goals is to go from a monolithic application to a microservices architecture. To build the capability to achieve this goal, they would need to:

  • See if their developers have the skills needed to build microservices apps
  • Introduce new training material that focuses on RESTful API design, Docker, and Kubernetes
  • Help their team members acquire microservices certifications  

While the example we just discussed focuses on technical skills, the same applies to soft skills. Create a skills inventory at your organization and see where your team is lacking. 

2. Design tailored training and development programs

Tailored programs ensure that employees receive training that is relevant to their roles, resulting in more effective skill enhancement. Once organizational goals and skill gaps are identified, the next step is designing customized training and development programs. These programs should be tailored to address specific competency needs within the workforce.

Personalized training programs result in higher employee engagement. The USA Today Network implemented personalized learning journeys for their employees, and saw a 112% increase in their engaged employees. Take a page out of their book and introduce personalized training to your onboarding and general training programs.

3. Provide learning resources and support

To facilitate continuous capability building, it is essential to offer a variety of learning resources and a supportive environment. More than 30% of small and medium sized companies prefer blended learning where they use in-person and virtual classroom training sessions, while larger companies mostly rely on online training.

For your capability building program, give your employees access to relevant books, articles, online courses, and learning platforms. Additionally, encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration among employees to foster a supportive atmosphere that enhances learning and skill development.

4. Encourage skill application through workshops

Learning is most effective when applied in practical work scenarios. Provide opportunities for employees to apply their newly acquired skills in real-world situations through workshops. To achieve this:

  • Create scenarios that require the application of newly acquired skills
  • Clearly define the objectives of each workshop, outlining what employees are expected to achieve or learn through the practical application of their skills
  • Structure the workshops to include hands-on activities, group discussions, problem-solving exercises, or role-playing scenarios
  • Provide guidance and support during the workshops through facilitators and mentors
  • Offer constructive feedback to participants as they navigate real-world scenarios, helping them refine their skills and approaches
  • Implement mechanisms to measure the impact of these workshops on skill application and performance improvement

By giving your employees an opportunity to apply their skills in a controlled environment, you help them bridge the gap between theory and practice.

5. Establish measurement and evaluation metrics

Track the progress of individual employees and assess the overall impact of your capability building program using the following metrics:

  • Skills acquisition — Measure the improvement in specific skills or competencies among employees before and after participating in the program. This could involve skills assessments, tests, or evaluations.
  • Engagement levels — Monitor the level of engagement and participation in the capability building activities, such as training sessions, workshops, and mentoring. Higher engagement often correlates with a successful program.
  • Completion rates — Track the percentage of employees who successfully complete the program or training modules. Low completion rates may indicate issues with program design or relevance.
  • Skill utilization — Assess whether employees are effectively applying the newly acquired skills and knowledge in their day-to-day work. High skill utilization indicates that the program aligns with organizational goals.
  • Goal achievement — Measure the extent to which individual and team goals align with organizational objectives. Successful alignment indicates that employees are contributing to the company's success.

These metrics will help you identify areas of success and areas that require improvement, allowing for data-driven adjustments to the capability building model.

Use mentoring software as a capability-building tool

Mentorship plays a key role in skill enhancement, professional development, and continuous learning. A mentorship software like Together empowers organizations and individuals workforce by setting the stage for capability building. Here’s how:

  1. Virtual connections: Together connects mentees with mentors from diverse locations, enabling mentees to access valuable guidance regardless of their physical location. This virtual connectivity helps mentees by giving them a global pool of experienced mentors to choose from.
  2. Customized pairing: Together leverages advanced algorithms to ensure that mentees are paired with mentors who align perfectly with their goals, skills, and interests. This customized pairing maximizes the effectiveness of the mentorship relationship. Mentees receive guidance that is tailored specifically to their needs, enhancing their ability to build the right capabilities.
  3. Structured learning: With Together, mentors can create well-defined learning paths for their mentees, complete with personalized assignments and resources. This structured approach ensures that mentees are guided systematically in their journey toward capability development.
  4. Progress tracking: Together offers robust progress tracking mechanisms. Mentees can track their development milestones, and mentors can provide data-driven insights for improvement. This data-centric approach enables mentees to gauge their progress objectively, making it easier to identify areas for growth and refinement.
  5. Flexible scheduling: Together facilitates interactions across different time zones, accommodating busy schedules and enabling mentors and mentees to connect as per their availability.

Together's commitment to mentorship as a tool for capability building aligns perfectly with the goals of organizations and individuals striving for continuous skill enhancement and professional competence. It's a powerful platform that fosters learning, development, and growth in an increasingly interconnected world.

Get started on your capability building journey

  • Capability building is crucial for both individuals and organizations. It leads to improved performance and productivity, fosters innovation, attracts and retains top talent, aids in succession planning, and aligns employees with organizational goals.
  • Successful capability building requires identifying organizational goals and skill gaps, designing tailored training programs, providing diverse learning resources and support, encouraging skill application through workshops, and establishing measurement and evaluation metrics.
  • Together facilitates skill enhancement and professional development by connecting mentees with mentors regardless of geographical limitations. It offers customized pairing, structured learning, progress tracking, and flexible scheduling, making it an effective tool for fostering capability development and continuous learning. 

Learn more about our mentorship platform today. Book a demo

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