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Measuring Competency One Badge at a Time?

By February 3, 2012 May 6th, 2020 No Comments

The following is an excerpt from an article by Lin Grensing-Pophal

Some organisations are talking about awarding badges to demonstrate skills, but the practice is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, HR leaders should make sure hiring managers are aware of this potential new trend. HR Managers may also want to consider using badges in their employee-development activities.

As children, earning badges through organisations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts showed tangible evidence of proficiency in activities as far-ranging as archery, map reading, cookery, bird watching and wilderness survival. (This is where the term “Brownie Points” originates).

Today, badges are again becoming sought-after signs of competency — but for adults.

Badges — a New Focus. Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y., says the idea of badges is “an interesting concept,”  for various types of certifications for continuing education that have existed for a long time. At Ithaca, for instance, says Gayeski, who consults on training issues through her firm, Gayeski Analytics, “We offer an online certificate in strategic communication management — and one might just as easily call it a badge.”

“I think ‘badge’ maybe has a more contemporary sound to it,” she says. “The idea of a badge is kind of a cool thing.” It is also possible, she says, that badges may reflect a more narrowly focused accomplishment than certificates — that it will likely be “more granular” than other forms of certification.

Ann Latham, president of Uncommon Clarity, Inc., an Easthampton, Mass.-based consulting firm, says there is an increasing interest in what badges represent. “People are looking for certification,” she says. “And people are granting certificates”.

From an Employee Development Perspective. One area where badges may benefit organisations, Carney says, is employee development. Companies may wish to issue badges, for example, once an employee masters a particular piece of equipment or for successfully completing training on leadership skills.

Ryan says there are also opportunities for organisations to leverage the concept of badges to give employees a “pathway to improve, learn and grow.”

“The badge concept is definitely picking up in a virtual world,” he says. “One of the things we see is that, when an employee becomes certified or earns some other type of acknowledgement of having a proficiency in a particular area, the concept of attaching a badge to their profile or email signature is something that is catching on.”

In addition to offering badges to employees for the completion of certain types of learning activities or learning specific computer skills, for instance – Ryan says badges could also be used to encourage busy employees to step up to participate in teams and other collaborative projects.

“Giving badges to people who have come to the table to offer their experience and insight, and to exchange ideas in the context of a particular project is a good way to not only get people to participate and do more, but to also promote an environment of cross-functional learning.”

At Brownie Points we can see significant merit in the above comments, and would advocate that the implementation of this concept has its place in business. We are not recommending that your staff wear badges as they do in Mc Donald’s, but used in conjunction with a reward and recognition program such as Brownie Points the benefits to staff and employers become clear.

To learn how Brownie Points could help develop your staff potential call us today on 03 9909 7411 or email us at

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