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.