Posts tagged Competency Assessment
How do I ensure a results-oriented competency model?
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Build the model correctly

A competency model defines what each person in their role needs to be able to do, specifically, in order to perform their part of corporate strategy. If your competency model does that, without extraneous detail, then your competency model will be results-oriented, in fact, tied directly to corporate objectives and needs.

Follow the steps documented here to build a role-based competency model correctly.  

 

At a high level, the competency model tasks describe what someone must do.

The behavioral examples describe how someone must do the task.

 

Include skills of the future

With the pace of change and speed of business, including the incorporation of digitization and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, to be truly results-oriented, you need to be looking ahead. What tasks and skills will someone need not just to do their job today, but to make the people, and therefore the organization, competitive tomorrow? These are things like learning agility, critical thinking, data analysis, and influencing.

 

Reflect the organization’s business values

Created models should also reflect business values. The tasks and skills in the model define what that individual needs to do to be successful. If your organization values customer focus above all else, then it is likely that every job in the company will have some skill in their model that reflects internal or customer focus.

 These values might also be reflected in the behavioral examples of many tasks. That is, even a technical task such as “Create software functional specifications” might have examples that describe how to apply customer focus, for example, “Engage cross-functional stakeholders to ensure their needs are being met by the specifications.”

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
3 ways to ensure you frustrate and disengage your employees

What’s the sure fire way to frustrate and disengage your employees?

  1. Don’t tell them what they need to do to be successful

  2. Don’t give them the ability to see if they have the skills to accomplish what they need to do

  3. Don’t give them the opportunity to close skill gaps 

In the Deloitte study on Human Capital Trends[1], skill gaps and employee engagement problems are at the top of mind of 87% of the leaders in HR and executive management. Only 14% of L&D leaders believe business leaders view them as strategic partners, with 52% seen as mediocre partners or worse. This is because the skills gap crisis and employee disengagement continue to grow, and leadership doesn’t see Learning & Development as the solution. (Read more in this white paper)

Want to ensure that your business leaders DON’T view you as a strategic partner? Follow these 3 steps.

 

1) Don’t tell them what they need to be successful

A role-based competency model describes what it looks like to be great in each role. It defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy. It’s a roadmap to be great. And it’s never been more important than with the speed of change, the impact of digitization and artificial intelligence on jobs, and the scarcity of good talent. If you don’t want to tell your employees what they need to be successful, don’t create and use a competency model for each role.

 

2) Don’t give them the ability to see if they have the skills to accomplish what they need to do

To make competency modeling actionable, you need to enable people in that role to self-assess against it and identify skills gaps relative to their work. If you don’t want to give your employees the ability to see if they have the skills required for their role, and you don’t want to intrinsically motivate them to bridge their skill gaps, don’t enable them to perform a skills assessment with a skills assessment system/competency assessment system.

 

3) Don’t give them the opportunity to close skill gaps

After people have performed a skills assessment for their job and know what specific skill gaps they have, you need to automate the identification of competency-based learning relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. This eliminates guesswork. It accelerates learning transfer. It drives behavior change. It creates a culture of learning and learning agility that experts say is the key to sustainable competitive advantage. If you don’t want to give your employees the opportunity to close their job skill gaps, don’t provide a personalized learning plan. Just hope that their managers can coach them up.

 

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning

Also found on LInkedIn and ATD

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
3 steps to ensure your competency model is flexible and adaptable
Photo by  Pierre Bamin  on  Unsplash

Your competency model should always be in beta.  Competency models describe what someone in a particular role should be able to do to perform their part of corporate strategy.  They paint a picture of what it looks like to be great in a job.  If your strategy is changing regularly (and I believe that for your organization to continue to survive, it will), then your competency model has to change/adapt as well.  You need to communicate to the organization that your competency models will be changing over time.  Be sure that it doesn’t take an act of Congress for these changes to be made – it has to be part of the cultural understanding that models will adapt and are never “done”.

There are 3 steps to ensure you can adapt your competency model easily. 

  1. Support changes easily.

    When you make the model accessible and assessable, your competency assessment system must support making these changes easily.  If it’s too difficult, it won’t happen, and then your competency model will be out of sync with strategy, and out of sync with the skills people need to be successful in their role.  That means the skill gaps you’re measuring won’t be the ones that are most important.

  2. Solicit feedback naturally.

    Add a feedback mechanism within your competency assessment tool (and communicate actively that you want feedback) so that you put it out there, you get feedback, and you continue to iterate the model and the behaviors to capture changes in tools, in technology, and in the environment in which you operate.  Have a defined process to do something with the feedback in a timely manner.

