Develop competencies to fulfill basic professional needs

In today’s environment, employees and managers can no longer just think of a career ladder concept when assessing performance and growth opportunities within an organization. Mastering the skills needed for one role does not guarantee success in another function. For instance, a waitress can excel at her job, yet lack the necessary competencies to take on the role of manager.

Instead, HR professionals should focus on developing sets of competencies for each role within the organization in order to promote opportunities for mobility and advancement. By laying out the critical requirements for each role, employees gain autonomy in pursuing other opportunities by working toward developing the competencies required to accomplish their own aspirations. This type of framework puts employees in control of their career path, thus helping drive motivation to perform beyond current responsibilities and specific-job requirements.

Competencies to fulfill basic professional needs

It is safe to assume that every one of us wants to feel like we contribute to our organization’s goals. We seek to improve our performance and the competencies that help us become experts at what we do – or aspire to do. The need for professional recognition is a key driver to performance. Yet, there are many factors outside of an employee’s performance within a specific job function that influence career opportunities and often times, employees resent the fact that although they are performing as expected or beyond, they are not given a chance to access other roles that are more in line with their goals.

One can say that organizations prefer to preserve top-performers in the role they excel at, but the reality is that they often do not provide a sufficiently clear framework for employees to know – and as a result develop – the competencies they need to access other functions. Employees therefore peak in their respective job and have nowhere to go from there, leaving them motivated to either leave the organization or maintain an average performance, instead of going above and beyond.

Building a model for organizational success

A competency model is a set of 8 to 16 competencies with definitions, which define the underlying abilities of each. The more complex the job, the more competencies can be identified. The key is keeping in mind not only what is required to do the job, but also what is necessary to achieve the organization’s primary objectives to succeed.

Once the competencies have been determined, your HR team, along with your management officials, must create clear and concise definitions for each of them. A competency dictionary makes it easier to start as it provides a starting point for discussion and help you customize each definition to your company’s needs, but you can also write them from scratch. Whichever approach you use, remember to use the language of your organization.

With a customized and detailed competency model, you not only offer your employees a tool by which they can develop and grow within your organization, but you also facilitate performance reviews and promote a unified culture and workforce that work together to achieve the same goals.

Of course, it then also becomes necessary to implement a process by which you can evaluate employees on these very competencies and assess their degree of success. Our decades of research and data gathering have allowed us to develop several tools that help you accomplish every one of these steps.

You can also attend our workshops to learn to create and implement these models in house. These practical events allow you to share your concerns and experiences with industry peers and experts so as to help you get over some of the hurdles of performance management.

For more information, contact us or consult the different sections of our website for more information on developing models for your success.

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Your Competitive Edge depends on your Employees

3D_pyramidThe business of human resources is changing. Given the accelerated rate of turbulence in almost every aspect of the economy, HR professionals have to work harder than ever to maintain the knowledge, skills, insights and experience that prove relevant for the companies and competitive markets within which they work.

As the HR function is expected to effectively measure these characteristics during the crucial selection process, it must also seek an exact combination of these factors – knowledge, skills, insights, motives and experience – in every candidate in order to fill a role successfully and thus support the company’s viability and growth.

But in today’s changing workforce, this means getting more specialized, and this isn’t always easy if your HR processes are not keeping up with your evolving environment.

It’s not business as usual

As the future role of HR has begun to undergo change, competencies are now being used as an effective and highly accurate way to refocus an organization on what is really important to its success specifically, as well as what it takes for the workforce to be successful in achieving both their and the company’s main objectives. In other words, it is no longer a process that seeks to find a candidate who can ‘do a job,’ but now one that needs to determine if the prospective employee can do the job in a manner that consciously accomplishes the top business goals.

