Retain your top talent

Retain your top talent

People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. This past spring, Travis Bradberry published an insightful article in Business Insider (April 28, 2017) suggesting nine reasons people quit their jobs. offers a solution using online professional portfolios. The professional portfolios address seven of the nine reasons people quit. The result? You retain your top talent.

#2 Managers don’t recognize contributions and reward good work
Recognize contributions and reward good work using

You will never miss another important contribution. Employees will curate evidence of their work as it happens and these artefacts will be available for your review when you have time. If there are several levels of management in your organization, middle management can review portfolios and strategically share artefacts with senior management when important. helps each employee build an evidence-based professional portfolio against criteria that you define as important. This ensures time spent on portfolio review is time well spent.

#3 Managers don’t care
Demonstrate care for your employees using

Inviting employees to share professional portfolios with you will demonstrate that you care. Reviewing these carefully curated portfolios and providing meaningful comments will show that you care. Embedding a portfolio review component in your rewards and recognition program will show that you care. scales easily to empower every individual in an organization. Ensure your care runs deep and you will retain your best and find the diamonds in the rough!

#5 Managers hire and promote the wrong people
Hire and promote the right people using

Carefully curated portfolios full of rich evidence will ensure you don’t miss the quiet top performer. Additionally, you can post laddered portfolio templates and search/filter/sort to know who is interested in position vacancies and pathways within your organization. Invite applicants to submit portfolios as a portion of their application for jobs. Make it optional. Then, let the effort and evidence speak for itself. Mine for stars!

#6 Managers don’t let people pursue their passions
Let people pursue their passions using recognizes that people are more than their jobs. Let them show you how they are exceeding expectations in their role at work and as a community volunteer. Passion and purpose are aligned within Employees can build evidence against several competency profiles at once and use journals, projects and the competency marketplace to share diverse passions.

#7 Managers fail to develop people’s skills
Develop people’s skills using

It is no longer important for an employee to access $2500 to attend a remote conference to hear your sector’s greatest influencers. This speaker is on YouTube. Define what’s important using portfolio templates and then invite all employees to grow their skills. Enable job share, job shadowing, and mentorship to complement technology-mediated learning. Require evidence of new learning using portfolios. And for the first time, defend the ROI of your people development budget with real evidence.

#8 Managers fail to engage people’s creativity
Engage people’s creativity using

Define goals using portfolios and let people show you the creative ways they will achieve these goals. See evidence of creativity in photos, videos, and pdf files. If people know where they are going; if they understand the goals and desired outcomes; and, if they are given the freedom to achieve the end goals in the best ways they see fit – creativity will happen organically and will blow your mind!

#9 Managers fail to challenge people intellectually
Challenge people intellectually using

Post a problem in the form of a portfolio template and invite people to share solutions. Search/filter/sort for key terms or key outcomes. Tap into the intellectual genius in your organization with technology that scales easily to give everyone a voice.

The Stages of Learning: How You Slowly Become More Competent at New Skills

The Stages of Learning: How You Slowly Become More Competent at New Skills

When you learn a new skill, the beginning tends to be the most frustrating part. Often, you’re not sure what you should be doing exactly, or how you should be doing it. This applies to everything from starting a new sport, to trying to speak a foreign language.

Luckily, the process of becoming better at new skills is relatively predictable, and can be broken down into different stages. Once you understand how it works, you will understand why the beginning is hard, and you will be able to identify your ‘position’ in the learning process. Overall, this will make you more aware of your abilities and more conscious of your learning, which will help you learn new skills better and with more motivation.

The levels of competence

  • Unconscious incompetence- in the beginning, you don’t know what you don’t know. You’re not entirely aware of what the new skill entails or what your goals should be. You make mistakes without realizing that you’re making them.
  • Conscious incompetence- at this stage, you know you’re still making a lot of mistakes, but you’re now at least aware that you’re making them. You still don’t know a lot, but you can recognize what you need to learn in order to improve.
  • Conscious competence- if you’re at this level, it means that you’re relatively proficient in the skill, so that you have a good understanding of it, and you make only a small amount of mistakes. However, performing at a high level still requires a significant effort on your part.
  • Unconscious competence- at this point, you are so well-practiced in the skill that you can perform at a high level with relatively little effort. For you, the necessary actions are now mostly instinctual and automatic.

