Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Competency-based portfolio

Note that this sample extract contains the sections Prior Learning Summary Part 1 and only the first competency of "Communication Abilities" in the Prior Learning Summary Part 2. The remaining competencies in Part 2, a Cover Letter, Table of Contents, Autobiographical Resume and Evidence are also required for the Competency-based Portfolio.

Prior Learning Summary Part 1

Name: Jane Smith Date: February 18, 20XX
Student ID: T00000000  
TRU - OL Program: Bachelor of Commerce, HR Management  
Credit Request: 6 lower level/12 upper level applied studies credits  

SUBJECT 1: Compensation

Venue of Learning: ABC, AB. On the job training, professional certification courses, distance education courses.

Date and Duration of Learning: 20XX – present (6 years)

1. Major Topics Covered in Subject Area: Total Rewards including compensation, pension, retirement and benefit program administration and design, executive compensation management, human resource management, variable pay, strategic communication, complex analysis, advanced Excel and database programming, complex analytical and organizational skills, job analysis, market pricing, quantitative methods.

2. Resources Used in this Learning: Training, seminars and exams through XYZ Society, on the job experience, distance education courses and exams through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

3. Evidence in Support of Learning:

1.3.1 Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) Certificate
1.3.2 XYZ Society/CCP Program Course Transcript
1.3.3 Compensation Management Specialist (CMS) Certificate
1.3.4 IFEBP/CMS and CEBS Program Course Transcript
1.3.5 Sample Salary Band Reference Document
1.3.6 Sample Annual Compensation Review Spreadsheets
1.3.7 Sample PowerPoint Presentation Slides for managers
1.3.8 Sample Incentive Design Template

SUBJECT 2: Photography

Venue of Learning: 123/XYZ, BC and ABC, AB. Formal photography training from respected professionals in the field and on the job training through running my own photography business.

Date and Duration of Learning: 20XX – present (13 years)

1. Major Topics Covered in Subject Area: Photography foundations and fundamentals, dark room developing/processing, composition and design, computer imaging, advanced lighting, electives (advertising, architecture, stock, outdoors & travel, photojournalism

2. Resources Used in this Learning: Formal training at XYZ Academy of Photography from recognized professionals in the field, and on the job training through running my own photography business, ABC Photography.

3. Evidence in Support of Learning:

2.3.1 Diploma in Professional Photography - XYZ Academy of Photography
2.3.2 Photography Program Transcript – XYZ Academy of Photography
2.3.3 Screen captures from professional photography website www.noname.com
2.3.4 Samples of photography and links to online portfolios
2.3.5 Sample gift certificate and business cards from photography business
2.3.6 Sample invoice from photography business

SUBJECT 3: Music

Venue of Learning: Self-taught at an intermediate level on guitar, banjo and ukulele. Completed music theory Rudiments Level 2 at the Royal Conservatory of Music in XYZ, BC. Volunteer through the ABC Folk Music Festival and also donate photography and music writing to organizations and online blogs.

Date and Duration of Learning: 20XX – present (12 Years)

1. Major Topics Covered in Subject Area: Reading music in treble and base clef, reading tablature, intervals, rests, transpositions, cadences, scales, open score, dominant sevenths, triads, terms, music appreciation and critique, music festival volunteerism and contribution to community via photography donation.

2. Resources Used in this Learning: Royal Conservatory of Music, guitar-training books form the library, online music instruction websites, ABC Folk Festival volunteer crew, Online Blogs.

3. Evidence in Support of Learning:

3.3.1 – Royal Conservatory of Music Rudiments 2 Certificate
3.3.2 – Royal Conservatory of Music Rudiments 2 Exam Results
3.3.3 – Volunteer Reference Letter ABC Folk music Festival
3.3.4 – Sample Photography Donation Form
3.3.5 – Sample Music Article and Photography XYZ Magazine
3.3.6 – Sample Music Article and Photography XYZ Magazine


Prior Learning Summary Part 2

1. Communication Abilities

As the Team Lead of Compensation at ABC IT Solutions, communication skills are of critical importance in conveying my message clearly when presenting ideas to senior managers and executives within our organization. Compensation and Incentive programs often involve detailed calculations and impact thousands of employees within a large organization, and it is essential to present this information in a clear manner so that it can be understood across all levels of an organization, from entry level field worker to the VP or CEO Level.

