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3 crucial take-aways from attending a Competency Academy course

By Lori Teskey on March, 30 2021
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Lori Teskey

As a new employee at HRSG, I recently attended a Competency-Based Management (CBM) Essentials course. Having spent a career in enterprise software (not HRMS) & IT training, it made complete sense this should be part of my onboarding. Since I had no industry experience, what better way to learn about this methodology?

Before I started the course, I learned a lot about the industry and competencies through the HRSG website. I downloaded the awesome resources and kits (free to anyone reading this) - they have so much around competencies. I hoped this introductory course would further my understanding of CBM, and the tangible benefits for employees like me.

Here are my top 3 take-aways from attending the Competency-based Management Essentials course:

1. The benefit of mentorship in a field of study where you have limited access to experts and peers.


Your exposure to organizational experts and talent management services professionals, may be limited. Most companies haven’t got that kind of bench strength on their HR teams, and if you’re like me, once you’ve decided to learn something new, you want to learn it from someone credible in the field.

HRSG has been around for long enough (30+ years) to have virtually seen it all, and when their instructors facilitate exercises with personal anecdotes and best practices, you realize they have actual experience that many don’t. There were exercises and case studies sprinkled throughout the course content, which served as reinforcement of what everyone was learning.

But what I loved best, they encouraged and sought interaction among the students. I heard a few stories from HR professional participants, about some of the challenges they faced, and it brought a lot more perspective to the conversations.

I’d say the shared experience, for those attending in HR roles, was valuable in making the connections with peers.

2. Competencies provide employees with career paths and options for development.

The very definition of competencies - the skills, knowledge, abilities, motivations, or traits needed for successful job performance – was new to me. Before this course, I thought of competencies as technical or functional skills.

I learned that using a combination of behavioral & skills competencies, in defining your job profiles, is a much better determinant of effective performance of any job. By using a competency architecture, you have the chance to develop profiles that are standard across the organization.

Employees can see opportunities to develop and move in their career, with well defined job families and job profiles. A good job profile would be layered with Core, Job Family, Job Specific and Leadership competencies. Best practice is to include no more than 10 competencies per profile and focus on those most critical to the job. Any more will be cumbersome and overwhelming.

Multi-level job profiles provide a path to development and mastery within jobs themselves, as well, transparency for a compensation structure.

I also learned that you don’t have to build job profiles from scratch.

HRSG has compiled a competency dictionary developed over 30 years of client engagements, that covers the range of behavioral and technical knowledge, skills and abilities for jobs in virtually any work environment.


3. Learning how to influence organizational stakeholders to embrace competencies.


Make notes as you learn, about things you heard discussed or problems that relate to your company. I can guarantee you will find one place in your organization today, where you can show competencies make a difference.

Maybe it’s core or leadership competencies that you know haven’t been updated in years and are not reflective of the business goals today. Come back to your team, share your experience. Show them sample leadership profiles. Start the conversation.

Is your company is undergoing a lot of hiring this year? Competencies can help define your criteria for job roles and set you up to recruit for success. Interview and selection guides can be developed to based on job profiles.

To summarize...

If you want to influence a competency-based management culture in your organization, you need to:

- Articulate the organizational benefits.
- Describe the risks of not making the change.
- Tie this initiative to organizational goals it supports.
- Identify the key stakeholders that will be affected by the change.
- Find the unique thing that will make this adoption a success for them.
- Address individual learning and training needs.

My biggest take-away? This course taught me what competencies are, how to use them and the importance of competencies, throughout the employee lifecycle. Like any good movie, there is always a sequel. Might I suggest a sequel? Check out all the upcoming courses here!