These stages are often mentioned in discussions of learning theorySome researchers also propose a fifth stage, called “unconscious supercompetence”, which is similar to “unconscious competence”, but at a higher and more effortless level. However, because this stage is less clearly defined, it is less commonly referenced in literature. In reality, whether or not this distinction exists isn’t truly crucial, since it only matters if you’re at the highest level of proficiency anyway.

Historical note: this theory is often attributed to Abraham Maslow, who also developed the hierarchy of needs. However, it’s not clear whether the theory actually originated with him, and there are disputes regarding who came up with it first. It’s entirely possible that this is because several people came up with similar conceptualizations of the model independently from one another. In any case, this doesn’t matter too much, as it doesn’t have any effect on how the theory is applied today.


Applying this in your learning

This framework is not intended as an absolute, 100% accurate psychological model. Instead,  it’s meant to give you a rough idea of the stages of competence that you will go through as you learn new skills. Use it to recognize where you are in the learning process, and how you’re advancing.

Keep in mind that you are likely going to fluctuate between the different levels, or have certain subsets of the skill at one level, while other subsets will be at different level. For example, if you’re learning a new language, it’s possible that your reading will be at a higher level than your writing, or that you’ll be better at understanding what other people say than at speaking yourself.

The main takeaway is this: feeling that you have no idea what you’re doing in the beginning is perfectly fine. When you eventually start realizing that you’re making tons of mistakes, that’s not a bad thing either. Instead, these are both predictable and necessary stages of learning, that you go through as you slowly improve.


Summary and conclusions

  • When learning a new skill, you advance through several stages of competence.
  • You will start at unconscious incompetence, advance to conscious incompetence, followed by conscious competence, and finally unconscious competence.
  • Your abilities might fluctuate a bit as you learn, and it’s natural for different subskills to be at different levels.
  • If you’re feeling helpless when you start learning a new skills, don’t worry; it’s a natural part of the learning process.



Carefully planned pre-service learning and then truncated, contrived professional learning?

Carefully planned pre-service learning and then truncated, contrived professional learning?

Learning is learning. At its core, learning is about identifying a gap in knowledge, skills or abilities and devising a plan to fill that gap. This usually involves a combination of reading, writing, listening, and practical application. Learning something new at age five is similar to learning something new at age fifty-five. The context may be vastly different, but the process of acquiring new skills, knowledge, and abilities is the same.

So why do learning opportunities for adult professionals appear truncated and contrived? Why does learning within corporations and organizations look so different than learning within post-secondary institutions?

Most professions define a set of standards for new entrants and work closely with post-secondary institutions to ensure graduates meet these standards. Learning outcomes within courses are aligned with professional standards and post-secondary institutions are accredited in order to deliver training. But, once a graduate enters a profession, learning appears to become an afterthought.

In the workforce learning is highly valued but poorly maintained. Many professionals have a “continuing education requirement” for licence. They have to attend x-number of seminars each year or a number of carefully crafted pro-d retreats. The trouble is: these professionals are never asked to defend their learning or demonstrate how they are integrating their learning into everyday practice. The demonstration of learning that was once required in post-secondary is no longer required in profession. Millions of dollars are invested every year and people are rarely asked to demonstrate how they are using the outcomes of their courses to advance the organization.

Employees on an obligatory learning journey end up going through the motions. They register in courses, submit receipts, put on a nametag and call it done. Professional learning becomes a box to check or an annoying requirement to complete. There is no link between corporate goals, the learning activity, and how the employee is being measured. In education, we call this misalignment.

Corporations and organizations who approach learning in this way will quickly become obsolete. The nature of work and the knowledge economy requires continuous learning in order to stay competitive. Luckily there is an inexpensive, scalable way to align learning and engage the most valuable asset of an organization. The solution is portfolio driven professional development using