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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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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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How Competency Frameworks Relate to Performance Management

Competency frameworks allow you to define expected behaviors and skills, at an individual level for roles and at an organizational level for the entire company. This model is obviously invaluable for the hiring process, allowing you to vet candidates based on hard skills as well as behavior and responses to determine if they are capable of filling the role well – but also increasingly valuable for performance management and end of year review. By determining what makes a role successful, you can more easily judge when and why an existing employee performs well in their role, when they outperform, and how to improve their performance.

Managing Performance as a Culture

Many organizations manage performance at one or two points throughout the year, but not on a daily basis. Integrating competency frameworks allows you to judge if individual behavior contributes to a role. For example, if a person in customer service is routinely short, rude, or non-communicative, they’re obviously not fit for the role and will likely be moved or fired. But, we rarely apply those same behavioral considerations to other roles. A manager must be open, willing to invest in the success of her team over herself, a teacher, and a leader. If she doesn’t demonstrate those behaviors, is she performing well in her role?

A well-designed competency framework will clearly define organizational values, focus job and career development, assist employees in managing job and career satisfaction, and work to organize individuals towards personal development.

Competency is Not Performance

Recognizing that someone has competencies and seeing them perform are separate things. A person may have all the required competencies, and still not perform well in a role. So, performance management must be separated from competency frameworks. Competency correlates with performance in that you can see how people are working. At the same time, motivation, drive, and commitment play a big part, so that a person who is highly competent may be demotivated and underperforming and a less competent person may be overperforming. You can gauge how employees are performing using competency frameworks, but you still have to gauge what they are doing separately.

Competency-based performance management is a good solution when combined with traditional performance management. Competencies give you more tools to measure how employees are working and how they are contributing. If you know what success in a role looks like, you can look for it, and measure accordingly. But, it’s not the only factor. Physical output and production still matter a great deal. You need both, and each is complementary to the other.


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How HR Can Help to Build Trust in the Workplace

This is a guest post from Laura Greene. Laura is one of the content managers for TrustedEmployees – creative people who provide employment screening solutions to organizations of all kinds through personalization, innovation, and dedication.

In 2014, Interaction Associates conducted a poll on “Building workplace trust: Trends and high performance.” Part of the poll involved Interaction Associates interviewing employees and asking them questions about levels of trust in the workplace. Some of the results were quite shocking. Understandably, 80% of employees reported that they needed to trust their co-workers and boss in order to perform well at their job.

However, it was found that over 50% of employees didn’t trust their boss and 54% had no trust in their company. By these statistics, most employees reportedly feel as though they are unable to perform effectively due to lack of trust in the workplace.Trust is the foundation of any relationship- without it, the relationship cannot survive.

If this trend of employee distrust continues, it could ruin entire companies. So what is the solution? To the surprise of many, the solution may be Human Resources.

It’s no secret that HR isn’t the most popular sector of the company. While many employees may show signs of distrust towards Human Resources, it may, ironically, be the answer to eradicating distrust in the workplace. Human Resources has more power than many employees realize. They know everything about everyone and keep tabs on employees to ensure that they are doing their jobs so that the company can run smoothly.

How exactly can Human Resources help to build trust in the workplace? We’re sharing 3 practical ways to achieve workplace security and trust.

How HR can help build trust in the workplace

Place emphasis on confidentiality

If the goal is to increase trust in the workplace, HR has to lead by example. While it’s true that Human Resources employees are part of the workplace, too, they must navigate this role while also keeping in mind that they are part of the team that safeguards employee confidentiality.

For example, if a HR employee shared details about another employee that was meant to be kept private, employees that hear this gossip won’t feel safe sharing their own information with Human Resources.

On the flipside, if an employee sees an HR employee who is strict about keeping employee information confidential, they will feel much more comfortable sharing with Human Resources; they will also trust their coworkers and boss more because they won’t have to worry about them knowing their personal information.

Thus, employees will follow suit and gossip less about coworkers’ private lives because they can see this “rule” being upheld by HR.

Be genuine

HR must be trustworthy if they want employees to trust them. In addition to prioritizing confidentiality, Human Resource employees need to show genuine care and concern for employees.

If HR is proactive about building trusting relationships with employees and is passionate about advocating for them, employees will be able to confidently place their trust in HR.

By proving that they genuinely care about the well-being of employees, employees will feel more comfortable in the workplace and more trusting of their own employees and boss because they know that HR has their back should any issues arise.

Don’t pick favorites

When you were in elementary school, you knew who the teacher’s favorites were. Even if the teacher didn’t explicitly state this, you could tell by how they acted towards certain students that they liked those ones more than the rest of the class.

It’s not a good feeling to be left out, is it? That fact remains true well into adulthood.

If Human Resource employees spend all of their time with just two or three employees, other employees will likely feel left out and become suspicious. The employees that clearly aren’t the “favorites” will, understandably, begin to question why HR spends so much time with only a few employees and will wonder what it is they talk about- particularly whether or not they themselves are the subject of office gossip.

By picking favorites, HR could completely ruin employee confidence. In order to instill trust in HR and others in the workplace, HR needs to build personal relationships with every employee and treat all employees equally, both in and out of the office.

