22 JUNE, 2023


In our recent webinar “Capability Academies: Then and Now” our panel (Glenn Campbell, CEO of DeakinCo.; Asheley Jones, Principal Assessor, DeakinCo. and Shelley Nolan, Director of Human Resources, Nutrien Ag Solutions) sat down with Alicia Barry (Business and Finance Presenter, ABC News) to discuss ​​the importance of capability academies and capability frameworks for organisations to strategically build business crucial capabilities needed to drive growth and success.

What are capability academies?

In the webinar, Glenn Campbell explains that “a capability academy sits within the organisation. The way the academy is structured is dependent on what the organisation needs. It might be functional, it might be cross-functional, it might be about digital, it might be about graduates. It’s about whatever strategic points that are really critical for the business to grow their capability to drive success”.

Ultimately, a capability academy is ”contextualised to your business  – it’s not generic.”

Benefits of capability academies

  • Capability academies offer clear career progression pathways, allowing employees to see a direct trajectory for their growth within the company.
  • Capability academies contribute to an improved employee experience, empowering employees and instilling a sense of value as they actively contribute to the organisation. “If you look at a company like Nutrien Ag, where employees can see that their future and their skill capability uplift is being invested in, then it certainly makes for a much happier workforce” – Asheley Jones.
  • Capability academies serve as a retention strategy, enhancing employee satisfaction and reducing turnover rates.
  • Capability academies future-proof organisations by ensuring that employees are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to changing industry demands. “It’s really a practical application to best suit business transformation in 4.0” – Asheley Jones.
  • Capability academies allow greater ownership of learning and development, as organisations can curate relevant content and identify specialist suppliers, therefore enhancing the effectiveness of learning initiatives. “It’s an enabler to bring together both internal and external sources of information that’s relevant from a strategic capability development perspective for organisations.” – Glenn Campbell.
  • Capability academies play a vital role in identifying critical areas of development within an organisation by providing organisations with the tools necessary to pinpoint skill gaps and tailor learning programs accordingly.

What are capability development frameworks?

Glenn Campbell explains that capability development frameworks are the “architectural construct that we design to identify the skills and behaviours we need as an organisation to be quite productive. It’s not every skill or every capability but it’s those that are most essential”.

To put it simply, capability development frameworks are a way to “capture and measure skills” that need to be invested in to drive the business forward.

Benefits of capability development frameworks

  • Capability frameworks establish a common language of robust and measurable skill criteria. This standardised terminology allows for clear communication and assessment of employees’ capabilities, which can be particularly useful for organisations undergoing mergers and acquisitions. “You need a measurement in order to holistically capture your development requirements” – Asheley Jones
  • Capability development frameworks provide flexibility as they can be tailored to suit the specific needs and goals of an organisation. “It’s about looking at those particular levels of mastery, aligning it to each business strategy, pillars, visions, and the ways in which they want to futureproof themselves for skills going forward.” – Asheley Jones
  • Capability development frameworks serve as a guiding tool for organisations, supporting business strategy and execution as they provide a foundation for the entire capability development process. In the words of Shelley Nolan, “it directs our thinking”.

Best practices to develop capability frameworks

All of the guests in the webinar emphasised how crucial it is to have sponsorship at a senior level to enable the seamless integration of the framework into the organisation’s structure and culture. This ensures that the framework receives the necessary support and resources to be effectively implemented.

To ensure the success of the framework, Asheley says, “you need a measurement in order to be able to holistically capture your learning and development requirements, the types of skills that you need within your business to grow ”. Work-based projects or outcome-based assessment models, such as micro-credentials, can be integrated to provide tangible measures of success and progress.

As discussed by Asheley Jones in the webinar, “one of the strengths of an academy is bringing in subject matter experts that you require across different verticals”, allowing organisations to “bring in the right people at the right time”. An SME is able to provide their expertise and draw out strategy from various stakeholders, contributing to the development of a comprehensive framework that addresses the specific needs of the organisation.

An example of this collaborative approach is the partnership between DeakinCo. and Nutrien Ag Solutions. Nutrien Ag Solutions used their framework to pinpoint what they needed to invest behind to deliver different types of learning and development that aligned with their company vision. This allowed them to find proactive strategies to develop internally by investing in leadership.

Scaling capability frameworks globally

Scaling capability frameworks globally present organisations with an opportunity to cultivate a consistent and aligned approach to talent development across different regions and cultures.

In case of the partnership between Nutrien Ag Solutions and DeakinCo., the development of a capability development framework for Nutrien Ag enabled the organisation to more effectively move and harness talent on a global scale. Acting as the foundation for the entire business, the framework is flexible enough to strike a balance between standardisation and localisation, which is vital for a multinational organisation like Nutrien Ag with around 24,000 employees. As they have a common language across the organisation to assess employee development, Nutrien Ag can more easily share talent on a global scale.

The fluidity of the framework also ensures that learning and development can be delivered differently in various contexts to ensure it responds to the unique needs of each market. As explained by Shelley Jones, “A number of people have looked at the capability framework and put a lens across it, whether it’s a functional lens, a cultural lens, a location lens. Without that, we wouldn’t have the robustness that we have.”

Interested in learning more insights into building a capability academy within your organisation? Watch DeakinCo.’s free webinar “Capability Academies: Then and Now” to learn more about the evolution and benefits of capability academies, and how they can help transform your organisation.