Philippines’ Top HR Blog

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Streamlining Recruitment with a Competency Framework

Hiring new employees is often a balance between choosing individuals with the hard skills and knowledge to perform well in a role and the personality and behavior to fit well into a company. Traditionally, recruiters create a profile of who they are looking for, and match potential candidates against that profile. Unfortunately, this process heavily focuses on technical skill and formal learning, often overlooking competencies such as attitude and behavior patterns, which can be equally as important.

Competencies show not only what an employee can do but also how and how well they utilize the resources at their disposal (tools, skills, knowledge) to complete their jobs. Using a competency framework as part of the recruitment process allows you to streamline this process by identifying those factors and therefore making better hires.

How competency frameworks streamline recruitment

Improving Interview Accuracy

Competency frameworks allow you to set up a structured interview, in which recruiters use standardized behavior-based questions to determine how candidates handled previous situations or theoretical ones. This allows you to score individual candidates based on how well they respond, which is more successful in predicting the candidate’s future behavior than using unstructured models.

This does mean using a competency framework to identify role-based competencies for the position you’re hiring for, but improves the accuracy of hires for both current and future roles. Creating a competency framework normally involves reviewing existing employees to identify which factors make them successful in a role – including their behavior, decisions, and actions – alongside technical skills and knowledge.

Improving Candidate Feedback

Identifying and using competency frameworks allows you to create and offer clear and rational responses when refusing candidates. This works to improve the overall hiring process by giving candidates something for their time while helping recruiters to better define what they are looking for based on clear reasons specific candidates are not suited for the position.

Reduced Turnover

Hiring employees whose behavior does not fit into a specific role often results in high levels of turnover. For example, hiring an experienced person with the right technical skills for a role does not make them competent or happy in that role if they are traditional and prefer to move slowly while the role requires a fast-paced and fast-adapting candidate. By identifying the specific behavior competencies that help candidates to excel in a role, you can improve job satisfaction as well as performance.

Reduce Costs

Looking for specific behavior parameters on top of technical skill and knowledge improves the effectiveness and efficiency of candidate selection – therefore reducing total costs. Competency-based recruitment is results oriented and measurable, allowing you to create a direct return on value in the recruitment process.

Competency frameworks give recruiters a framework of what success looks like in a role, allowing them to map candidates to behavior rather than looking for a generic profile. This, in turn, speeds up the recruitment process, allows better personality and behavior matching, and increases the chances of a good fit.


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Benefits of Using Competency Frameworks

Competency frameworks allow you to establish behavior and skills needed to perform well in your organization and in specific roles. This enables you to define what good work looks like at every level of the organization, highlighting both how the company works and how good work is performed by individuals. More importantly, a good competency framework defines both what an employee can do and how they do it, so that you create a solid process to define work.

However, the process of creating and integrating competency frameworks can be intimidating, long, and costly. If you’re considering competency-based hiring or performance management, you need to know that it will have a payoff. While the actual value of competency frameworks depends on their quality and how they are integrated, there are numerous benefits for organizations. From recruiting to assessment to performance management to succession planning, competency frameworks play a big role in the businesses that use them.

3 big competency framework benefits

Defining Success

Competency frameworks allow you to define success in a role and in your organization. If you can highlight the behaviors that are necessary to succeed in your company, you can streamline hiring. And, if you’ve defined what success looks like in each role and function of your organization, you can improve hiring and performance management. In short, you give your company a map for job expectations, career paths, and performance measurement by which you can measure, reward, and promote workers.

Improving Processes

When you know what you are looking for, when you know what target capabilities and skills to look for, and when you have identified behaviors that perform well in your role, you can improve hiring as well as internal processes and even succession planning. Any employee-based program is automatically based on the existing framework, helping you to set targets, define goals, and better define candidates. This also speeds up processes, because rather than redefining what is needed from a candidate each time and getting leaders to agree on targets, they’re already there.