When meeting with mangers or employees, I often prepare formal documents to help clarify how compensation works within an organization. An example is 1.3.5 'Sample Salary Band Reference Document', which I created and used to explain to managers how an employee's base salary fits in to the organizations salary band “grid” within the organization. Using graphics and a glossary to explain terminology used allows me to meet with managers to explain the difference between setting a salary level for a new hire, versus determining an appropriate annual raise or salary level for a seasoned guru with several years of experience.

Another aspect in my role as a Compensation Professional is providing regular presentations to my peers and managers within the human resources department to help them understand some of the complex calculations and processes that we have within our organization. Document 1.3.7 ‘Sample PowerPoint Presentation Slides for managers’ is a sample of a 28-page PowerPoint presentation that I provide on a regular basis to explain some of the timelines and processes related to salary increase and bonus programs within our department, and to detail how the incentive calculations work. Being able to communicate in a clear upbeat manner and using simple language and graphics is essential, especially when my peers consider the subject matter to be confusing and boring! When requesting funding for the annual salary increase budget or requesting approval for a new incentive program, I also use similar PowerPoint presentations and formal documents to request approval from the executives.

Because I am often communicating material that might be considered confusing, technical, or even boring, I often run my presentations past a test audience prior to completing the final draft. The test audience general includes my peers from my own department, as well as individuals from departments that might not have a strong understanding of compensation principles, such as finance or marketing. I try to keep this audience in mind when drafting communication materials, and I allow enough time in my calendar to meet with my co-workers for feedback and to make any suggested changes to the final draft. My message needs to be understood by new managers and employees who might be new to their role, so the test audience often lets me know if I am using terminology that only I understand. If I have missed providing information because I assumed the audience already knows the details, this will be evident when my audience starts asking questions during or after the presentation. I have also developed an open and honest relationship with my co-workers, so they will let me know if a presentation or document is too long to keep their interest! These suggestions in the past have helped me to understand the importance of including quick videos, quizzes, or break periods when drafting longer presentations. Providing clear and interesting communication materials are important for building credibility within my department at ABC IT Solutions.

As a direct supervisor to a junior coordinator within my department, I am also responsible for providing regular feedback on performance, which can include delivering difficult messages regarding poor performance or complaints that I have received about the individual on my team. I am new to the role of Team Lead/Supervisor (as of September 20XX), and have found this aspect of my role to be extremely challenging because my direct report often gets defensive and argues or talks back when I provide constructive feedback or inquire about mistakes that have been observed.

Through coaching from my manager and other team leads, I have learned the importance of remaining calm when delivering these messages, as well as the importance of using non-verbal communication such as body language to display confidence and assertiveness in the message I am trying to deliver when emotions might be running high. I have also learned to bring very detailed notes including employee names and dates to help my direct report understand the specific scenario that we are discussing. Prior to learning this technique, she would often argue that a claim was false or that she couldn’t remember completing the work that contained an error. This strategy has proven to be very effective at allowing us to recall exact details, allowing me to listen to her side of the story, and to work through the problem to identify areas for improvement. I also try to provide feedback on a regular basis through daily meetings, so that details are fresh in our minds and so that we can also focus on her positive achievements throughout the day rather than only discussing negatives.

In addition to the communication and writing required within my professional compensation role, I also enjoy creative writing, and am a volunteer contributor of music reviews and photography to an online magazine. The casual tone of creative writing is a skill that helps me in my business writing, as I can often use jokes or references to popular culture in my email communications to try to keep things interesting at the office. Examples of some articles I wrote for XYZ Magazine when Shady People on a Shady Planet and John Smith performed in ABC can be found in documents 3.3.5 and 3.3.6 'Sample Music Article and Photography XYZ Magazine'.