  3. Schedule regular reviews

    Have a rhythm for periodically re-examining the model for changes.  Maybe 2x/year, or after a transformation, merger or acquisition, or product launch.  Much like the process for creating the competency model, we recommend sending out the tasks and behavioral examples and targets in a Word document (track changes on) to 4 - 6 high performers, and a manager of people in that role.  Give them a few days to review and edit.  Consolidate edits and conduct a 1-2 hour virtual workshop to discuss and finalize updates.  Then make the updates within the competency assessment tool immediately.

If you want people to keep up with the speed of business, you need to be sure you provide them with accurate tools to help them do that.  Follow these steps to ensure your competency models remain current and you will ensure people always know what skills they need to be successful, and what that looks like. 

For more details on creating a competency model, go to https://skilldirector.com/how-to-build-competency-models.

Also at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/3-steps-ensure-your-competency-model-flexible-adaptable-cheryl-lasse

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
GASP! I just created learning that doesn’t transfer and they can’t get up!

If you create learning that doesn’t transfer, then you too will keep your target audience from “getting up” in skills and business results. By that I mean, no addressing skill gaps, and no improving results.

Why employee disengagement occurs

In a Deloitte study[1], less than 25% of Line Managers believed their Learning & Development (L&D) departments were critical to achieving their business goals. That is not surprising given related findings on learner disengagement. It is cause and effect.

If the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job and their needs, they will be disengaged in any learning.

--> If the employee is disengaged in the learning process, then L&D efforts are mitigated – any learning opportunities will have minimal effect.

--> If minimal effect occurs, then skill levels do not improve.

--> If there are no skill level improvements, then business results do not improve.

--> If employees participate in training programs, and positive business results do not follow, then Line Managers are likely to lose faith in the ability of L&D to contribute.

Why does this happen?  It’s a likely scenario when you don’t know what skills people need. You can know you have a skill gap crisis, but if you don’t know what job skills they need, how can you possibly help them develop the right skills?  How can you create content that is relevant to their job?

Even if you know what skills they need, but you can’t measure skill gaps (you don’t actually know where skill gaps exist and have no supporting data), then how can you measure whether skills and business results improve?  That is, how can you measure that the programs you’re providing are closing skills gaps and driving results?

Resolving learner disengagement step 1: Create competency models

First, you create a role-based competency model, which defines the skills required to execute their part of corporate strategy.  In other words, the competency modeling connects skills and strategy.  A competency model describes what it looks like to be great in that role.

Step 2: Create competency-based learning

Next, you develop competency-based learning to increase the likelihood that each person CAN accomplish their goals.  This is where the learning objectives of activities are tied to the specific competency model skills and behaviors. 

Creating competency-based learning ensures the content is relevant to their job.  But remember that if the employee doesn’t believe that the content is relevant to their job AND relevant to their needs, they will be disengaged.  We’ve solved the first problem, now we have to solve the second.

Step 3: Provide competency assessment tools

In order to make content relevant to each person’s needs, you need to enable them to perform a competency assessment in order to identify their specific skill gaps.  And you need to automate the identification of content relevant to their needs, known as personalized learning. 

If you develop competency-based learning and enable personalized learning, you will drive learner engagement and accelerate learning transfer.  And if you’ve got a good competency model, then it will positively impact skills and business results.

What’s more, the aggregated skills data combined with business results over time will let you measure the impact of learning.

Summary

If you ensure that you only create competency-based learning for a role, you will never again create learning that doesn’t transfer.  If you use a competency assessment tool that personalizes learning for each person, you will maximize learner engagement, accelerate learning transfer, and you WILL be able to measure the positive impact on skills and business results.

[1] Bersin by Deloitte. (2015).  Reimagining L&D Capabilities to Drive Continuous Learning.

Also found on LinkedIn.

 

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
How to create a competency model people actually use
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A critical success factor in competency model/capability model development is the ability to have the model written in the language of those who will be using it.  It should NOT be in HR/Learning terms. 

1) Make it easy to consume

Take a step back and look at the model from a holistic approach.  Is it easy to consume?  By that I mean, when you read the competency model behaviors, do you have to read it, then re-read it to know what it means?  Or is it in “easy to read” language – the language of the people using it so they can know what great looks like?  Often we see a good capability model written in a way that is very academic.  The person who is writing it looks very smart, but the capability model itself cannot easily be consumed by the end user.  It should read as people in that role speak.  It should state clearly what someone should be able to do. 

2) Make it manageable

Look at the model from a volume check.  We used to see models between 25 and 40 skills.  Now they trend toward 15-25. 

  • That translates into about 15-25 minutes to perform an assessment. 

  • Keep in mind a manager’s participation when considering volume – if they average 10 direct reports and they are assessing team members, do the math. 

  • A competency model should describe what “great” looks like – what is critical to success in the role – not be a complete task analysis of everything they do. 