Setting Clear Expectations

Using a competency framework allows you to define what is expected from employees, which will in turn, improve communication and performance. By defining competencies, you can:

  • Ensure that training and professional development is target based and productive
  • Offers employees a way to measure and improve their competencies while improving mobility
  • Track employee growth and competency improvement
  • Improve communication between management and the workforce by clarifying job standards and creating channels for constructive feedback
  • Set clear expectations for employees while creating a mechanism for recognizing high performers

Competency frameworks can allow you to recruit the right people and manage and ensure that the right people stay in roles where they are needed, while growing and measuring the success of workers. Competency frameworks can tie into every aspect of recruitment and performance management, as well as succession and pipeline planning – because you have the tools to measure, reward, and improve on the successes of your best employees.


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How Competency Frameworks Tie Into Employee Monitoring and Quality Assurance

Competency frameworks are increasingly integrated into organizational performance management to measure not only what employees do but also how they do it. This same data can be integral in creating a culture of management and quality assurance, by better defining what success looks like – so that managers have the tools to shift focus away from procedure and tradition and towards efficiency and meeting quality standards.

While this requires a certain level of competency from leaders, it also allows you to take steps to measure and verify the quality of work being completed using information already at your disposal.

Using Competency Frameworks for Monitoring

An organization’s competency framework is developed around both the skills and knowledge needed to complete tasks for a role and the behavior and attitudes required to perform well in the role. Actual monitoring is typically achieved using a 3-part process of watching and observing, benchmarking and actively using data, and offering feedback.

  • Assign managers to consistently monitor worker behavior over time
  • Benchmark data to establish performance norms, both for individuals and for roles (you can use this to identify high performers, when performance goes up/down, and to target those who are struggling inside the organization)
  • Make monitoring about both noting behaviors shown in key situations, such as when decision-making, learning, or meeting deadlines and offering real-time feedback and goal-oriented motivation.

Good Behavior Means Quality Work

The core of any competency framework is to either improve productivity or improve the quality of productivity. While some organizations lose sight of tying competencies to direct output such as organizational goals, production, or performance, your definition of good behavior should be those traits and behaviors which directly contribute to organizational goals, including quality.

  • Ensure that competencies are tied to performance (if you don’t have competencies tying into performance and direct organizational benefit, they will not help the company).
  • Establish competencies which directly tie into quality control (Asking for help, focuses on creating quality work, technically skilled, seeks out feedback and constructive criticism, flexibility, establishes clear work processes, etc.)
  • Monitor performance output with competencies to verify that the competencies in place line up with actual quality of work produced

Focusing Learning and Development on Competencies

While competency frameworks are valuable in assessing and identifying good work and behavior, they are also valuable for identifying competency gaps. Many organizations using competency models also offer competency training to help bridge gaps to allow employees to work to improve problem areas so that they can contribute more to the organization.

While competency frameworks are valuable at performance review, a well-integrated model offers those same benefits throughout the year, tying into ongoing employee monitoring and quality assurance


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Promoting Corporate Entrepreneurship with Competency Frameworks

The world is increasingly dynamic and flexible. Technology changes at a rapid pace. Organizations must increasingly be just as flexible and fast-paced to keep up. This is evident in the success of edgy entrepreneurial corporations like Uber and Bonobos, who went from nothing, to major corporations poised to take on the biggest traditional company. Corporate entrepreneurship is the process of promoting internal entrepreneurship, so that employees have the freedom and confidence to create efficiencies and new working methods for themselves – therefore improving the organization as a whole.

Competency frameworks can allow you to recognize and promote the behavior and freedoms contributing to this behavior.

Identifying and Encouraging Entrepreneurial Competencies

Competency frameworks work to identify specific behavior which contributes to entrepreneurial thinking. For example, you can highlight where behaviors like risk taking, trying new things, adaptability, and creative problem-solving come together to create new solutions and ideas.

By highlighting what contributes to a corporate culture of entrepreneurism, you can encourage it, reward it, and ensure that individuals have the operational freedom to make changes to how they work. This also requires self-motivation, a willingness to learn, and the ability to adjust and take small steps.

Failing Forward

Failing Forward is the concept that you have to fail before you can succeed. By allowing employees to fail, you can create a culture of constant small failures leading to big successes. For example, by allowing teams to try and do new things, even when they don’t necessarily succeed – you give everyone the opportunity to take small steps and test them at every step of the way to reduce risk – while having the ability to fail.

