Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Defining the Goals and Measuring the Impact of Competency-based Talent Management

Part 2 of 7 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Designing a Competency-based Talent Management Framework

By Ian Wayne, M.Sc and Suzanne Simpson, PhD, C. Psych.

This is the second in a seven part series that looks at key decisions in designing and implementing a competency-based talent management (CbTM) framework:
  1. Some Basic Definitions
  2. Defining the Goals and Evaluating the Impact of your Initiative
  3. Competency Structure and Types
  4. Importance of Defining your Competency Architecture
  5. Developing Job Competency Profiles
  6. Project and Change Management
  7. Key Decisions in Selecting a Software System
Leaders chose to embark on implementing a fully integrated Competency-based Talent Management initiative for a variety of reasons.   Examples of drivers include:
  • Aligning talent and culture management with the vision and strategic goals of the organization
  • Improving productivity and profitability through talent
  • Attracting and retaining quality employees
  • Being an employer of choice
  • Ensuring a continuing pipeline of qualified candidates for key roles
These drivers are often translated into human resource goals such as:
  • Addressing skill shortages
  • Retaining talented employees
  • Developing high potential employees
  • Implementing succession plans for key roles
  • Achieving higher levels of employee satisfaction and engagement
It is important to engage leaders early in defining the key goals and success criteria for your initiative. This will ensure that it is designed to meet these goals, and will help determine whether the initiative is meeting the defined success criteria and having the desired impact for your organization.
Key Decisions
  • Do you have clearly defined goals?
  • Have you engaged relevant stakeholders to clarify your goals?
  • Have you defined the key success criteria to be used in determining whether your initiative is having the desired impact – e.g., increased employee retention; higher customer satisfaction scores;  higher revenue / profits per employees; increased sales; etc.
Having determined the goals and success criteria, it then becomes possible to put in place tools and processes for measuring the impact of your program.

Goals Success Criteria Measurement Tools / Process
Retain talented employees Improve employee retention from 70% to 90% within 2 years of implementation
  • Gather employee turnover data from HRIS prior to implementing CbTM framework and every 6 months thereafter
  •  Provide reports to senior management
Achieve a 60% increase in employee satisfaction with job and career opportunities within 2 years after implementation of CbTM framework
  • Determine relevant questions on employee survey for assessing employee satisfaction with job and career opportunities, and create composite score
  • Measure satisfaction using composite score prior to implementing CbTM framework and every year thereafter
  • Provide reports to senior management

Using the example shown in the table above, if a desired outcome is to improve retention rates for talented employees, it is important to have solid baseline data on employee retention prior to designing and implementing the initiative, and then to continue to periodically assess retention rates during and after the various stages and implementation.  If positive change is observed, then it would be reasonable to assume that the competency initiative is having the desired impact.  However, it is often necessary to use more than one type of data to confirm your hypothesis.  Thus, if employee retention is the desired outcome and increased employee satisfaction with job and career opportunities is assumed to be a contributing factor, then one also needs to measure employee satisfaction prior to, during and after implementation of the competency initiative.

The key is to determine the goal and key success criteria, and then design and implement measurement processes that will either directly or indirectly assess the impact of your initiative.
Key Decisions
  • What are the criteria for measuring success?
  • How will the impact of the initiative be measured and reported?
  • Who will be responsible for measuring and reporting the impact of the initiative?
  • Who will be responsible for implementing improvements?
Benefits of Competency-based Talent Management

To help define the goals for your initiative, here are some of the key benefits of using competencies as the foundation for managing talent.  Competencies:
  • Improve hiring and selection decisions because the competencies, which are used as the standards for assessment and selection, reflect the behaviors employees must have to be effective in their jobs and roles
  • Support the identification of areas for employee development that are directly linked to desired organization objectives
  • Help translate the organization’s vision and goals into the competencies employees need to have to perform effectively
  • Increase employee productivity and operational effectiveness because they focus employees on the required behaviors
  • Increase employee satisfaction and engagement leading to reduced turnover rate because employees have a better sense of what it takes to be successful in current and future roles
  • Shorten the learning curve for employees, by allowing both the organization and employees to focus on those competencies that need development
  • Allow the organization to identify and then close gaps between the skills and competencies that employees currently have, and the skills and competencies they need to achieve the organizational vision.


