By Kevin Wilson, CPT, MED, and Judith Hale, CPT, PhD

One of ISPI’s goals is to be recognized as the champion and leading resource for performance improvement. A mechanism for accomplishing this goal is to develop standards of excellence in the application of human performance technology (HPT) and recognize individuals and organizations that meet those standards. To bring the idea to life, the Certification and Accreditation Governance Committee (CABC) expanded its charter to include the accreditation of programs, organizations, and departments that exemplify the HPT standards.

To develop the accreditation standards for organizations and departments, the committee began by learning about the Baldrige Award; revisiting the department standards developed by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (ibstpi); and becoming familiar with the standards offered by ANSI and the guidelines published by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.  What the committee found missing in these standards and guidelines was a focus on results and a demonstration of value. Next, it interviewed organizations that had expressed an interest in being accredited by ISPI to find out what they would perceive as beneficial and why the other credentials were not meeting their needs. The Poudre Fire Authority was one of the organizations that responded.  Poudre was in the process of applying for the Baldrige Award and was familiar with the standards set by the Rocky Mountain Center for Performance Excellence. To summarize, it found the experience focused on Baldrige models instead of assessing the various ways in which the organization could achieve organizational effectiveness or improvement.

As a result of its research, the committee set as its goals to offer an evidence-based accreditation that promotes and recognizes organizations that apply the HPT standards, and to make the application process a value-adding experience for applicants.  Similar to the CPT and the CSIS certification, the application process requires responding to a series of questions, submitting exhibits that give evidence to the answers, participating in an interview, perhaps undergoing an on-site visit, and submitting attestations. The application also includes a self-assessment so organization can predetermine their level of readiness.  To date, the committee drafted seven standards for the Organization and Department Accreditation: Measure Results, Add Value, Partner & Collaborate, Lead, Market & Promote, Manage, and Continuously Improve.  For its next steps the committee is looking for organizations to participate in a series of structured focus groups to help it validate and further refine the standards.  The conference session will include an update on those findings as well as ask participants to participate in the process.

About the Authors

Kevin Wilson, CPT, MEd, is a retired division chief after 40 years in the fire service. He received his BS in Adult Education and MEd in Human Resource Development/Organization Development from Colorado State University. He has been providing educational opportunities to the fire service through the Round up Your Knowledge Conference, which he started 18 years ago. In his retirement, he is the owner of Whole Elephant Consulting located in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Judith Hale, CPT, PhD, is the author of The Performance Consultant’s Fieldbook, 2nd ed., Performance-Based Certification, 2nd ed., Performance-Based Evaluation, Performance-Based Management, and Outsourcing Training and Development. She has been a consultant to management in the public and private sectors for over 25 years. She specializes in needs assessments, certification programs, evaluation protocols, and the implementation of major interventions. She is the president of ISPI and past-president of ibstpi. She was awarded a BA from Ohio State University, an MA from Miami University, and a PhD from Purdue University.