This risk-taking behavior can be extremely beneficial in a controlled environment, because developing new work methods, new tools, and new processes is increasingly important for organizations to even keep up with the competition. This requires an increased level of risk-acceptance behavior on an individual level, so that employees can try new things without risk of reprisal if they fail (providing they get approval first) and can look forward to a reward if they succeed.

Measuring Success

While many HR tactics have been used to build corporate entrepreneurship, many of those methods lack a solid way to measure success. When you allow failure, what does success look like? Competency frameworks allow you to define the behavior, attitudes, and product that lead to success. How? A person who is taking risks and trying new things isn’t necessarily doing so with the benefit of the entire company in mind. By identifying the total factors that play into success, such as keeping the total impact on the entire organization in mind, focusing on day-to-day work as well as long-term goals (a person spending all their time optimizing a process isn’t performing their job), and self-improvement which includes the ability to accept and give constructive criticism, you can identify what actually makes this behavior work.

Risk acceptance and encouraging individual contribution are the two primary factors playing into successfully increasing corporate entrepreneurship, and competency frameworks give you the tools to encourage, measure, and quantify risk-taking behavior, motivation, self-improvement and development, and the behaviors which add to total employee contributions to the organization.


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Integrating a Leadership Competency Framework

Excellence in an organization often starts from the top down. If your leaders including managers, board members, CEO, and other top staff are not behaving in a way that benefits the organization, you cannot expect the rest of the workforce to do so without them. Leadership competency frameworks allow you integrate new competency standards from the top up, first integrating and adjusting leadership and then onboarding the workforce.

While it is important that leadership competency frameworks never become standalone or separate from the competency framework as a whole, integrating or introducing competencies for leaders first gives you the ability to introduce and streamline the process where it matters most – the people guiding the rest of your workforce.

Providing Training

A leadership competency framework will give leaders a template for their own behavior, showing what is effective and what isn’t inside of a role. However, making the switch to new management styles often isn’t easy. Providing training and learning opportunities gives everyone the ability to adapt and learn new things. This, in turn, gives those who won’t succeed well with the new model the opportunity to recognize where they have to change in order to keep up.

Clearly Communicating What is Expected

Many organizations attempt to be ambiguous about what is expected from competency frameworks, simply because information can be translated in many different ways. While it’s true that allowing individuals to interpret competencies in ways that apply specifically to their situations can be valuable, this can backfire. By taking the time to identify and clarify points of confusion you ensure adoption and understanding. Offer clear examples of what good behavior is so that leaders know what is expected of them. Using behavioral statements as well as anecdotes, studies, and even case-studies of behavior inside the organizations can be extremely helpful for conveying a point. For example, if you can say “remember when X employee did this and achieved Y? What if X employee had done Z instead, a behavior that many of you do every day… would Y have still been achieved?”

  • Link expected behavior to outcomes and production
  • Make sure leaders understand why competencies exist. What’s the end-value?
  • Provide examples that fit your work culture and environment
  • Ask leaders to come up with their own examples to ensure understanding

Define Where and How Competencies Are Used

Leaders will eventually use competency frameworks to assess candidates for hire, for managing performance, for professional development, and for career planning for their workers. It’s crucial that they understand this and how those factors affect them and their own careers before they begin to use it.

For example, a common misunderstanding is that competency frameworks only come into play during end-of-year review. However, a good competency framework integrates into daily behavior, individual task management, and in guiding employees on how they should perform their job.

Introducing any new performance measurement tool will be met with resistance, even from leadership. The best path to success is to ensure that everyone involved has the information to see what it’s for, how it works, and what it will do. Providing adequate training and information also ensures everyone has the opportunity to get onboard.


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Key Behavioral Indicators for Employees

Key behavioral indicators for employees can help you to measure and reward high-performance. By predetermining which performance factors contribute positively to the organization or positively to an individual role, you can create a framework with which to measure success beyond simply meeting the requirements of the job. Key behavioral indicators are a crucial element of competency frameworks, because they give you the tools to guide leaders to accurately measure employee performance based on factors that impact total success in a role.

This is valuable not only during end-of-year performance measurement but also when determining employee rewards, selecting candidates for promotion, and choosing candidates to move into leadership and vertical roles (such as IT Manager to Senior IT Manager).