The next blog in this series explores more fully the different types and structure of competencies. Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Talent Management solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Key Decisions in Designing a Competency-based Talent Management Framework: Some Basic Definitions

Part 1 of 7 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Designing a Competency-based Talent Management Framework

By Ian Wayne and Suzanne Simpson, PhD, C. Psych.

This is the first in a seven part series that looks at key decisions in designing and implementing a competency-based talent management (CbTM) framework:
  1. Some Basic Definitions
  2. Defining the Goals and Evaluating the Impact of your Initiative
  3. Competency Structure and Types
  4. Importance of Defining your Competency Architecture
  5. Developing Job Competency Profiles
  6. Project and Change Management
  7. Key Decisions in Selecting a Software System
Many organizations understand that there can be huge benefits to implementing a competency-based approach to acquiring and managing talent, but often don’t know where to start.  This blog series is devoted to guiding readers through a sequence of key decisions and considerations before launching into the design and implementation of your competency framework.  It is based on over three decades of work gathering best practices and lessons learned from organizations that have gone through this process.

Competency-based Talent Management Defined

competency framework
Different organizations define competencies differently. Using the CompetencyCore definition, “competency” is a term that describes a pattern or cluster of actions taken to achieve a result. Competencies demonstrate the following key features:
  • They describe the abilities, skills, knowledge, motivations or other traits required in the job
  • They are required for effective or successful performance of the job or task
  • They are defined in terms of observable behaviors, and therefore can be assessed or measured.
competency framework
Competency-based talent management is an approach for managing talent that defines the competencies required for organizational success, and provides a framework for ensuring employees are hired, developed, promoted and generally managed according to these competencies.

Why Competency-based Talent Management?

Competencies translate the strategic vision, values and goals for the organization into behaviors or actions employees must display for the organization to be successful.

The iceberg analogy helps demonstrate the value of having a comprehensive picture of all the competencies needed for success within jobs.  While one can see the iceberg in the ocean, the majority of its bulk is hidden under water.


The whole “iceberg” represents the competencies needed for success in jobs.  However, some factors (above the surface) are typically easier to identify and manage - for example, the skills, knowledge and experience of employees.  Traits, motivations and self-concept, on the other hand, tend to be harder to identify and measure (below the surface).  Skills, knowledge and experience are often the focus during hiring and selection; but, the other factors (below the surface), which are more intrinsic and difficult to identify and measure, are just as important for successful performance.  Competencies provide a way of describing all success factors in terms of behaviors.  These can then be measured and managed in the workplace.

This remainder of this series:
  • Looks at the importance of defining the goals and desired impact of your Competency-based Talent Management initiative;
  • Explores more fully the different types and structure of competencies;
  • Discusses the importance of having a well-defined Competency Architecture as the blue-print for designing and implementing a competency-based talent management initiative;
  • Describes the steps and process for developing job competency profiles / models; and,
  • Addresses important questions related to change management, communications, project management and governance.

The next blog in this series explores the importance of defining key goals and success criteria for your competency initiative. Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Talent Management solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Vindication or Violation? The Value of Validation in Competency Model Development

competency model validation
Validation of your competency model is a critical step before jumping right into implementing a competency initiative in your organization. In the first part of this post we examined what validation means, how to validate a competency model, and why this is a critical step in the process.

