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.

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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.

1 comment:

  1. Verification and validation techniques applied throughout the development process enable you to find errors before they can derail your project.
    they are involved in lot of process improvements which will actually help the clients to deliver best software.

    software validation