Organizational Key Behavioral Indicators for Employees

In most cases, it is crucial that you work to develop a list of organizational key behavior indicators, which applies to all employees in every role. This is developed at an organizational level to ensure that every employee shows the integrity, work ethic, and other behavioral standards expected of the organization as a whole.

For example: (The Employee)

  • Demonstrates and applies the knowledge and skills to perform their role effectively
  • Understands and works within company regulation and culture, following laws, policies, regulations, and procedures.
  • Continuously works to improve
  • Communicates with others, sharing and building knowledge with others
  • Collaborates with others across the organization, offering assistance and actively being helpful where needed
  • Effectively chooses and utilizes tools and knowledge to complete a task

These standards can help you to judge whether a person is being effective in their role rather than simply performing in it. For example, if you can identify that someone is not choosing efficient tools to do their work, that they are not communicating and not collaborating with others (and therefore slowing down work that relies on their expertise), and does not understand company procedure, you can easily identify that they are not a top employee, even if they are consistently meeting their own specific work output targets and goals because they aren’t contributing in any other way than direct tasks.

Role-Based Key Behavioral Indicators

While organizational-level key behavioral indicators are valuable for creating a company culture of communication and collaboration, you often need role-based KBI to measure the success of individuals in their roles. This means developing a custom competency framework to identify a) what success looks like in this role, b) which behaviors are necessary for success, c) which unlearnable behaviors are most crucial to this role (I.E., quick thinking, adaptability, willingness to work with others, etc.). Developing these key behavioral indicators makes it possible to measure individual roles, hire for those competencies, and measure how employees are contributing to the organization as a whole.

In almost every instance, developing custom key behavioral indicators is necessary for measuring individual success inside your company. However, most organizations work with an existing competency framework, adapted and customized to their individual organizational needs.


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Soar Higher: Harness the Power of Employee Engagement

Calling all passionate OD practitioners to join us this coming May 2, 2018 and learn about the best practices in effectively engaging your workforce talent! We will be hosting a public seminar on how to Harness the Power of Employee Engagement.

This learning session will cover the importance of employee engagement to every talent, management, and organization. It will likewise explore universal fundamentals, and ultimately equip you to positively increase the engagement level of your talents. Powerful tools that will help you grasp the nuances of your organization’s engagement level and the drivers for such, as well as best practices in using data from climate surveys, will be explored.

Register Now

This session is a must-attend for OD practitioners, especially those from organizations that have 100 employees or more.

Course Outline

  • The Valuable Role of Employee Engagement
  • Definition of Employee Engagement
  • Foundations of Employee Engagement
  • Current Trends
  • Diagnostic Tools: Climate Surveys, FGDs, and Interviews
  • Formulating the most cost-effective solution/intervention to increase employee engagement

The investment for this course is P799 plus VAT.

Register Now

About the Facilitator

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas is a Wiley-Certified Everything DISC Trainer and a licensed Psychologist.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude in her Ph.D. Psychology at UST.  She also obtained a Diploma in Public Management from UP Diliman as a government scholar.

Dr. Caparas is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with extensive and invaluable services in both government and corporate offices. She served as Vice President of HR in New San Jose Builders, Inc. In GMA Network, Inc., she wrote for Kapuso Magazine as Managing Editor. She also became the Dean of the Graduate School at the Manila Central University.

Currently, aside from serving as a Consultant for Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc., she teaches part-time at UST and De La Salle University.  She has authored four books in Psychology and Human Resource Management. Already a fulfilled academician and HR and OD practitioner, she has received a number of awards and recognition.


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Disruptive HR: Getting Ready for a More Dynamic Digital World

Please join us on April 20 for a public seminar on Disruptive HR: Getting Ready for a More Dynamic Digital World at the Golden Prince Hotel and Suites in Cebu. This half-day seminar is designed to keep HR professionals informed of the changing landscape of fundamental HR practices, in relation to the future of jobs.

With so many disruptive changes in our highly dynamic and digital world, HR is now called upon as a strategic business partner and the driver of change and success in organizations. The interactive learning session will cover what disruptive changes are occurring now (and coming our way), and how to adapt.

Register Now

The investment for this course is P699.