3) Keep it focused on what’s critical to success

Look at the model as a professional in that role.  Are there things in it that are extraneous?  For example, do they include tasks that people may do, but are not critical to success in that role or may not be done by some at all?  Sales Transformation and Enablement guru @Mike_Kunkle recommends focusing on what the top 20% do.  Ignore the things they don’t do, which is part of what sets them apart.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
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.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Can we get too detailed in a competency model?

(Question posted by participants in recent webinars)

Of course.  It's easy to get too detailed in a competency model.  If you look at a list of soft skills, I’m sure they would apply to almost every job (written communication, problem solving, teamwork, etc.).  A competency model is what best defines success in this role.  That’s why with a standard competency model, you might start with 40 or 50 skills and you select 20 that are appropriate for this role in your organization. 

Remember that the competency model needs to be actionable.  If you have 50 skills in a model and I have 10 skill gaps, where do I focus?  Narrowing to those tasks/skills that are most critical to success ensures that you can help people focus on where it will make the biggest impact on the organization’s strategy and objectives.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Best practices for keeping success profiles (competency models/capability models) flexible and updated (and not forgotten)

Your competency model should always be in beta.  Competency models describe what someone in a particular role should be able to do to perform their part of corporate strategy.  They paint a picture of what it looks like to be great in a job.  If your strategy is changing regularly (and I believe that for your organization to continue to survive, it will), then your competency model has to change/adapt as well.  You need to communicate to the organization that your competency models will be changing over time.  Be sure that it doesn’t take an act of Congress for these changes to be made – it has to be part of the cultural understanding that models will adapt and are never “done”.

There are 3 steps to ensure you can adapt your competency model easily. 

1.    Support changes easily.

When you make the model accessible and assessable, your competency assessment system must support making these changes easily.  If it’s too difficult, it won’t happen, and then your competency model will be out of sync with strategy, and out of sync with the skills people need to be successful in their role.  That means the skill gaps you’re measuring won’t be the ones that are most important.

2.    Solicit feedback naturally.

Add a feedback mechanism within your competency assessment tool (and communicate actively that you want feedback) so that you put it out there, you get feedback, and you continue to iterate the model and the behaviors to capture changes in tools, in technology, and in the environment in which you operate.  Have a defined process to do something with the feedback in a timely manner.

3.    Schedule regular reviews

Have a rhythm for periodically re-examining the model for changes.  Maybe 2x/year, or after a transformation, merger or acquisition, or product launch.  Much like the process for creating the competency model, we recommend sending out the tasks and behavioral examples and targets in a Word document (track changes on) to 4 - 6 high performers, and a manager of people in that role.  Give them a few days to review and edit.  Consolidate edits and conduct a 1-2 hour virtual workshop to discuss and finalize updates.  Then make the updates within the competency assessment tool immediately.

If you want people to keep up with the speed of business, you need to be sure you provide them with accurate tools to help them do that.  Follow these steps to ensure your competency models remain current and you will ensure people always know what skills they need to be successful, and what that looks like. 

For more details on creating a competency model, go to https://skilldirector.com/how-to-build-competency-models.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
3 Steps to keep capability models/success profiles flexible and updated

Your competency model should always be in beta.  Competency models describe what someone in a particular role should be able to do to perform their part of corporate strategy.  They paint a picture of what it looks like to be great in a job.  If your strategy is changing regularly (and I believe that for your organization to continue to survive, it will), then your competency model has to change/adapt as well.  You need to communicate to the organization that your competency models will be changing over time.  Be sure that it doesn’t take an act of Congress for these changes to be made – it has to be part of the cultural understanding that models will adapt and are never “done”.

There are 3 steps to ensure you can adapt your competency model easily. 

  1. Support changes easily.

    When you make the model accessible and assessable, your competency assessment system must support making these changes easily.  If it’s too difficult, it won’t happen, and then your competency model will be out of sync with strategy, and out of sync with the skills people need to be successful in their role.  That means the skill gaps you’re measuring won’t be the ones that are most important.

  2. Solicit feedback naturally.

    Add a feedback mechanism within your competency assessment tool (and communicate actively that you want feedback) so that you put it out there, you get feedback, and you continue to iterate the model and the behaviors to capture changes in tools, in technology, and in the environment in which you operate.  Have a defined process to do something with the feedback in a timely manner.

  3. Schedule regular reviews

    Have a rhythm for periodically re-examining the model for changes.  Maybe 2x/year, or after a transformation, merger or acquisition, or product launch.  Much like the process for creating the competency model, we recommend sending out the tasks and behavioral examples and targets in a Word document (track changes on) to 4 - 6 high performers, and a manager of people in that role.  Give them a few days to review and edit.  Consolidate edits and conduct a 1-2 hour virtual workshop to discuss and finalize updates.  Then make the updates within the competency assessment tool immediately.