If Human Resources uses their power and influence correctly, they can create a workplace environment that is based upon high levels of trust between employees and coworkers, as well as employees and bosses. By prioritizing confidentiality, always being genuine and avoiding favoritism, employees will be able to see that HR is on their side.

When employees can see that Human Resources exists to support them, ensure that they are comfortable in their work environment and encourage them to do their best work, they’re more likely to be more trusting. If they are fair and honest, Human Resources has the transformative power to make an incredibly positive change in the workplace.


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Outsourcing vs. Creating Your Own Competency Framework

Competency frameworks give you the tools to gauge an employee’s ability to perform well in a role based on behavior, personality, and hard skills – allowing to go beyond using what’s on paper to determine how people actually perform. But, while undeniably valuable, many companies struggle with determining what’s needed and why. Creating a competency framework can require months or even years of research – leading many to outsource

However, with many pros and cons to each outsourcing and creating your own competency framework, it’s important that you consider more than simply costs.

Outsourcing Competency Frameworks

Outsourcing a competency framework means connecting with an external company that already has a significant amount of benchmarked data, an established process, and “fill in the blanks” data which they can quickly and easily customize based on your specific company. Many have industry-specific solutions, which can be easily and cost-effectively updated for your company – giving you a competency framework you can establish quickly and at minimal cost.

Developing Your Own

Many organizations choose to develop competency frameworks internally, either using existing benchmarked data or starting from scratch. This involves considerable internal research to map competencies to roles, source objectives, source an organizational and management framework, and ensure ongoing improvement.

This means aligning business, sourcing and strategy to create a single list of objectives, identifying competencies, mapping existing competencies to success across teams and roles to ensure that they are effective and important, developing a framework for teams and relationships to develop collaboration and ensure that persons with competencies are available where needed, and establish a framework for monitoring performance and effectiveness.

You have to develop internal resources to:

  • Analyze existing job roles and what makes them productive
  • Interview leaders and workers and compile data
  • Structure how competencies contribute towards end-goals
  • Define how each competency contributes and why

Choosing the Best Solution for Your Organization

If you can successfully handle internal research and analysis, building your own competency model from the ground up may be beneficial. However, most organizations benefit considerably more by bringing in not only third-party research but also a third-party perspective. Outsourcing allows you to adopt research compiled across your industry – but have it customized and modified to meet your company’s specific needs. Because the bulk of the work is already finished, you can easily identify what applies to your company, create management and leadership frameworks around it, and develop accordingly, rather than starting with nothing.


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Understanding Why Employees Suddenly Leave

This is a guest post by Eric Czerwonka of Buddy Punch.

Ever wonder why good employees leave?

Employees can quit their job for any number of reasons, like moving away or changing careers. Most of the time, a departure is the result of an accumulation of different problems –all of which have added up, and compounded, leaving them with no choice but to start looking elsewhere for a job.

In most cases, employees often leave due to circumstances or occurrences that are entirely preventable. In fact, in most cases, there are warning signs that an employee is going to leave, even if they’re easy to overlook.

While there’s no way to reduce employee turnover to zero percent, there is a lot that you can do to boost workplace morale and help to ensure that the workplace is one where your team can thrive and grow. Having a positive workplace environment will help to improve employee engagement and retention.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at one of the main reasons that employees suddenly leave, to help you combat employee turnover and keep your good employees longer.

Why do employees leave? Poor Management

People leave managers, not companies.

According to a Gallup poll of more one million employed U.S. workers, the number reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Some 75 percent of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses; not the position itself.

Regardless of how great the position is, or how well-paid the employees are, if your management isn’t as it should be, your employees will soon be looking for another job. If you are looking to retain workers, then you should start by investing in your management.

Poor management practices lead to problems

Additional Stress

Not having a good management system in place can cause unnecessary stress on your employees. If there is additional stress that isn’t being dealt with and not going anywhere, your employees will be looking for the quickest exit possible, even if that means walking off the job.

Low Morale

While you don’t have to constantly dish out compliments, it’s important to express your sincere appreciation and gratitude to your employees.

Don’t think it makes a difference?

Consider this: 76 percent of employees who do not feel valued are looking for other job opportunities. That’s significant! Employees who feel valued perform better and are less likely to abandon ship.

Lack of Communication

When your managers aren’t communicating, there will be chaos within the company. A lack of communication is not only frustrating, but it can also be dangerous and stressful.

No one likes to work in a place with no direction, and if your manager isn’t stepping up to lead then no one will know what’s expected of them. This can cause frustration among employees and lead to unneeded tension and stress.

A good manager not only understands their team, they also are in tune with their needs and abilities. They are able to recognize when an employee is feeling run down or overworked and can take efforts to help ensure that a good employee stays around.

Having the right time management tools also make it easy for you to offer your team flexible hours, or even the ability to work from home once or twice a week, something that most employees will appreciate, and both of which can go a long way toward helping them to find a work-life balance, and boosting morale.

It’s no wonder that employees who feel that management is lacking are quick to leave. If you are finding your employee turnover rate is higher than it should be, you might take a minute to look at your management and see if there are areas that can be improved to make a better work environment for your employees.

How do you work to reduce employee turnover?


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