In this second part of the post, we will examine some key questions that you can ask yourself to verify if you have sufficiently validated your model, which isn’t always an easy thing to determine.
  • Have you received feedback from a variety of points of view? Have you only consulted managers or job incumbents or only job incumbents from a particular department?  Validation requires that you obtain opinions from multiple points of view.  Employees from one particular department might have a particular competency requirement whereas others do not.  Managers can also be used to validate the results of their subordinates.  Both breadth and depth of feedback is important.
  • Are your validators representative of all employees?  If you are not involving all employees in the validation process, you need to ensure that those who you do involve can speak for everyone.  If you panel comprised of only Caucasian men, you could be challenged (unless the workforce is only comprised of these men).  Remember other criteria such as age, years of experience, level of education, geographic location, department, or others that are relevant to a particular occupation.
  • Do those involve in the validation truly understand what it takes to be successful in the job?  Don’t include people that are poor performers (e.g., because they happen to be available) or don’t understand the job (e.g., a senior level person just because they are senior, but don’t really know the job).  In order for your process to be valid, you must ensure that your competencies reflect the actual work completed on the job.  If the individuals participating are misinformed, detached or biased they are not ideal validators.
  • Do the competencies reflect the requirements for truly effective performance on the job?  Just as you need to have the right people for the task, you also need to ensure that your model reflects the effective performance on the job.  Often organizations will select or define competencies that are a desired future state.  While, this can be practical for learning and goal setting, when used for recruitment and performance planning it means that the competencies are not reflective of the true job requirements.  By setting the bar too high, you can open yourself to challenges.
  • Do employees leave your validation sessions confused?  Do you continue to receive many questions or complicated feedback?  If so, you may need to continue communicating about the implementation and continue to validate.  Employees may be confused since they do not have the information they require to accurately validate the competency model.  This could result in a lack of buy-in down the road.
  • Does everyone agree?  One would think that if everyone agrees to the competency model that you are on the right track.  However, this could be due to the fact that employees are disengaged, uninterested and simply agreeing to end the process quickly.  This too could lead to legal challenges since it would be difficult to demonstrate that adequate due diligence was spent in the validation phase.
  • Are employees already rejecting the competency model?  There could be a few issues at play here.  Perhaps you have validated the model too much and employees have had enough of the process. 
This could also be a symptom of not communicating enough about the model or a lack of validation early in the process.  A lack of engagement can lead employees to feel that they have not contributed enough to the model and that they do not have ownership over it.
Final Thoughts
Only you know your employees.  Some of my clients have requested that we support them in validating their competencies with every single employee in the organization, whereas others only wanted managers to be involved in the decision making after speaking with their direct reports.  The factors are up to your organization and should be established right at the beginning of your planning process. 

The most important point to take home is that you should document everything.  Your valuable validation process will be in vain if you don’t have the proof to show due diligence.

The information presented above should not be construed as legal advice.  The reasonableness and sufficiency of a competency validation should be reviewed by legal counsel.
 

Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Talent Management solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Vindication or Violation? The Value of Validation in Competency Model Development

competency model validation
So you’ve purchased a new competency dictionary or developed a new competency model and think you’re ready to implement them in your organization.  By jumping right in, you may have missed a critical step in the development process that could open you to legal challenges and a lack of employee buy in.  Validation is this critical step, but how much is too much, or not enough?

Validation Defined
In the simplest terms, validation is the process of verifying your competency model.  It involves checking your model to ensure that it adequately reflects the knowledge, skills and abilities that your employees must demonstrate in your organization.

Just as a good journalist must check their sources with at least one other individual to ensure that the information they receive from a source is correct, an organization implementing competencies should always verify their information.

Validation Methods
There are many different methods that can be used for competency model validation.  Some of these methods include:
  • Questionnaires: Questionnaires can be paper-based or distributed using online questionnaire systems.  They can also be quite complex (e.g., every employee in a large organization, multiple job families, validating sets of competency profiles) or quite simple (e.g., obtaining feedback on one competency, selecting organizational core competencies).
  • Focus Groups: Inviting groups of employees to come together and provide feedback on competencies or a competency model.
  • Expert Panel Review: Bring together a representative sample of individuals for a particular job or groups of jobs to provide feedback for all job incumbents.
The validation method(s) you use depend on a number of factors such as how many employees are involved or impacted, the amount of information you need to collect, and your budget.

Why Validate?
Depending on how you are planning on using your competencies, they must be defensible.  If you are using competencies for performance planning or selection, it is critical that you are able to show that you have done your due diligence in ensuring that the competencies accurately reflect the required on-the-job behaviours of your employees.  If not, your organization opens itself up to any number of legal challenges.  At the very least, the consequence of not validating and getting your competencies wrong can result in a lack of employee buy-in or all-out rejection of the competency initiative. 

The validation process can also be used to help you accomplish your communications plan activities.  You can use validation as a way to provide your employees more information about the steps in the implementation process, how they will be involved and what the outcome of the implementation process will be.

