Looking ahead to a year of professional development

150x150_logo-no_textAs 2013 comes to a close, most companies have begun assessing their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth and improvement. Most reports that have so far been published indicate that professional development is likely to be a primary focus for many organizations.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Companies have gotten used to adapting to emerging technologies and an incessantly growing set of tools for every facet of business management. Yet, for a few years now, it seems this environment has led to the neglect of professional development, to the benefit of new recruits who bring new skill sets to the workplace. While this may sound like a great impetus for innovation, it also comes at a high cost.

As a result and out of a need to maintain – and hopefully reduce – costs to remain competitive, organizations are now refocusing their efforts in preparation of this important resurgence of renewed competencies and skills.

Defining the right competencies for now and the future

The first step to improving any talent management process entails acknowledging that an effective model requires both a clear understanding of the competencies required for success in each role, and an accurate assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of current employees.

As businesses change, grow, adapt and evolve, employees must follow the course. Superior performers drive superior results, and that in itself is what defines professional development. But because objectives are revised regularly, skills and competencies must also be reassessed and restructured.

How to fill the gaps and avoid excessive turnover costs

Once a company has identified the job skills that are lacking and those that are in abundance, the question inadvertently leans toward how to effectively fill in the gaps. An organization can choose to recruit new employees with the ‘lacking’ skills, or identify high performers who can acquire these skills. Both solutions carry implicit costs but to choose the most cost-efficient for your situation, you need current and well-developed competency models.

Job competency models serve to determine the skills that your employees must possess to perform to your expectations – and beyond. It is only once you have clearly listed these skills, knowledge and personal characteristics that you can truly evaluate your needs, and choose the solution (recruiting vs. coaching) that best fits your organizational goals and budget.

Furthermore, with competency models in place (granted they are maintained and kept up to date), you can better plan your succession and performance/compensation programs in order to attract, develop and retain top performers, and eventually achieve your objectives in terms of sales, productivity and profits.

Building models and producing superior results

One of the best starting point to building effective competencies models and improving performance is through professional development – i.e., by attending seminars or workshops.

Yet, there’s an important learning and acceptance curve, and several factors to consider before embarking on the competency journey – factors that can make or break your best efforts. We invite you to browse through our Consulting section to read more about competency models, or contact us for a consultation.

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