Planning: How to make it a success

In our working group on rolling out badges and credentials in larger organisations, the group has developed a method that adapts the commonly used BANT framework for badges and credentials:

The first big questions to ask yourself are

  • Who are the most important stakeholders to align with internally both on decision making as well as roll-out?
  • What external stakeholders should you align with (vendors, partners, associations)?
  • What milestones can you define and when should they happen?
  • How can you justify potential costs with a positive ROI?
  • Can the initiative scale beyond your current interest and how?

The questions in detail are:

Need

  • What is your organizational strategy aligned with its vision and mission – and how do badges / credentials support it? (visibility, recognition, career opportunities etc.)
  • What is your #1 priority in your role (manager people & culture, CSR manager, L&D, workforce planning, lecturer, membership manager etc.) for this year or what keeps you awake at night? (attrition, employee/student/member engagement, reorganization, agility etc.) Why did you choose your job and what is your personal passion?
  • How do you currently support high engagement, retention, talent flows, onboarding etc. aka how do you avoid skill gaps, low engagement, undiscovered potential?
  • How important is the need for external recognition (e.g., stackable credentials leading to formal degrees) and how do you develop ties to accredited education providers / associations / institutes to align here?
  • What takes most of your time currently and how could you free time e.g., to run successful a badge / credentialing project?
  • Have you ever been awarded a badge or digital credential yourself or seen it in action somewhere? What were your experiences both good and bad? What would you make differently?

Authority

  • Can you specify your role within your organization and its relation to recognition (of skills, participation, activities, achievements)? What authority is inherent in your current role?
  • How does a decision-making process within your organization look like typically? Who is involved in taking decisions when it comes to badges and credentials? Who is signing contracts?
  • Is procurement/legal involved in decision-making and if yes, under which conditions? How did past processes go? Did they include a Request for Proposal from vendors and what other materials do they need? What role is DPO, PR, Marketing etc. playing?
  • Who can be your executive sponsor and what do they need to convince further stakeholders? Who are important influencers and champions in your own department and other departments?

Timeline

  • Have you implemented any similar initiative in the past (e.g., eLearning, training program, capability management, competence mapping)?
  • Do you have specific budget periods to bear in mind? What is your fiscal year?
  • When do you want to have an 80% (50%, 10%) usage of the badges / credentials within your organization / group / network?
  • Do you have accompanying projects planned and a timeline set for these (LMS, workforce planning tool, marketing / visibility etc.)?
  • What can delay or speed up your envisaged timeline?

Budget

  • Do you have your own budget or access to a budget from your department / company? If yes, what are the conditions for allocating a budget?
  • Are you measuring costs such as for attrition, employee engagement, issuing paper certificates etc.?
  • Have you experiences in creating Return on Invest (ROI) cases for decision makers inside your organization?
  • Can you extend a fixed budget for dynamic costs (per person, per credential etc.) and what are the conditions?
  • Do you plan to allocate budget also for external recognition of your badge / credentialing program (ICoBC quality review, ISO 29993:2017 etc.)
  • Is your budget linked to organizational profits or other KPIs (pulse surveys, contribution to strategic initiatives etc.)?