Vindication or Violation?
Determining whether you have sufficiently validated your model is not a matter of black and white as there is no true benchmark.  There are certain questions that you can ask yourself to verify if you are close to the mark:
  • Have you received feedback from a variety of points of view?
  • Are your validators representative of all employees?
  • Do those involve in the validation truly understand what it takes to be successful in the job? 
  • Do the competencies reflect the requirements for truly effective performance on the job? 
  • Do employees leave your validation sessions confused?  Do you continue to receive many questions or complicated feedback? 
  • Does everyone agree? 
  • Are employees already rejecting the competency model?

In the next post later this week, we will examine each of these questions in detail to help you to determine whether you have sufficiently validated your model.


Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Talent Management solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Key to Competent Competency Implementation? Effective Communications and Change Management

A major component of all competency initiatives is managing the organizational change. Because a competency initiative is aimed at aligning and integrating human resource management processes with the vision, mission and mandate of your organization, it will be key to communicate the importance and benefits of this initiative to all stakeholders.

By following the best practices below, you can ensure the long-term success of your initiative.
  • Communication Strategy: Throughout every stage it is important to communicate the goals, purpose, benefits and expected outcomes of the initiative for all stakeholders. This will be done through processes and tools specifically designed for this purpose (e.g., employee communiqu├ęs; employee orientation sessions; newsletters; e-mails; web-based information; etc.) as well as through the ongoing processes that are part of the overall project plan, such as competency profiling focus groups. 
  • A Strategy of Involvement: The strategy for competency profile development and implementation will involve employees and management at all levels of the organization. This creates buy-in and understanding for the profiles, tools and HR processes to be implemented. If employees, managers and other significant stakeholders feel that they have had a “say” in the tools and processes that will apply to them, and understand the benefits for both them and the organization, there will be a higher chance for project success. This strategy of involvement will, at the same time, be tempered with the understanding that employees and managers may not be readily available to participate due to heavy operational demands.
  • A Program of Implementation that Minimizes Resistance: Best practices and lessons learned from a variety of organizations indicate that to minimize resistance and maximize the likelihood of successful implementation, organizations should start with HR processes that are least threatening and most supportive of employees and managers (training/learning programs, career development) and move gradually to those that more directly impact employee performance reviews, compensation, promotion and advancement.
  • “Quick Wins” and Demonstration Projects: Best practice has also shown that it is important to demonstrate how the implementation of new methods and processes can be of benefit to employees, managers and the organization. Very early in the project it is important to identify high need areas and implement competency-based solutions to meet these needs. It is best to choose organizational areas where the leadership sees a compelling need and is willing to put the organizational resources into ensuring that the initiative will be successful. Finally, it is important identify leaders who are willing to champion these initiatives in other parts of the organization. This is the best form of advertising.
  • Continuous Improvement: Finally, ensure that a process of continuous improvement is incorporated into your plan for implementation. The project plan should be flexible and allow for ongoing evaluation and improvement as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Career Planning & Development Software, Part 2

Part 11 of 11 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Career Planning & Development 

This is the tenth in an eleven part series that looks at:
  1. Making the Case for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  2. Facts, Figures & Findings
  3. Career Planning & Development Defined
  4. Key Definitions of Career Planning & Development
  5. Framework for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  6. Best Practice Tools & Processes
  7. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 1
  8. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 2
  9. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 3
  10. Key Considerations for Software, Part 1
  11. Key Considerations for Software, Part 2
Career planning and development can be a complex process typically involving multiple elements that are best supported through on an online system.  In the previous post, we looked at 3 key elements for consideration when selecting a Talent Management system.  In today’s post, we will delve into the remaining 5 key questions.
  1. Can you build learning plans to address competency gaps identified during the assessments?
  2. Does the tool have the ability to build employee competency and skill inventories?
  3. What are the capabilities to match employee competencies with the job competency requirements
  4. What is the reporting functionality?
  5. What additional information can be communicated to employees?

career planning and development software
Learning Plans and Learning Resources
A natural next step once you have looked at managing your competency data, how that data is structured and whether you can perform competency assessments is to determine whether the system in question will support employees in developing and implementing Individual Learning Plans.  In the case of CompetencyCore 5, this platform allows employees to automatically build a Learning Plan to address the competency and skill gaps identified during an assessment.  The employee can chose to either keep this information private and work independently on their plan, or share it with others, such as their supervisors or mentor / coach for support in defining a career development plan best suited to the employee.

