Developing SME Certification Course

Has anyone developed a in-house SME Certification? I've been tasked with creating one for our call center teams. They want one SME on each team that is versed on a specific topic (legal ). They are trying to reduce the number of legal escalations forms going to the legal depart. Currently, they do not have a structured cert. program, but they do have very basic 2 hour training for selected employees. However, the incorrect submission #'s are very high (this is why they want a structured cert). The only incentive to an employee is more knowledge. I've met with several project owners/current SME to get their "wish list", but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get started, for example: What do we call the program (creative acronym besides SME), do we grandfather existing employees that do this now, how to go about implementing the program / marketing ideas, what do we give to acknowledge (paper cert), how do we maintain with attrition, conducting on-going training for new employees selected, etc. Any suggestions, ideas, words of wisdom would be so helpful!

1 Reply
Rita Garcia

Hi Rebecca,

That is quite a project you have going on! I've never developed an in-house certification, but I've implemented several training programs in change management projects that have some things in common with yours.

First of all, you will need all the buy-in you can get. Senior management, teams leads, HR are all roles that should be supporting that certification, especially if the only incentive is more knowledge. Which is good, but if it means a lot of work/responsibilities for the future SMEs, well...you can imagine how motivated they will feel. If senior management believes in it and shows it, they will too, more easily. It will help dissipate the feeling of "why am I doing this if management doesn't care?".

I would also implement a good marketing strategy, that makes that certification desirable and recognises SMEs that achieve it. Give them the spotlight when they complete the certification, communicate their achievements to the whole company, and give acknowledgement from the top. If it comes from senior management it will be a lot more relevant.

I also believe that you should grandfather existing employees. Most likely they are very knowledgeable of the topic, and probably seen as a go-to person? Their support can be really valuable.

When I have these projects, I do spend some time planning the training and communication/marketing approach. It helps in avoiding simple but costly mistakes in the long run.

Also, in this type of training (legal and so on...) training sessions alone don't always solve the problem. Do the teams have a good knowledge base to go to that support their work/performance? I'm asking because I've seen that happening a lot. Just some food for thought...

Hope my reply helps you. If you have any more questions that I could help you with, let me know.

Rita.