What have your competencies done for you lately?
If you're like most organizations, the answer is not what they could or should be doing. It's not enough to have a library filled with well-crafted definitions of behavior, or to utilize different sets of competencies to inform different talent decisions.
Competencies must be applied consistently across all talent management systems if we are to realize their full potential-to drive and achieve current and future business objectives.
Well-designed competencies spell out the specific behaviors needed for effectiveness in a given job or role. They are differentiated from other important elements of success, including experience, knowledge, motivations, and other more stable, personal attributes of individuals.
Once they are wired to key business objectives, we can then clarify, communicate, and develop the behaviors crucial to the organization's success.
Ultimately, when properly implemented, they can be used as a metric against which every individual can be selected, developed, and evaluated fairly and consistently.
Competencies are under-utilized and under-managed
Now, well-designed, wired to key business objectives, and properly implemented are a tall order for most organizations. The challenges to success are many, and critical components are often overlooked.
For example, competency model designers must uncover and communicate the unique value to each group of stakeholders-senior leaders, managers, employees, and HR teams.
It is essential that all involved understand what they have to gain and that the lines of communication remain open-before, during, and after implementation.
Other reasons why competencies are underutilized and under-leveraged?
Users fail to see their relevance. Typically, this is because they are either too general or way too complicated. "One-size-fits-all" competencies can be vague and meaningless to your largest groups of stakeholders: employees and managers.
Likewise, when too many performance levels are defined for a single competency, employees have difficulty determining where they stand, and managers become overwhelmed by the implementation process.
Competencies need to be well integrated into talent processes... but aren't
Perhaps the biggest contributor to failure (forfeiting the "great competency promise") may be haphazard integration. Organizations lack either the necessary know-how or the resources needed to weave competencies throughout all talent processes. As a result, the competencies they are hiring for aren't the same ones they're trying to develop or reinforce through performance management.
Recoup your competency investment
Successful competency management can be boiled down to an ongoing series of steps. In our upcoming, jointly produced (DDI and Halogen) webinar, we will spell out these steps so you can design, launch, and deploy your competencies to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
And do it with the confidence that your talent strategies support and power your business and cultural priorities.
Want more information more immediately? Download DDI's white paper: Delivering on the Competency Promise.