As part of the Learning Planning process it is also useful to have catalogued learning resources organized by competencies in the Competency Library.  These resources can be specific to the organization (e.g., in-house or approved course offerings) or generic in nature (e.g., list of reference reading materials; etc.).  Regardless, the functionality in the software should allow the organization to map the resources to the competencies in the library, thereby providing accessible tools to employees that support planning for learning and career development. 

Employee Competency and Skills Inventories
Another important element that must be incorporated in the software functionality is the ability to record and manage information on employee skills, competencies and other important career-related information (e.g., geographic mobility; interest in advancement / promotion; etc.).  It is important for employees to be able to list and publish all of the validated competencies, skills and other qualifications they possess; not only those being used and displayed in the employee’s current job, but also those that the employee has accumulated during their career and may be required for other jobs in the organization.  However, there must some means built into the system to indicate that the published skills / competencies are valid – in other words, it has been determined through some objective means that the employee possesses the skill / competency (e.g., test results; successful course completion; a supervisor or other expert assessment; certificate from a regulatory body; etc.)

Such inventories are important for the implementation of effective career development initiatives and to support movement across chosen career paths.  They also allow managers and supervisors to gain an appreciation of who within the organization might have the skills and capabilities needed to fill current or future position vacancies.  These inventories are also extremely important for HR planning.  Compiled information on current strengths and gaps within the workforce allows the organization to plan and put in place career development programs to address high need / high risk job groups.

Employee / Job Competency Matching Tools
Assuming that the software incorporates a competency inventory function, it then becomes possible to match employee competencies with the job competency requirements.  This can be done in a couple of ways:
  • From the employee’s perspective, they are interested in finding out about the jobs within the organization that best match their competencies and career interests.  The tool should allow employees to search all or some jobs in the organization that best match their existing competencies, and identify where competency gaps exist.
  • From the organization’s perspective, the tool should allow managers to search the Employee Competency Inventory for those employees who best match a particular set of competency requirements.  This could be the competency profile for a particular job, or for example, competencies needed to ensure that a work team has the breadth of skills / competencies needed to meet a work demand. 

Reporting Functionality
It goes without saying that various reporting capabilities should be built into the software to allow for effective planning and decision-making.  This reporting capability should support not only individual managers in understanding the gaps and strengths on their team, but also broad-scale HR Planning to ensure that the organization has the necessary talent onboard to achieve its strategic vision and business goals.

Career Information, Guides and Manuals
Finally, an effective software system should support and communicate information about career development and career options within the organization.  This could include guides and manuals to support employees and managers as they undertake Career Planning and Development (e.g., self-help guides and tips on coaching for career development).  It could also include information on job opportunities and typical career paths and programs available to employees.  More advanced systems also incorporate social networking and knowledge management tools and processes to support collaborative learning and innovation with the workplace. 

The options are many, but the important thing is that the information available should be easy to access, user friendly and follow good principles for organizing and accessing this type of information consistent with best practices in web design.


Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Career Planning and Development solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Career Planning & Development Software, Part 1

Part 10 of 11 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Career Planning & Development 

This is the tenth in an eleven part series that looks at:
  1. Making the Case for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  2. Facts, Figures & Findings
  3. Career Planning & Development Defined
  4. Key Definitions of Career Planning & Development
  5. Framework for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  6. Best Practice Tools & Processes
  7. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 1
  8. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 2
  9. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 3
  10. Key Considerations for Software, Part 1
  11. Key Considerations for Software, Part 2
Career Development – An Integrated Talent Management Process

Career Planning & Development is a complex process that builds on, and integrates with a number of other key talent management processes.  In fact, Career Development is an integral element of the whole talent management cycle from acquiring new talent, to developing resources, as well as to ensuring your talent is performing to the standard needed by the organization.  Competencies provide the fundamental building blocks for doing this.

From an organizational perspective, it makes sense to design and implement tools and processes to support employee Career Development and advancement.  It empowers and encourages employees to develop themselves in line with organizational needs, providing a pool of qualified and motivated staff willing and interested in filling jobs and roles as they become vacant.  Performance Management and Learning processes also support Career Development, enabling employees learn and understand their strengths and areas for development, and can take actions to close gaps. 