If you want people to keep up with the speed of business, you need to be sure you provide them with accurate tools to help them do that.  Follow these steps to ensure your competency models remain current and you will ensure people always know what skills they need to be successful, and what that looks like. 

For more details on creating a competency model, go to https://skilldirector.com/how-to-build-competency-models.

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
STOP! How to capture knowledge from employees before they leave
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At this point it’s clear.  Those people in your organizations, the ones you go to for all your questions about how to get things done, they’re starting to retire.  And while you try to get them to train those who will take their place, you know most of that information will disappear forever.  You’ve known it was coming, but a solution just hasn’t been easy.

Additionally, if you don’t do a good job retaining high performers in your organization, that knowledge drain will hurt you in unimaginable ways.

What if it turns out that there is one solution to both problems?

Let’s start with the basic question – how do we capture what the best people, and those who know how to get things done, know and do?  And then, once we know what that is, how can we share it with those who need to know?

1) Create a role-based competency model

The answer is simple.  You use your high performers, and those with valuable expertise, to create a competency model.  Very simply, a competency model describes what it looks like to be great in each role.  It defines the skills and the knowledge required to execute their part of corporate strategy.

If you want to learn how perform competency modeling easily in just weeks, watch this ATD webinar and use these materials.

In this way, you capture all the critical nuances of what people do to be successful.  This may include with whom they build relationships, what process steps they take, and what tools they’ve created to ensure repeatable success. 

Now you know what they know and do to get things done.  And you probably have informal resources you’ve collected during the process that can serve as competency-based learning for others.  How do you share it with those who need to know?

2) Make your competency model actionable

You make that competency model actionable in a competency assessment tool/skills assessment system. 

  • This gives everyone in that role the ability to see what great looks like, via a competency assessment, from their first day in the job (onboarding).

  • It gives people in that role the ability to compare their skills to “good” and “great” and identify what gaps they have (individual skill development), driving intrinsic motivation to change.

  • It gives people who are not yet in that role the ability to compare their skills and identify what gaps they have (career planning).

  • It gives hiring managers the ability to fine tune who they hire (recruiting).

 

3) Leverage intrinsic motivation to change

You also want to connect each competency model to competency-based learning and automate that connection.  In this way, you can provide personalized learning to empower people to close their own skill gaps.

What’s more, providing that kind of employee empowerment will make it more likely that your high performers will stay.  They will know how to close their skill gaps, and how they can prepare for other roles in the organization that may suit them. They get recognition for contributing to the professional development of other employees.

Summary

If you want to capture knowledge from employees before they leave, either because they have tremendous experience or are high performers:

  1. Use them to build a competency model

  2. Make that competency model actionable in a competency assessment tool/skills assessment system

  3. Leverage personalized learning to empower people to close their own gaps and drive their retention

That way, each employee knows how to become a high performer… for the job they have or the job they want.  They have a detailed plan they believe will get them there.  They are in control.  They will want to stay. 

Also found on the ATD site and on LinkedIn

 

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector
Is “Competency Model” a dirty word?

(OK, actually 2 words, but you get my point)

I had a meeting with someone yesterday who told me that in their company, the phrase “competency model” is not to be spoken.  That’s not actually that unusual.  In many parts of the world, such as the UK and Australia, “capability model” is the more common term.  But let’s go back to why it’s taboo to use it.

Common competency model thoughts on why they’re not good

  • “It’s full of gobbly gook”

  • “No one can understand it”

  • “We spend all this time working on it, and don’t do anything with it”

If that’s been historically true in your organization, then it’s easy to see why they may consider “competency model” a dirty word. 

Here’s how to fix it.

1) Stop calling it a “competency model”

Stop using the dirty word.  If it already has a bad connotation, don’t try to change perception… just call it something else, such as “capability model” or “capability framework”.

2) Fix competency model content

Fix the problem with the competency model content.  It should not be full of big corporate words that don’t really say anything.  It should be in the language of the person using it.  If you create or customize one, use that role’s high performers in those sessions.  If you use a standard model, work with some high performers to “put it in their language” so that it is easy to consume… both in the capabilities/skills/tasks and the behavioral examples. So a Sales competency model would read like someone in Sales would speak, and a retail competency model would read like someone in Retail would speak. It must also be relevant to both current skills and skills of the future.

3) Make the competency model actionable

A capability model on a web page, PowerPoint, PDF or poster will never be used and will quickly reinforce the current perception. So you must make the competency model actionable.  If you create a song and dance around a “capability model” that isn’t easily accessible by those during the development process, and isn’t assessable such that one can measure their capabilities against it to identify and close gaps with competency-based learning, it’s worthless. If skill gaps are your organization’s biggest challenge (and where are they not?), then if your competency model positioning is as a tool for upskilling and reskilling to address the needs of digitization and AI, you’ll gain acceptance and adoption.

News / Events / Blog Posts | SkillDirector