Time to revisit your competency framework?

Posted on April 06, 2016 at 08:45 AM

Just when you thought that competency frameworks were all but dead,  we're seeing a resurgence in the market.

Many invested in competency frameworks during the 90s heyday – and have retained a firm belief in the unrealised potential of a common language for performance and behaviour – and now we're witnessing a number of organisations ‘refreshing’ their frameworks and committing renewed energy to bringing them to life and putting competencies to work.

But we're also seeing organisations who have never had a detailed competency framework in place before, now expressing an interest in developing one. They're recognising the need for a behavioural model which underpins all of their talent management activities.

So what does a good competency framework give you?

Most people know that a solid framework:

  • Gives employees a clear understanding of what ‘great’ looks like, and how to get there
  • Forms the basis of all assessment criteria, from external hires, to assessment for development, to performance management and appraisal
  • Helps managers to manage teams and individuals more effectively

but it can also:

  • Help employees to understand and see what the organisational values look like in practice
  • Guide and inform decision-making at all levels
  • Improve customer experience and satisfaction
  • Enable people to plan and manage their own careers, job moves and promotions
  • Bring your organisation’s ‘external’ brand closer to your ‘internal’ brand and the employee experience

In this series of blogs, we’re going to look at how you might do something more useful with your competency frameworks, and why they might not be ready for the scrapheap just yet.

We’re also going to think about both obvious and less obvious ways in which competencies can be more deeply embedded in the fabric of the organisation – by encouraging people to demonstrate them, discuss them, teach or explain them to others and to recognise when people do it well.

So, in the next blog we’ll talk about spring cleaning your competency framework and dusting it down for the future.

In subsequent blogs we’ll be looking at the opportunities to embed your framework more deeply across the organisation, how to make it work harder and how to get better results from it.

Psychologists will tell you about the Sunk Cost Fallacy (where you hang on to something just because you’ve invested lots of time, money or effort into it, not because it continues to have value), and this may be the case with persisting with some competency frameworks.

But we also all know the phrase “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”.  So, take a careful, critical and creative look at what you’ve got and the potential it holds before you decide to ditch it.

If you'd like to keep in touch with what we're thinking about competencies, then sign up to get regular updates.

Read more about what we do for clients concerning competencies and take a look at the lessons we have learned over the years.

Competency Frameworks:  10 lessons learned

If it's time for you to think about how to bring your competencies to life, read our article.

Read the article Bringing competencies to life


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