Because of its complexity and links to other Talent Management processes, Career Planning & Development can be facilitated greatly by having well-defined and integrated online Talent Management software.

career planning and development software
What to look for in Software

Career Development typically involves multiple elements that are best supported through on an online system.  As noted in the previous post in this series, best practice organizations most often have a talent management system that stores and reports information on employee competencies.  These systems enable some or all parts of the Career Development process.  There are some key elements that should be looked at when considering a Talent Management system to address your Career Planning & Development needs.
  1. Does the software provide competency management tools?
  2. How is the individual and organization’s information structured?
  3. Does the tool have the capabilities to run competency assessments?
  4. Can you build learning plans to address competency gaps identified during the assessments?
  5. Does the tool have the ability to build employee competency and skill inventories?
  6. What are the capabilities to match employee competencies with the job competency requirements
  7. What is the reporting functionality?
  8. What additional information can be communicated to employees?

Over the next two blog posts, we will examine these questions and considerations in detail, starting with questions 1-3 below, and the remaining ones in the final post in this series. 

Competency Management Tools

Accommodating competency scales and proficiency levels
Most talent management systems come with a library or dictionary tool that stores your information on competencies.  But most are not flexible enough to store libraries of competencies that incorporate multi-level proficiency scales.  One-level competencies – i.e., competency name, definition and performance indicators - are fine when managing talent within positions or jobs (e.g., hiring into jobs, learning and development within jobs, performance management within jobs, etc.), but do not work that well when the organization or the employee is trying to draw relationships across jobs, such as would be the case for determining potential career ladders and paths within the organization. 

To illustrate from an example presented in a previous post in this series, a server in a restaurant might be expected to perform at Level 1 of Customer Focus -“Responding to immediate client needs”, whereas an executive in the restaurant chain may be responsible for “Ensuring continued service excellence” (Level 5 proficiency).  In this way, jobs can be mapped to the competency proficiency level needed and progression in proficiency can be established across different jobs and levels in the organization.  This type of competency scale helps in defining logical career paths and ladders across jobs, and thus supports Career Planning and Development.  The software that you select should be able to accommodate competency scales at the number of proficiency levels that have been adopted by your organization.

Building Competency-based Job Profiles
The competency management tool should also allow you to build job competency profiles and store this information in a format that is best for your organization.  CompetencyCore 5, for example, allows organizations to build comprehensive job profiles that incorporate:
  • the job title,
  • the main tasks or duties of the job,
  • the key competencies at the proficiency level needed for success in the job,
  • plus other key attributes or requirements the organization may wish to incorporate (e.g., educational / certificate requirements; key performance indicators; etc.). 

A good system should allow the organization to tailor the job profiles to meet its own needs, incorporating those elements that work best for it.  Such a tool also allows the organization to standardize job descriptions across the organization, a function that is particularly important in a multi-location or global organization.

Create Databases of Related Information
In addition, the Competency Management tool should organize and store databases of information mapped to the competencies in the library, for example, learning resources (e.g., on-job activities; courses and e-learning information; etc.) which allow both the employee and manager to plan for learning and career advancement based on the employee’s interests and learning style.

Organizational Structure Information
Surprisingly, many Talent Management software tools do not separate out employee competency information from competency requirements for positions within the organization.  It is important to be able to do this in order to determine potential career paths within the organizational structure independent of the individual employees filling the positions.  In this way, options for typical career paths and ladders within the organization can be mapped and displayed for employee reference.   As well, the organization can use this information to plan and develop career programs for high need / high risk job groups within the organization.

Competency Assessments
A key component for career development is being able to compare employee competencies against the competency requirements for jobs within the organization.  To do this, a competency assessment tool is essential.  These can take many forms, but a typical tool allows employees to self-assess against the competencies needed for various jobs within the organization using a survey with a rating a scale.  The output is a list of the competency strengths and gaps the employee possesses against the competency requirements for the job the employee is considering. 

Such tools should also allow for two-party assessment, for example between an employee and supervisor, or employee and mentor or coach.  This process could also be expanded to incorporate other input points, for example peers, subordinates, and even clients or customers, as would be the case with 360 or multi-source assessments.  By incorporating others in the assessment process, the employee gains another perspective on the competencies that he or she has, or needs to develop.


