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.

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