Competency management is a term that dominates the rail industry, but what does it truly mean and how can the industry harness its benefits to improve efficiencies across the network? This was something that Phil Hibberd, Engagement Manager at rail membership body RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) and James Fox, Commercial Director and Co-Founder at 3Squared, delved into during our second Great British RailSmart Day online event, and more.
In its truest essence, competency management is the process of defining the competency needs within an organisation, assessing employees, identifying gaps, and developing capabilities. Competency management systems (CMSs) provide a framework and process through which an organisation manages health and safety in the workplace, by ensuring that the requisite number of staff possess, maintain, and review the necessary competencies at all levels.
CMSs have significantly improved since 1988, after the Clapham rail disaster which sadly resulted in 35 fatalities. The need for increased safety measures became clear after the incident, with the industry uniting to invest time and resource into enhancing CMSs across the network.
Innovation and technology have a key role to play in the overall improvement of CMS systems, with digital CMSs proactively measuring people’s competencies across health and safety, and organisational efficiencies. This is something that 3Squared have been working hard on over the years to implement across their tools and technologies, which became a key focus for the second half of the event.
RailSmart EDS (Employee Development System) is harnessed by a range of organisations across the industry, to improve efficiencies across their employee management systems. This was a key focus in session two of the event, with James Fox, Kathryn Beaty (Onboarding and Engagement Manager), and Becky Parry (Client Services Manager), leading the audience through an in-depth exploration of the software.
As explored above, competency management is a key consideration across all businesses, particularly ones with salient safety concerns. EDS allows managers to proactively oversee competency and safety, whilst alleviating administrative burdens and enabling managers to spend valuable time with their teams rather than in the office.
EDS was initially developed in 2014 in collaboration with Southwest Trains and East Midlands Trains. This unique collaborative approach makes EDS the only solution built from scratch alongside members of the rail industry, ensuring the system is highly effective particularly in this context. This smart solution has revolutionised the way companies implement competency management, especially for companies who previously used inefficient paper-based systems.
EDS can be used both online via desktop and laptop, as well as on a tablet allowing for greater mobility and is configurable based on the needs of its users. The software can store a wide range of essential information, from assessment results to key medical data, to support plans and recruitment information.
When it comes to assessments, managers can easily monitor employees’ statuses using the Red-Amber-Green (RAG) system which highlights when an assessment needs to be completed. You can create active competency cycles tailored to your company’s needs which ensures you will always stay in control of competency and safety across your organisation.
It allows you to continuously monitor and improve employee competency in a structured way and through interactions, including assessments, observation, classroom-based training, and eLearning. EDS is constantly evolving through its collaborative approach with its users, taking on continuous feedback to ensure the software constantly improves.
Thanks to those who attended our event, and we hope you found it an enjoyable day. If you would be interested in watching the recorded version of the event or learning more about how RailSmart can improve your operations, then get in touch with a member of the team today.