The next blog in this series focused on the remaining key questions and considerations for selecting career development software. Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Career Planning and Development solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Implementing Career Planning & Development, Part 3

Part 9 of 11 of the CompetencyCoreTM Guide to Career Planning & Development 

This is the ninth in an eleven part series that looks at:
  1. Making the Case for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  2. Facts, Figures & Findings
  3. Career Planning & Development Defined
  4. Key Definitions of Career Planning & Development
  5. Framework for Competency-based Career Planning & Development
  6. Best Practice Tools & Processes
  7. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 1
  8. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 2
  9. Implementing Career Planning & Development – Part 3
  10. Key Considerations for Software, Part 1
  11. Key Considerations for Software, Part 2
Determine the infrastructure and systems required to Support Career Development
Career Development is a complex process that typically involves multiple elements that are best supported through on an online system.  As noted in our previous blog, best practice organizations most often have a talent management software system that stores and reports information on employee competencies.  These systems enable some or all parts of the Career Development process, for example:
  • Employee / superior / multi-source competency assessment
  • Learning plan development and management
  • Catalogued learning resources categorized by competency and proficiency level
  • On-line registration for courses / programs
  • Job / role matching that compares employee competencies against targeted role / job requirements, and provides job best match list for employees based on their inventory of skills and competencies
  • Various reporting capabilities that support developmental programs and succession (e.g., lists of employees ready for targeted positions / role) as well as broader HR Planning, as well as
  • Guides and manuals to support employees and managers as they undertake Career Planning and Development (e.g., self-help guides and tips on coaching for career development)

Having defined your Career Development principles and philosophy as well as the fundamental tools and processes you wish to support through Career Development, it then becomes possible to evaluate and implement on-line systems and tools consistent with your requirements.

Build and incorporate basic competency-based elements to address broad organizational needs
No matter what system you choose, you will either need to configure it to meet your requirements (i.e., implement system settings that address your organization’s needs) and / or develop material to support employees and managers in undertaking effective career planning and development (e.g., Career Guidebooks; Coaching / Mentoring Guides; Learning Resources organized by competency; etc.).

Talent Management systems typically include elements that will support Career Development as noted above.  It is just a matter of configuring them to meet your specific organization’s needs

Develop and implement programs for high risk / high need job groups
Generally, organizations can implement tools and processes that will support most Job Group / Family needs; however, there are often high need / high risk groups that need extra attention.  It may be that programs have to be put in place to accelerate the development of employees in groups where there is, or will be a high turnover rate, such as might be the case with an aging workforce (e.g., baby boomer exodus).  In this case, organizations will often develop and implement special programs to address these challenges, which build on the basic tools and processes that are in place for the whole organization (e.g., competency assessment tools; career and job ladder information; etc.) as well as incorporate special elements to accelerate or focus development (e.g., target learning programs; planned and progressive developmental job moves; on-job assignments; specialized coaching / mentoring).  This is often the case for leadership levels within the organization, and I have also seen this approach employed when there is a significant challenge in ensuring that there is enough talent available to carry out a key function within an organization.  I have seen it used, for example, in a situation where Procurement Officers were in short supply within a governmental organization and the procurement processes could not tolerate any delays.

To summarize, Career Development is a complex process that builds on and integrates with a number of other talent management processes such as competency assessment, learning planning and needs analysis, performance feedback and management, promotional processes, to name just a few.  Because of its complexity and links to other Talent Management processes, it can be facilitated greatly by having well-defined and integrated online Talent Management software


The next blog in this series reviews the links between Career Planning and Development and other important Talent Management processes, as well as some of the things that you should be looking for in software to support Career Development. . Sign up to our blog’s mailing list through the form on the right-hand side to receive the rest of the series in your inbox.

HRSG is a leader in Competency-based Career Planning and Development solutions. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.



Want to learn more? Competency-based Talent Management, or CbTM, is the best practice for defining job requirements and building effective HR programs to develop skilled, engaged and productive workforces. Download this Best Practice Guide to learn how competencies can increase workforce effectiveness and improve business practices.