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Why Career Planning Without Competency Models Is Just Scary!

The story is often the same.  An employee is told that if they are interested in other job opportunities, they should look at the company’s career maps, a pre-defined path for typical progression that usually shows what it looks like if you want to move up within a particular function.  But is that realistic today? With many choosing to retire later, and the scarcity of available positions, moving up may not be an option.  And with an increased awareness and desire for work/life balance, people are often more interested in expanding their breadth than in moving up to management. 

The other alternatives including “talking to HR”, which could be difficult due to the scale of the organization or comfort level of the individual, or “talking with your manager”, which could be difficult if the manager isn’t good at conducting career discussions, doesn’t understand the skill requirements of roles outside their function, or doesn’t want to lose a good employee.

According to Career Systems International, career growth and learning and development are among the top engagement and retention factors for employees today.[i] Organizations want to be able to help people achieve their potential, and use that as a value proposition for recruiting, but supporting the promise may fall short.

An easy solution is competency models.  Because competency models identify the role-specific skill requirements and behavioral examples of those skills, they have the ability to empower each employee to own their own career planning.  This eliminates the HR or manager tollgates.

Once you have the competency models developed, enable people to self-assess against the skill requirements for the role or roles they might want next, so they can evaluate whether or not they want that role, and if so, what skill development they should pursue to prepare themselves.  In this way, they can explore in a safe environment, and then be able to take skill development requests to their manager, once they know what they want to pursue. 

Ask yourself, “Do we want to be able to attract and retain our people?”  And if the answer is yes, put the scary loss of retention behind you.  Explore how competency models and a competency assessment tool used for career planning can provide employees with a reason to stay, your managers with the ability and confidence to support data-driven career conversations, and HR with the ability to manage career planning at scale.  


[i] Tan, Wendy and Crowell, Beverly.  Organizations and Managers Must Reassess How They View Career Development.  TD Magazine:  9/8/2015.  https://www.td.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2015/09/Orgs-and-Managers-Must-Reassess-How-They-View-Career-Dev

Also at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/why-career-planning-without-competency-models-just-scary-cheryl-lasse and https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Career-Development-Blog/2016/02/How-to-Use-Competency-Models-for-Career-Planning



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