A customized technical competency model highlights specialized skills and proficiencies required within each job role, in addition to the behaviors, motives and self-traits sought out by the corporate culture. According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, implementing such a model further supports the future and success of the HR function within the business context, as it:

  • Provides a strategy that binds organizational culture and individual performance
  • Serves as a tool to explicitly define technical roles within the context of the overall business and market
  • Aligns individual performance with that of the organization, as well as with the industry within which it operates

An aptly tailored competency model that includes a set of technical skills for each role can prove to be the mechanism by which organizations link the specialized aspects of a particular job to the bottom line results desired by management. The outcome: a selection and recruitment process that is adapted to the evolution and goals of the organization, and a workforce that understands and works toward the same objectives.

Click here to learn how technical competencies can help your HR team gain a competitive edge.

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Are technological advancements undermining your HR processes?

man_using_clear_touchscreen_sqWith rapidly advancing technologies, the majority of industries are faced with the double challenge of 1) staying informed and current and 2) effectively integrating new systems, processes and software into existing job functions.

Within the context of an organization, and even more so in terms of human resources and job performance management, this modern reality can prove to be an even greater challenge, as the workforce naturally habituates itself to its acquired skills, while monetary investments needed to provide coaching on new developments seem to grow exponentially.

Even with a renewed workforce of students entering the job market, the tasks and responsibilities pertaining to a job are often not as expected, and the skills required to execute them therefore aren’t as perfectly aligned to the candidate as originally conceived.

So how can companies hope to find, attract, retain, and ‘update’ their workforce with the right technical competencies in their HR processes?

Not your average pyramid scheme

A competency model can be conceptualized as a pyramid, from personal competencies (or soft skills) at the base, to industry-specific and sector-specific skills in the middle, and task-specific competencies at the upper tier.

Competencies considered to be industry-specific are technical competencies pertaining to a very specific domain, role or industry; let’s think, for instance, of standards and certifications, core technologies and processing methods, etc. Because they are so technical, it can be extremely challenging for a ‘generalized’ HR function to both identify and update these competencies over time.

The benefit of dictionaries

Aside from the obvious benefit of providing a starting point and uniform language for the development of a competency model, a competency dictionary is often a crucial source of up-to-date industry-technical skills that will help you optimize your recruiting process and the performance management of your existing workforce.

You can also learn to identify, plan, and implement technical competencies into your competency model at our 1-day Creating Technical Competencies workshop.

Contact us for more information.

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Managing Role-Specific Technical Competencies

Health care professionals in lab.With the continuing evolution of the business environment, it has become necessary for companies to adopt a competency framework that is not only sufficiently solid and accurate to provide guidance to your workforce and HR staff, but also flexible enough to account for regular updates – and even additions – to role-specific skills.

In other words, your talent management or competency model should seek to identify the required technical, functional and professional skills for a given role, as well as be easily adaptable to change within your organization.

Let’s get technical

Technical competencies refer to the technical proficiency required for an employee to perform as expected within a job function.

In addition to supporting your hiring process, including a set of technical competencies provides opportunities for continuous learning and growth, which can be perceived as a real performance motivator for employees and a great talent management and retention strategy for your company.

Set it but don’t forget it: A dynamic process

There is no doubt that when executed skillfully, a set of well-defined and current technical competencies help you hire the right people for the job and, in turn, allow employees to become vital contributors to the success of your organization. After all, when you have a match between the employee’s competencies and those required to effectively perform the task at hand, it’s nothing short of a recruiting success!

However, in times of reorganizations or when a transition occurs within the workplace, it becomes necessary to assess the previously established competencies required to perform a task to ensure that they not only remain relevant to the updated role, but that the employee assigned to the task has retained and adapted to the revised position.

Because technical competencies are so job-specific, there are no competency dictionaries or libraries from which to draw competency definitions. You can however learn how to establish and manage technical competencies by collecting and analyzing the right data at different levels in specific jobs at our interactive 1-day Creating Technical Competencies workshop that can be scheduled on-site at your facility and can be combined with our 3-day Building Competency Models certification workshop.

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