Establishing Governance: A Foundation for Success in Digital Credentialing

    While steps like choosing vendors and designing badges are important, a governance plan lays the foundation for success. Discover what to include in your governance plan and how it can empower your credentialing program to thrive.
    calendar-plus-01 July 8, 2024
    user-circle Credly Team
    hourglass-01 4 min read
    A program manager developing a governance plan for their credentialing program

    What’s your first step when developing a digital credentialing program? Is it choosing a trustworthy vendor? Designing the digital badge? Perhaps deciding what skills to promote? 

    While all of these are important steps in the process, the most helpful first step is to establish a governance plan. You have the power to set the foundation for success in your digital credentialing program.

    In the digital credentialing world, governance plays a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining a robust foundation for credentialing programs. Yet, many organizations rush through or overlook it. According to the results collected from our Credentialing Mastery Assessment, more than 50% of current digital credential users do not have a governance plan (30% are unsure, and 24% have not developed one). Additionally, 47% have not established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), with 21% uncertain about their progress in this area. Without a governance plan, your program lacks a solid foundation and may struggle to scale successfully in the future.

    In this blog, you can find out how a governance plan can help you grow and measure your digital credential offerings.

    The Importance of Governance in Digital Credential Programs

    Governance includes the policies and procedures related to an organization’s credential strategy. This living document outlines what you hope to achieve with your program, who will be involved, and how to implement and evaluate it. Unfortunately, data from our Credentialing Mastery Assessment shows that over half of existing digital credentials users do not have a governance plan in place. 

    Your governance plan is an important navigational tool for your program as it grows and develops. Consider it a map to your program’s success, allowing you to measure your performance, track your goals, and document your process for others on your team. While some organizations create elaborate documents, others keep it simple. 

    The only wrong way to develop a governance plan is to not create one at all. 
    Why a Governance Plan is Important:

    1. Ensures clear objectives and direction

      A governance plan establishes clear and measurable objectives, helping everyone understand the purpose and goals of your credentialing program. It also creates an opportunity to align the credentialing program with your organization’s broader goals and mission.

    2.  Aligns your efforts with strategic goals

      A well-defined governance plan helps define relevant and meaningful metrics to measure progress against the strategic goals. It keeps your program focused on overarching objectives, such as improving learner outcomes, enhancing program credibility, or meeting industry standards. This alignment ensures time and resources are invested in achieving strategic priorities and adapting your approach based on performance insights.

    3. Enhances accountability and responsibility

      Clearly defined roles and responsibilities prevent confusion and redundant work. Your governance plan can help you assign tasks appropriately and monitor performance as needed. 

    4. Facilitates effective decision-making

      Your living governance document establishes a baseline for making decisions, keeping your organization on task, and avoiding ad hoc and potentially disruptive deviations. Including all relevant stakeholders in the governance plan process is a good idea, too, so decisions are well-informed and broadly supported. 

    5. Supports sustainability and scalability

      A governance plan provides a consistent framework to follow over time. It creates sustainable workflows and opportunities to scale effectively, with clear guidelines and processes that can be evolved as the program expands.

    How to Create an Effective Governance Plan

    Successful governance plans include the following key components: 

    • Mission statement: A mission statement clearly articulates the core objective of the credentialing program and its target audience. It should reflect the guiding values and principles, the intended positive impact and long-term vision, and what makes your program unique.

    • Success metrics: Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound (SMART) goals and use those to guide your metrics. These metrics could include the number of issued credentials, engagement rates, completion rates, and user satisfaction.

    • Roles chart: Include a chart of common roles in the scope of a governing body for your credentialing program. Organize it in a way that you might begin to identify possible members and understand why they are vital to your success. A roles chart can also reveal gaps or areas that risk being overlooked.

    • Credential framework: Establish a framework for organizing your credential system. The framework could use skill taxonomy components. One advantage of having a framework is that the governing body could ask those who suggest new credentials to describe their proposal using the framework's structure.

    • Administration and management procedures: Documenting processes and procedures creates a frame of reference for how things are done. It can also help maintain consistency across all aspects of your credentialing program. Some procedures to document could include credential expirations, platform access, and marketing plan overviews.

    As you consider your organization’s governance plan, you may find starting from an informed baseline helpful. Our Credentialing Mastery Assessment provides a comprehensive evaluation of your current strategy and offers personalized recommendations to drive success in your digital credentials program. 

    This assessment will help you transform, adapt, and lead the way to credentialing excellence, whether you offer digital credentials, maintain a traditional credentialing program, or are in the planning stage of a new program. It can also provide helpful insight on creating or revising governance documents to strengthen the foundation of your program. 

    Take the Credentialing Mastery Assessment

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