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Why is your competency model sitting on a shelf?

by TLD Group

Dust off your competency model and learn simple techniques to reap the rewards of your leadership success factors.

More than likely, if you’re reading this blog, your organization has at some point designed a competency model intended to identify the key skills, attributes, and behaviors required for effective leadership. These models answer the question, “what does leadership look like here?” When built well, these models are empirically based, considering the organization’s culture, what differentiates the organization from its competitors, and what kind of behaviors leaders need to demonstrate to effectively execute on strategic goals. Sounds reasonable, right?

Oftentimes, in our work with organizations, we find that our clients either do not have a leadership competency model, or if they do, they aren’t using it. We find that, while carefully developed, the models may sit unused until a new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) comes on board or there becomes a pressing need to fill a senior leadership position as part of a succession plan

In this blog, we discuss the goals of competency models and simple steps to reinvigorate your model (or design one) to align your talent strategy to meet your organization’s goals. 

What is a competency model? 

A competency model defines the skills, knowledge, abilities, and other attributes that are necessary to succeed in a particular role or organization. These models become a foundational element for identifying, assessing and acquiring talent for promotion or development, identifying successors for a particular position, and managing team member performance. Ideally, competency models become a framework for all things talent. 

As your organization’s goals and desired results change, the competencies required to drive results will change, too. That means that an effective competency model will evolve just as your  strategic objectives do.  

5 steps to reinvigorate your competency model

1. Review your model and make sure it's still relevant. 

First, ask yourself, “Are these competencies still relevant today? Is this model still aligned to the evolving needs and goals of my organization? Are the skills and abilities required to be a successful leader today, the same as the ones defined in our competency model?”

If not, check out these tips for building a relevant model, updating existing competencies, or adding new ones to address emerging challenges and priorities.

2. Engage stakeholders in a collaborative review. 

To breathe new life into your competency model, start by engaging stakeholders from various levels of the organization. This collaborative approach can provide fresh perspectives and ensure that the model reflects the current needs and strategic objectives of the company. By involving employees, managers, and HR professionals, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge and experiences to enhance the model's accuracy and alignment with your organization's goals.

3. Make competencies a part of your talent process.  

Consider how you want to use your competency model. Will it be used for recruitment, assessment, development and/or performance assessments? Then, gather feedback from managers and employees on their needs and expectations. An effective competency model is integrated into all things talent in your organization: 

  • Training and Development: Competency models serve as a valuable guide for designing training and development programs. Companies can tailor their training initiatives to address specific competency gaps within the organization. Whether it's technical skills, leadership capabilities, or soft skills like communication and teamwork, a competency model can pinpoint areas that need improvement. This targeted approach to training leads to more efficient and effective development programs that contribute directly to business objectives.
  • Recruitment: Incorporate competency-based assessments or questions into your hiring process to ensure that potential candidates have the skills and behavioral competencies required for success in their role. By clearly defining the competencies needed for a particular role, companies can streamline their hiring process. Create job descriptions that align with these competencies, ensuring that candidates are not only a good fit for the role but also for the company's culture. Competency-based interviews and assessments can be used to evaluate candidates objectively, leading to more informed hiring decisions.
  • Performance management: Use the competency model as a foundation for performance management, including setting expectations, evaluating team member performance, and providing feedback. Managers can use these models to set clear expectations for their teams, establish performance goals, and provide ongoing feedback. Employees can also use competency models as roadmaps for their own career development. They can identify areas for improvement, pursue relevant training and development opportunities, and track their progress toward mastering the required competencies.
  • Succession planning: Identify potential internal and external candidates to take on leadership roles with the framework from the competency model. Competency models help identify high-potential employees and outline the competencies required for advancement. By using these models, companies can proactively develop their talent, ensuring that there are capable individuals ready to step into leadership positions when needed. This reduces the risk associated with leadership transitions and promotes organizational stability.

4. Provide ongoing support. To ensure that the competency model remains relevant and impactful, offer training and support to managers and employees. This training may include workshops, resources, or other tools to help users understand and implement competency-based processes in their day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.

5. Continue to monitor and adapt your competency model. Regularly review and update your competency model to guarantee that it remains aligned with your organization's goals. Reinvigoration should not be a one-time effort. It's essential to establish a process for regular review and updates to ensure your competency model remains dynamic and responsive to changing needs. This could involve annual or biannual assessments, with the flexibility to make adjustments as needed. Keeping your model fresh will help your organization stay agile and adaptable in the face of ongoing change.

Is your competency model integrated into your talent strategy? By directly aligning your competency model with your organization’s strategic goals, you can reap the rewards of the model, support team member development, make better hiring decisions, and identify potential leadership successors. To learn more about the crucial role that competency models play for your organization — and how you can harness the value of competency models — contact TLD Group today.

Topics: Leadership Development, Leadership Resources

TLD Group

Written by TLD Group