About the Facilitator

Ms. Ruby Mañalac currently works as the Director for Marketing and Distributor Networks for Profiles Asia Pacific, Inc., and previously, she was the Director for Operations and Training Manager. She has worked for various organizations mostly in the field of Sales, Marketing, Communications, and Training, not just in the Philippines, but also overseas. She’s recognized for her excellence in the fields that she worked on, gaining various awards like Top Rookie President’s Award in New York and New Jersey, USA.

A graduate of AB major in Communication Arts in UST, her other achievements include a certificate in Human Resources Planning and Acquisition from the University of Makati under PMAP, a certified GENOS Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, and just last August 2017, she flew to Sydney, Australia to get certified at the IGNITE Train the Trainers GENOS Emotional Intelligence Program.

She’s very open to learning, attending training events not just in the Philippines but also abroad. Her advocacy on Emotional Intelligence led her to be interviewed by ANC and CNN Philippines.


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Competency Frameworks for Succession Planning and Career Paths – Part 2: Creating a Talent Pool

This is part 2 of our blog resource on Competency Frameworks for Succession Planning and Career Paths. Take a look at part 1 here.

Creating a Talent Pool

Once you’ve identified behaviors and competencies which contribute to success inside of critical roles, you can begin to develop a talent pool. This means identifying high-potential employees, reviewing their strengths and weaknesses and working to create strategies so that they and others can close those gaps and prepare for their potential new role.

This involves creating a small pool of employees who can receive leadership development, training, and even organization sponsored education to prepare them to step into a higher role.

Most consider:

  • Behaviors that contribute to success
  • Education level/qualifications
  • Years within the organization
  • Willingness to learn and develop themselves

Many companies also benefit from offering a broader employee development program open to each individual in the company, which allows self-motivated individuals to pursue learning and new roles. This removes some of the need for advanced evaluation and interviewing to qualify candidates for development programs – but may cost more in total to the organization.

Once a talent pool is identified, you can score their competencies based on what is needed for potential future roles. Mentoring programs, developmental assignments, stretch assignments, formal training, and action learning are each extremely valuable in development planning.

A competency framework gives HR the behaviors and competencies needed in candidates, allowing you to put together comprehensive training to develop those with desired qualifications and behaviors so that they are highly qualified for a role when it becomes available. In this way, organizations can ensure employee loyalty, reduce total costs, and reduce downtime because of gaps in crucial roles.


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Competency Frameworks for Succession Planning and Career Paths – Part 1: Identifying Behaviors and Competencies

Creating a succession pipeline is one of the most difficult tasks given to HR. In most cases, filling roles internally and promoting existing employees up is more affordable and more effective than bringing an outsider into a crucial role – but without competency frameworks, most succession planning models are based on output in roles that may not relate to leadership positions.

Competency frameworks identify key behaviors crucial to individual roles, allowing you to identify who can succeed in new roles, and who is better suited to moving up inside of their own role (I.E. into a senior role) rather than into leadership.

Identifying Future Gaps

Whether through retirement, moving on to new roles, or even promotion, companies often lose highly qualified talent and often frequently. Unfortunately, with no ready pool of qualified replacements, many of these roles remain vacant for months before being filled by a new employee, who must first learn the company and its culture before she can be effective.

Gap analysis helps you to reveal where gaps will appear based on projected departure, retirement, and internal promotion.

  • Expected retirees
  • Retirement eligible
  • Internal promotions
  • Unexpected losses

Once you’ve identified where you will face gaps, you can move on to filling them. This also means identifying critical roles inside your organization, which cannot be left empty and are therefore prime candidates for succession planning.

Behaviors that Contribute to Success in the New Role

With a competency framework in place, you can identify the factors and behaviors which contribute to success inside of a role that will soon be left empty. This will then allow you to target unlearnable behaviors or difficult to learn behaviors (such as honesty, creativity, flexibility, strong problem solving, people skills, etc.), and work to identify candidates inside of your company that already meet those needs. But, unlike with traditional hand selection and grooming, a competency model allows you to publicly share what success looks like inside that role, so each individual knows what they have to do and to learn in order to be promoted.

Take a look at part 2 of this resource, creating a talent pool, here.


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