Certifications – creating a valuable asset for your company

Feb 09 2021 · Cinode, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Recruitment

Written by: Mattias Loxi

Certification of your employees and company can be a valuable asset that paves the way for new customers, new assignments, and higher prices/rates. At the same time, certifications also entail an investment. Is it worth investing time and other resources in certifications? And what does your certification strategy, budget, and plan look like?

What is certification?

Certification is a process resulting in a certificate that attests to an individual or an organization that has successfully completed an approved standardized evaluation or assessment. Certification is usually performed by a third party and results in the issue of a written attestation that the content of the document matches reality.

A certification often applies for a set period of validity and must be monitored, audited, and renewed. A certification can apply locally or globally.

Why invest in certifications?

Certifications can generate major values, not only for your company but also for the individuals concerned. By offering certification opportunities to your employees, you can become a more attractive employer and ensure lower staff turnover.

Regardless of whether you are a consulting firm or a product company, certifications could be crucial for your ability to access certain types of customers and assignments that might otherwise be out of reach. Certifications could be a specified customer requirement or simply an additional level of security for the customer.

If you are a consultant, you want to be able to demonstrate your skills and knowledge and thus establish confidence in your ability to perform the assignment for which you are applying. The more “proof” you have that you are the right person for the assignment in question, the greater your chances of being hired. In this context, a relevant certification can be a vital piece of the puzzle that enhances your chances of winning assignments while also increasing your market value.

From a marketing perspective, relevant certifications are important assets. If, for example, you have the greatest number of certifications in Sweden within a certain niche, this creates a clear profile of expertise for your company and often results in more customers and the ability to attract new talent. It can also lead to positive media publicity.

However, certification can be an expensive and time-consuming process. It is therefore important to identify the certifications that are important to your target group and will generate value in return for your investment.

Examples of different types of certification

ISO certification – ISO is the International Organization for Standardization and primarily works with standards at a company level.

Role certification – there are many different types of certification at an individual level that are related to various roles and provide additional security for the customer. Examples include certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) or a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Method/software certification – if your customer works with a specific method, certification can provide proof that an employee possesses the relevant skills and knowledge within such a method. This could relate to anything from Scrum to ITIL. And if you work with a specific software program, certification can provide proof of an employee’s expertise in relation to such software. For example Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Fundamentals or Cisco CCNP Security.

Partnership certification – if your company becomes a certified partner of Microsoft, Cisco, AWS, etc. this opens the door to new sales channels and new sources of revenue. Such certification may also involve different levels that can be achieved, e.g. if a certain number of individuals in your organization possess a certain certification.

Strategy, planning and monitoring

Start by defining an overall certification strategy for your company. Ask yourself relevant questions, such as:

  • What market position do we wish to achieve?
  • What types of certification are requested by our customers and/or required in order to reach our desired market position?
  • Are there new customer groups or segments we wish to target in the future and do such groups/segments require special types of certification?
  • What types of talent do we want to attract, what skills and knowledge do we require in our organization now and in the future, and how can we support our employees in their personal development?
  • What are our certification goals and budget? You need to allocate sufficient resources in terms of time and money.
  • What are the effects of achieving our certification goals? For example:
    • New customers
    • Higher hourly rates
    • Marketing
    • Becoming a more attractive employer
  • What certifications do we currently have? In the same way that skills inventory is crucial for your ability to work strategically and achieve rapid growth, you also need to stay on top of the certifications you currently have so that you can make the right decisions moving forward.
  • When do our certifications need to be renewed, and how? Maintain an overall plan for the certifications that are due to expire in the near future.
  • Set a schedule for your certification activities during the year.
  • Naturally, it is important to ensure that someone within your organization is allocated overall responsibility for your company’s work involving certifications.

Support your certification strategy with Cinode Skills.

Mattias Loxi - cofounder of Cinode. Marketing/Sales.

Mattias is one of the founders of Cinode. Now in Marketing and Sales - runs the most popular blog and newsletter "Veckans konsultnyheter" about the Swedish consulting Industry. Also a lot of Speaking engagement. Add him in Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattiasloxi/

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