What are competencies?
They are skills and attitudes that need to be demonstrated and maintained by people working in different areas of the corporation.
Why are competencies needed?
They are essential for optimal performance, credibility, effectiveness, operational standards, profitability, people growth and development, succession planning and corporate viability.
Competencies have value and power if:
- Well defined
- Structured and strategically trained
- Supported by coaching
- Embraced by management
- Discussed, reviewed and supported at every coaching session, meeting, etc…
The PROCESS (this describes the process as it starts from “scratch”. In many cases, work can start at any of sections 1 to 6 depending on the situation)
How are competencies defined in an organization?
1. Identify the field of expertise and business environment. Identify the competencies, skills, knowledge and attitudes required of that area.
Ex. Auto repair/mechanic:
- Understand engines
- Use the tools
- Able to diagnose problem
- Fix automobiles
- Evaluate wear and tear, etc…
2. Identify and define customers and their needs. A corporation has to know who their potential customers are, meet with them and understand what they expect from the company and its employees.
Customers are middle class and well educated. They generally care for vehicle and have good understanding for what is done.
Need honesty, ability to explain problem and solution, provide plan for future repairs and maintenance, optimal diagnosis and repair time, options for parts (new vs. retooled), etc…
3. Identify and define corporate needs in relation to vision and values. The vision is normally defined in relation to the business environment and the customers’ needs. If group has determined that they want to be considered as best garage to bring your car because they have best mechanics, honest pricing and repair philosophy and that they want long term relationship with customer. Then competencies may be:
- Ability to communicate and understand customer for all employees
- Team work
4. Who is accountable for what? After competencies defined, they need to be attributed to each group. Some will be germane to all; other will be specific to job and responsibilities.
Ex. All employees need to be honest and have integrity. Mechanics and their supervisors need competency at using tools and equipment, office staff is accountable for billing and telephone customer service, etc…
5. Identify group and generic competencies and establish links between levels of supervision.
Ex. If mechanics need to use tools effectively, what are their supervisors’ accountabilities? In this case, they have to understand the use of tools and be able to provide coaching on their use.
In many cases, supervisors may not need to be experts at a skill but need to be able to coach and support those who are the experts.
6. Write competencies for each group in a manner that is specific enough to be understood and generic enough to allow some flexibility.
Ex. “Will manage allocated budgets in order to maximize the ROI while respecting the budget limitations.”
7. Establish and define levels of competencies. This defines how competencies are developed to reach certain standards in accordance to the vision, values and seniority. Beginners cannot perform at the same level as seasoned employees. A minimum needs to be established as well as a path for them to increase their competency level. It is suggested to keep levels at 3, 4 or 5. Clear variations in definition have to be established and explained from one level to the other. Levels are associated with compensation structure.
Example based on step 6 being level 1. The level 2 for the same competency can be: “Will manage allocated budgets in order to maximize the ROI while respecting the budget limitations. Managers will also be able to strategically define optimal budget changes for coming years”
8. Establish training and coaching structures for the identified competencies and the people accountable.
Ex. All new employees go through 1 week of basic training followed by phase II 6 months later and phase III after 1 full year. Updates on supervision skills are offered once a year. Etc…
9. Develop and foster an effective training and coaching model to be used by managers or people responsible for people management.
Ex. All managers or supervisors are trained on coaching and management and use the skills and methods to help employees identify, understand and develop the skills outlined in the Competency Model.
10. Include the defined competency model in the core values and direction of the corporation. These competencies need to be understood by all as well as reinforced and valued. Every corporate activity needs to be congruent with competencies in one way or another.
Ex. Meetings need to be run with core competencies in mind. For example, if people are accountable for clearly explaining repairs, the corporation needs to do the same and provide proper information for decisions.
11. Competencies are reviewed during formal and informal performance appraisals. Ideally, this is done 3-4 times each year in order to:
- Reinforce strengths that people have
- Recognize great performance and plan the future
- Identify and clarify needs for improvement before they become a problem
- Give people a fair chance to improve
- Address important issues early for optimal actions
- Establish the value of competencies
- Be congruent with the Vision and Values established
12. Competencies are reevaluated and redefined if necessary due to:
- Lack of clarity
- Changing business environment
- Change in Vision
Example of program development built for a current client
Objectives of the meeting were to:
- Define the overarching goal
- Understand where we are going
- Define priorities
- Define who needs to be involved in the US and globally
- Identify the key stakeholders
- Decide if the project needs to be global
- Establish next steps and timetable
- Set criteria for a proposal by Aseret Congruence LLC
- Describe some core competencies
The project was defined and separated in key blocks
The overreaching goal is to Attract, Train and Retain the Best marketing Talent
Establish Values and Attributes pertaining to the Corporation and the Marketing Team
Develop a Competency Model which defines a set of Core Competencies and Skill Levels for all marketing positions
Develop a Career Path Model which includes:
- The framework for a succession plan
- A clear and manageable development plan
- A training curriculum
The Career Path may influence the manner in which other departments train and develop their people
This Career Path may also help in the building of a global corporate Model
- Create understanding and ownership to encourage people take to charge and be responsible for their development
- Establish a marketing manager coaching model (toolbox) and a common people management language
- Develop an assessment strategy to measure the impact of the Career Path
- Expected outcomes
- Ensure optimal motivation of the Teams
- Ensure long-term retention of highly skilled and motivated (dedicated) people
- Determine what and who will ensure the success of the Teams and Products (Hiring Criteria and Model)
- Create synergy
- Inspire buy-in and ownership of all 3 Business Unit Teams
The development of the Career Path is based on a consultative approach including the involvement of two (2) groups of active participants
The CORE GROUP will be involved in the determination and definition of the core competencies to be included in the Competency Model.
This group will ensure delivery of the project objectives
It will be responsible to communicate milestones (may be done through outside consultant) to all stakeholders
The members of this CORE GROUP must be:
- Subject matter experts
- Influential leaders in Company
- Committed to the time necessary to the effective and timely completion of the project
And represent the following groups of influence:
- Training, 1 member
- Human Resources, 1 member
- Marketing, 3 members
The SPONSOR GROUP will be involved as consultants and advocates to the project.
This group will ensure the integrity and synergy of the project across departments and functions
It may also be involved in getting the endorsement of the International Business Unit Heads
The members of this SPONSOR GROUP must be:
- Influential Corporate leaders
And represent the following groups of influence:
- Human Resources, 1 member
- Business Unit Head(s),
- Global Representative, 1 member
- Sales Leader, 1 member
Example of Competency Model: