Action plan for using competency-based HR in your business

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Action plan for using competency-based HR in your business

Creating a competency framework can increase performance at an organizational level – as employees are hired based on competencies. However, pushing adoption of a competency framework can be challenging, especially in organizations that are resistant to change, or where managers fear restructuring.

Action plan for using competency-based HR in your business

Define Relevant Competencies

Many organizations start out with pre-defined competencies which must be customized to the company and to individual roles. Taking the time to define these competencies and the reasons behind them is the first step in fostering adoption and an improved hiring and evaluation process.

Organizational Competencies – Some competencies are required across the organization. For example, trustworthiness, agility, knowledge, competence, etc.

Personal Competencies – Some roles require very specific competencies. For example, an employee working in customer service must exhibit vastly different characteristics than someone working in IT. Defining specific competencies for management and skill leaders creates a framework for rewarding positive traits and behavior, developing a succession pipeline for leadership, and for rewarding experts.

Define How to Use Competencies

Recruiters and interviewers should know what to ask, what to look for, and why. They should be able to pick out desirable behaviors on a resume and should know what to ask in-interview to prompt candidates to reveal their behaviors.

Management should also have the tools to use competencies. They should know which behaviors foster competence and performance and which do not. They should have the ability to reward positive behaviors and to take initiative to offer training and development to those who show promise.

Identify Skill Gaps

Every organization will have competency gaps inside their own organization. Here are a few ways to identify them before they become a bigger problem.

  • Conduct a performance review on a team and individual level
  • Identify behaviors each person should display in their role
  • Highlight which competences missing and identify which can be learned and which cannot
  • Allocate resources to save costs and time when closing gaps by choosing to restructure or train employees where necessary

Identifying and closing gaps requires that managers have a clear understanding of organizational and role competencies and why they matter, so you must get management onboard.

Foster Incorporation and Engagement

Hiring and evaluating employees based on a competency framework means pushing adoption and buy-in from every member of the management and recruiting team. They should understand why the framework was developed and how they should use it – as well as how it will be updated and how they can change it to meet individual circumstances.

  • Connect competencies to business objectives
  • Connect competencies to personal growth and success – not just to business performance
  • Ensure that policies reward the behavior and competencies you want to see
  • Offer coaching and training where needed
  • Communicate and be open and honest about the whole process
  • Ensure that managers and employees understand how data is collected and why
  • Create a privacy standard for behavioral evaluation

The biggest challenge for using competency-based HR is adoption. However, once the competency framework is adopted throughout the organization – it will generate a culture of competence critical to the organization’s success.


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