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5 Things To Remember About Competencies As We Head Into 2019

By Sarah Beckett on January, 14 2019
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Sarah Beckett

As we look ahead to the new year, putting systems in place to fulfill your mission to hire, retain and develop the best people will be more important than ever!

By the end of this post, you will know:

  • How technology can help you better manage your employee competencies 
  • Using competencies in smaller organizations
  • How competencies can enhance your current job descriptions
  • Why you should use competencies to structure your interview process
  • The importance of using multi-level competencies

Competencies help HR professionals achieve that mission because they allow you to be proactive and in control by giving your managers the tools they need to build high performance teams and measure employee effectiveness. 

In taking stock of how our clients are using competencies to modernize their HR programs over the last year, we have five key trends to keep in mind as you plan for 2019. 


1. Technology is changing the way we can interact with & use competencies

In a recent study conducted by the Brandon Hall Group, 34% of survey respondents reported that lack of automation was the biggest barrier to managing competencies (Brandon Hall Group, Competency Planning and Management Study, 2017). Software has long existed to help HR professionals manage competencies, but there hasn’t been a lot available to allow managers and employees to access them.

More and more tools, like CompetencyCore, are now available that build manager and employee interaction around competencies. Whether it’s competency-based interviews at a click of a button, or employee driven career paths that shows individuals how they measure up against the competency requirements of jobs, we now have ways to use competencies like never before.


2. Competencies aren’t just for large enterprises anymore

Competencies were long regarded as a strategic HR management tool reserved for large enterprises with deep pockets. But as scalable technology solutions become more available, and HR professionals in smaller organizations are looking for more sophisticated ways of managing people, more and more mid-sized companies are turning to competencies to add the strategic element missing from their programs

To eliminate a major barrier to successful competency implementation that we often see with our mid-sized clients, we recently launched our AI-driven solution that does the heavy lifting of identifying the competencies needed for each job.

Our AI scrapes over 30 million data points to analyze the skill and competency requirements that employers are asking for when hiring employees to deliver over 500 job descriptions out-of-the-box. The easy-to-use management tools allow you to focus your valuable resources on customizing the content for your organizational context, instead of searching the internet for free job descriptions of questionable quality.


3. If you’re not using competencies on your job descriptions, you are missing out

Typical job descriptions describe what an employee is expected to do. It is usually task-based and describes the accountabilities and responsibilities of a particular role or position. Competencies enhance that by describing how an employee can do their job and provides behavioral cues to describe successful performance. 

Bring your job descriptions to life by incorporating competencies, and turn them into usable tools to guide employee performance and development discussion. Check out our list of over 500 job descriptions with complete competency profiles. Take a look at the free samples in each job category to see the level of detail that competencies can bring. 


4. Competencies are the best way to structure your interview process

The interviewing process is one of those HR processes often fraught with bias and inconsistency. A simple way to improve the way hiring managers assess candidates during an interview is to use competency-based questions linked to specific job requirements. Introducing a structured interview process to your organization that leverages competencies not only helps you create more a diverse workforce, but it ensures all candidates are measured against the same measurable criteria.  

If you are looking to improve your hiring processes in 2019, check out HRSG’s CompetencyCore platform that offers a bank of over 1500 competency-based interview questions linked to our 150 general and technical competencies. We offer tips on conducting competency-based interviews and evaluating candidates that can be made available to your hiring managers to further standardize your processes.  


5. Multi-level competencies are the only way to go

Many organizations are still using competencies that don’t have any progression built into it. Many HR professionals assume multi-level competencies are more complicated to use. In fact, the opposite is true.

For example, instead of applying three single-level competencies to three different jobs, you can assign different levels of the same competency. This approach allows you to streamline the number of competencies you work with while achieving the depth and flexibility you need.

Multi-level competencies provide greater detail, continuity, and simplicity than single-level competencies, and these enhancements make competencies more practical and more versatile in the workplace. Employees can see how the same competencies are expressed at different proficiency levels for other jobs, multi-level competencies help them explore their potential and work towards lateral or upward career progression.

Achieving success in 2019

If you’d like more information about competencies and how to use them for your HR programs in 2019, fill out the form below to download our awesome Competency Toolkit. 


Want to learn more about using competencies? Get started with our Competency Toolkit:

Download your Competency Toolkit using the form below.



Post last updated: June 20, 2019.

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