Building the case for competencies

September 3, 2015 Sarah Beckett

What are competencies?

Competencies identify the observable behaviors of top performers, and describe not just WHAT these employees do, but HOW they do it.

By describing the “how” and presenting the information as observable phenomena, competencies give you a more practical, accurate way to identify, retain, and develop the talent your organization needs.

Who uses them?

The use of competencies was originally limited to large organizations because of the considerable infrastructure and resources needed to develop original competency material.

Today, competencies are within reach of companies of any size, thanks to new, off-the-shelf resources such as pre-defined competency dictionaries and software management tools.

How are they used?

Competencies can be used to improve every stage in the talent lifecycle: recruitment and selection, assessment and evaluation, performance management, and succession planning.

The use of competencies as the foundation of all HR activities enhances the consistency of the process and ensures better alignment between HR and the organization’s broader strategic goals.

Why are they more effective?

Competencies use past behaviors to predict future success, an approach that’s proven to improve outcomes for companies in every type of industry and of every size—from small businesses to global enterprises:

  • Competencies provide a deeper level of detail to help organizations clearly articulate and identify excellence on the job.
  • Competencies focus on observable behaviors, which reduces the potential for subjective interpretation and individual bias.
  • Competencies can be used throughout the talent management lifecycle, bringing a greater degree of consistency and focus to the process.

What results do competencies offer?

Research shows that competency-based selection reduces the likelihood of the organization making a “bad hire”, and leads to lower turnover and higher performance than other talent management approaches.

Using competencies also supports a culture of excellence across the organization by clearly defining the requirements for personal and organizational success and ongoing improvement.

What makes HRSG competencies unique?

HRSG is one of a handful of global competency specialists to develop original competencies in house. Each competency is created by industrial-organizational psychologists and subject-matter experts to ensure it reflects the needs and best practices of today’s companies.

Each HRSG competency is multi-level, providing up to five proficiency levels that define the progressive complexity, independence, risk, and responsibility required for different jobs. Multi-level competencies provide a deeper level of detail than single-level competencies, and help employees clearly see their path to advancement in the organization.

How can competencies help my organization?

Every organization has a different set of priorities and a unique workplace culture. As competency specialists, HRSG has helped hundreds of organizations adapt and use competencies to support their HR processes and wider strategic goals. We empower organizations to select and adapt competencies, develop competency-based profiles, and apply a competency framework to the entire talent-management lifecycle, including interviews, assessments, performance management, learning and development, and succession planning.

We also offer competency content libraries, software management tools, and other products and services designed to kick-start your competency-based management project more quickly and affordably.

To learn more about HRSG’s competencies, contact us today

photo credit: Joe Gratz via Flikr

About the Author

Sarah Beckett

Sarah is an experienced marketer with over 10 years experience. She drives HRSG brand marketing strategy and the implementation of all related programs.

More Content by Sarah Beckett
Previous Article
Getting organizational buy-in for competencies
Getting organizational buy-in for competencies

Change is never easy, and when you’re trying to steer an entire organization in a new direction, it can fee...

Next Article
Fast-track your competency project
Fast-track your competency project

As more and more organizations adopt competencies as the foundation for consistent and cohesive talent mana...

Is Your Competency Framework Optimized?

Take Our Quiz