How can I make a long competency model manageable?

Photo by  Matt Artz  on  Unsplash

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Analyze the time for assessment

Once you’ve completed competency model development, perhaps by using the method we describe in this ATD webinar with these resources, you may discover there are simply too many tasks and competencies for a reasonable competency assessment. The assessment process typically takes a person 1 minute per task and keeping it less than 30 minutes is a competency assessment best practice. Too long and you’ll lose the intrinsic motivation you’re trying to create. There is no hard or fast rule, but most of our customers have between 15 – 30 tasks against which people assess.

 

Ask what’s critical to success during the competency model workshop

During the competency modeling process, we recommend that you ask the high performers to identify which of those things they do that really separates good from great. That’s the easiest way to identify the critical few.

 

Consider the skills of the future for that role

However, there is another aspect that goes beyond what the high performers provide. This has to do with strategic workforce planning and identifying those skills that the organization believes will differentiate it in the future, or those skills which are changing or becoming more critical.

  • For example, there may be a particular technology that will drive competitive advantage, and you want to be sure to call out that technology separately, so you can easily identify organizational experts.

  • Or you know that many people with a particular expertise are retiring, and you need to know which experts remain, so you can leverage them to create new experts (“nexperts”).

  • Then there are the fourth industrial revolution (future of work) skills which are proving so important today. Things like data analysis, critical thinking, dealing with ambiguity and change, learning agility, influencing, and collaboration. You want to be sure that these are considered during the competency modeling process, and that those identified as relevant remain a focus.

A hybrid approach between what you get from high performers and critical skills of the future works best.

 

Competency model iteration over time

Then you iterate. Launch the competency assessment, but remember, it’s always in beta. Your competency models are not fixed in stone. You put them out there, get feedback, get ratings data, and you continue to iterate it (typically annually or biannually) to capture changes in strategy, in tools, in technology, and in the environment in which you operate, so you can always focus on the critical competencies for that point in time.