Key Ingredients to Organizational Success

RaiseTheBarSliderConversation, Compensation, and Competencies

Do you feel overwhelmed with managing your employees’ expectations? Do they not understand your company culture and what is expected of them to keep progressing? You’re not alone.

Communicating what it takes to achieve the next steps in job advancement provides your employees with the knowledge they need to manage their own careers. Moving up typically depends not only on having the skills and knowledge required for a promotion, but the behavioral attributes necessary to achieve job success.

When it comes to conducting an employee development review and coaching session, did you know that competencies can provide the necessary elements for building a solid career framework model?  Competencies can play a significant role in determining the right conversation points, and even help determine compensation increases when it comes time to have your organization’s annual performance reviews.

 Raising the Bar on Performance Management

Adequate and customized competency assessments can contribute to enhanced performance management, framing employee development reviews and helping to identify:

  • Job performance standards and measures
  • Job behaviors required to accomplish specific tasks and responsibilities
  • Competencies demonstrated by average and superior performers in key jobs

The American Compensation Association (now know as WorldAtWork) sponsored a research study in 1996 called “Raising the Bar – Using Competencies to Enhance Employee Performance.” Much of this 76-page booklet of findings still maintains relevancy with today’s workforce. For example, one of the most frequently cited human resource strategies involves improving teamwork and coordination, and increasing the link between pay and performance.  This is a human resource strategy that supports a broader business strategy.

 Exiting the “Free Agent” Culture

As organizations begin to adopt a career framework model as apposed to the “free agent” culture, employees will be less likely to leave. Why? The reasons are obvious:

  • They will feel encouraged in their path to progress
  • They will understand your expectations more precisely
  • They will stop feeling ‘stuck’ in a position that keeps asking them to do more for less
  • They will remain engaged and dedicated, further preserving your culture and values

In turn, this will satisfy both their drive to access dearly coveted positions and your need for performance and organizational success.

To learn more, click here to read about even more benefits of competency-based performance management.

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The Right Choices for Successful Workforce Planning

Staff turnover can be costly, not only in terms of the hiring and training process, but also as you transition between employees. That gap slows down your productivity and can harm your team’s morale. So it’s important that you prepare for an eventual turnover by forecasting your future needs and establishing models that will allow you to minimize that transition period.

Again with competencies?

Well, yes. Competencies play a key role in workforce planning efforts. They are the measurable and observable knowledge, skills and behaviors that are critical to successful job performance.

Competencies go hand-in-hand with workforce planning, allowing you, the employer, to:

  • Plan your organizational structure and deploy your workforce
  • Determine which job classes best fit your business needs
  • Recruit and select the best employees
  • Design training budgets, development and individual performance plans
  • Develop your staff to fill future vacancies (a demand forecast)

So, what exactly is workforce planning?

Workforce planning is a “coordination” process of identifying gaps between your workforce of today and your human capital need for tomorrow.

Organizational success depends on having the right employees with the right competencies at the right time. Workforce planning provides you with a strategic basis for making human resource decisions promptly and accurately, thus allowing you and your HR staff to anticipate change, rather than being surprised by it!

“How to” make it work

Many HR professionals like the idea of workforce planning, but few really understand how to get a grasp the ‘how to do’ part. Here are three basic steps:

  • Review the competencies/employees presently available, along with their probability of staying in that role (whether they are striving to access other positions within your company or may be prone to looking elsewhere)
  • Access what competencies/employees will be required in the future, based on your company’s growth as well as on your turnover forecast
  • Review the gaps (the sum of comparing current and future supply), and establish a contingency plan

While basic, these steps are not easy to take if you are starting from scratch or are not sure how to forecast accurately. To learn more on how to create innovative applications of competencies in workforce planning, review our Advanced Competency Modeling Workshop.

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Competency-Based Succession Planning

Businessmen Listening to a Female Ceo Talking in a Meeting RoomFor most employees, the potential to access other, oft-higher positions within an organization is a great incentive to maximizing performance. As an HR professional, it is therefore important that you maintain this motivation and invest in their development through adequate training and coaching. It is equally essential to properly assess employees’ current skills as well as potential for growth.

To do so, there are several “intangibles” to evaluate to determine if an employee can succeed in a new role, typically requiring a new set of competencies. Yet, how does the human resource function attain transparency – the knowledge of what exactly those intangibles are?

In comparing an employee’s performance and potential, a competency model can provide a consistent, objective and valid framework. Once designed, not only such a blueprint benefit your employees by providing them with a “reset button” – that is, a continued opportunity to fulfill career aspirations, but it can also save an organization thousands of dollars in turnover expenses by simply reusing the current employee within a more desired, or better suited, role.

A Measuring Stick for Retaining Optimal Performers

With defining job competencies in succession planning, it’s all about ensuring the right individual is placed in the right job at the right time. However, like many things in life, it is not a perfect science and employees reserve the right to perhaps either change their mind or simply wish to advance differently within an organization.

With the right competency model (i.e., suited to your reality and needs), your organization is equipped with a solid measuring stick for evaluating those previously mentioned employee intangibles, and can therefore help ensure certain desired outcomes, such as:

  • Few people fail
  • One, preferably two, well-suited internal candidates are qualified for each key position
  • Few superior performers leave because of lack of opportunity

The result: A well-prepared, high-performing HR team, an organization that retains optimal performers who already grasp the internal corporate culture, processes and procedures, and employees who are motivated to succeed in making a difference for the company, much thanks to their own individual growth potential.

To learn more, please visit our webpage on Competency-based Career and Succession Planning.

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Competencies: The Foundation for Performance

Meeting_b&wcolor_646x220-1Do your employees need their peers to outperform? Is their work environment motivating them to push their own limits, or is it motivating them to perform “on par”?

Consider this…when used during the HR selection process, competency models have proven effective in identifying certain behaviors that affect the welfare of other individuals within an organization. In fact, these behavior traits offer a better means of predicting occupational success versus traditional IQ or aptitude tests.

Furthermore, competency models can be highly beneficial when used for training and employee development within an organization. Serving as a foundation for performance, they become “position-specific” competencies that can increase engagement and overall workplace well being.

Beyond Happy and Satisfied

Employee engagement often times is assumed to be synonymous with ‘employee happiness’ or, simply, job satisfaction. Defined, employee engagement is actually an emotional commitment an employee has to an organization and its goals; meaning they actually care about their work and the company’s success.

Although competency models cannot claim all the kudos in helping an organization fully achieve employee engagement, they certainly aid in laying the necessary groundwork.

The Higher the Results, The Higher the Engagement

Establishing performance-based competency models are key tools in any human resources system. It provides a clear signal to employees regarding encouraged behaviors and attitudes, further guiding them toward higher performance.

Its benefits can be defined as:

  • Improved communication
  • Job and employee satisfaction
  • Organizational effectiveness
  • Increased employee engagement

The How of Performance

Competencies serve as the ‘how’ of performance, and must be present to ensure long-term success. Through establishing individual employee performance competencies, you can increase productivity and personal job satisfaction – the necessary first steps to achieving employee engagement and workplace well being.

For more information on how competencies can produce superior performance in your organization, please visit our Competency-based Performance Management, Competency-based Training & Development, and Competency-based Talent Management pages.

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