In today’s workplace, learning is ongoing whether or not you are aware of it. Today’s workplaces are multi-generational, multicultural, less hierarchical, and more individualistic than ever before. This has made ‘one size fits all’ development plans a thing of the past. While building an effective career development program has its challenges, using competencies will help create engaging, self-directed career pathways.
Competencies offer enhanced visibility for the knowledge, skills, abilities, motivations, and traits needed for a specific job. By turning hard-to-define job requirements into observable behaviors, competencies enable your organization to understand, measure, and develop these requirements more efficiently.
Building competencies into your workplace is simply good business. Breaking down jobs into essential competencies changes the way development programs can be designed and delivered. Instead of limiting development opportunities to specific promotion-based pathways, development programs will be able to support a wider range of possibilities. Competency-based development also benefits your organization because employees will be more engaged, and will want to stay long-term.
Once competency-based job profiles are in place you can begin creating a development process that supports flexible career “latticing”. While traditional ladder career paths are hierarchical and uni-directional, competency-based career paths enable everyone to see a wide variety of logical career moves across multiple departments. Having the option to learn and grow beyond traditional hierarchical pathways is essential to staying challenged and engaged. This is especially important for organizations wishing to retain millennial workers, who expect to be continually challenged.
Employee development is the responsibility of everyone in your organization. Leaders play an important role in on-the-job development; rather than teaching, the leader’s job is to facilitate learning by engaging his/her employee in a developmental process. If everyone works together to use a competency-based development framework, benefits will be seen in several key areas including:
Business Excellence – Companies offering comprehensive employee training enjoyed a 24% higher profit margin than those who focused less on training. 
Leadership – Leadership shortfalls were identified as the single greatest differentiator between high-performance and all other organizations. 
Millennials – Company demographics are undergoing a massive change as more Millennials enter the workforce. The most important thing to consider is that Millennials feel their talents are being developed and working towards a meaningful cause. A recent survey indicates that 44 percent of employees ages 18 to 34 are seriously considering leaving their current job, despite reporting high levels of job satisfaction. 
HRSG’s competencies give your employees the tools they need to develop in their careers. To learn more, check out our ebook Engaging and Developing Talent with Competencies or talk with a competency expert to learn more about how HRSG can help.
About the Author
Christine is recognized as one of North America’s foremost experts in Competency Based Management and has developed hundreds of competency profiles and assessment tools for clients in both the private and public sector for various business roles. Christine has pioneered and has been active in the CBM field for the last 25 years.More Content by Christine Lamothe