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.