In business, we often hear the terms ‘USP’ (Unique Selling Point) or the ‘differentiator’. These two terms (and similar), are used to describe the competitive advantage of one organisation over others.
Organisations will focus on the product (e.g. performance, quality, cost) or customer service (e.g. excellence, speed) to gain the advantage in the market place. Organisations will also invest heavily in state-of-the art technology, new systems and equipment to gain a lead. However, the main ‘USP’ or ‘differentiator’ is the quality of the people in the organisation. For example, you could have the best car in the world – but if the driver isn’t competent to drive it – then it becomes useless.
So, the quality of the people and their development is vitally important for organisational competiveness, growth and sustainability. But how can you be assured that the training and development in an organisation is in line with business strategy, fits with organisational goals, is effective, as well as being cost efficient?
There is now an international standard, the ‘ISO 29990:2010 – Learning Services for Non-formal Education and Training’, which has been developed to satisfy this, as well as other benefits, for the training and development function in the organisation. As an ISO standard, it fits within the ISO: 9000 quality assurance group, justifying your commitment to quality assured provision of services, meeting stringent assurance assessment.
Having the standard ensures that your training and development function operate with defined leadership, approved management processes, as well as add value to the organisation development through assured policies and procedures. It also serves well in ensuring that engagement with external providers meets exact quality procedures and qualifying approved providers/suppliers lists. This will provide advantages to your overall Quality Assurance systems, aligning with your Procurement/Commercial and Finance departments’ policies and procedures.
Gaining the international standard demonstrates to the Board, Shareholders, Employees and external Clients that you are committed to developing your people to assured standards.