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A Q&A with Dr. Nicholas Bremner: The Highlights

By Caitlin Leishman on April, 9 2018
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Caitlin Leishman

Each month here at HRSG we’ve been taking the opportunity to showcase the knowledge of some of our in-house experts. 

Ranging from talent management specialists to industrial-organizational psychologists, our experts have been answering your questions on anything and everything to do with competencies.

If you haven’t watched the video yet, you can find it in our resource hub. In the meantime, here are the conversation highlights focusing on using competencies to manage performance.  

They myth about hiring for culture fit

Culture can be a difficult concept to define, it’s all encompassing and part of it is observable while part of it is not.  If you’re looking to hire new employees and you want to make sure they fit with your culture, you shouldn’t walk into the interview with a vague notion of what culture fit looks like.

You may not know what questions to ask and try to get a general sense of whether you like or dislike the candidate. That’s where the danger comes in and where biases can appear.

However, if you actually do the work to define culture fit and how it helps your organization achieve its goals, you can come prepared with questions that will help you understand the candidate better and how they relate to the job and organization. Competencies turn into a really great tool for doing this because you can set a common foundation on which you are looking for particular behaviors that you want in an organization.

Identifying competencies for jobs in an emerging field or new position

It boils down to doing research about the position itself. Even new positions exist within an organizational structure, so a good first step is to tie the job into existing organizational goals and from there determine how that job will contribute to achieving those goals. This helps you define the behavioral competencies required for that position, and then when you want to dive a bit deeper you can do research into the subject matter experts in a field, and inquire as to what skills will be required.

Measuring whether employee engagement is increasing

It’s important to first define employee engagement, as it is often a term that is thrown around. The factors contributing to engagement are vigor, dedication, and involvement in company culture. When it comes down to actually determining if engagement has increased, it is common to run an organization-wide survey at multiple points during the year to track changes over time.

Competencies on a lower budget

Competencies do take time and resources, but even just switching your mindset to a competency-based mindset and thinking about how people can contribute strategically can produce results. Even if you can’t afford to go through the whole competency modeling process, there are options available where you can pick and choose what competencies you need off-the-shelf to help you go in the right direction.

Using competencies to improve engagement

When you don’t know what competencies you need to do your job, there is a lot of uncertainty and discomfort surrounding job expectations. However, with competencies you know exactly what is required and you can assess yourself as you go along, identifying skill gaps and strengths. From there, you can take steps to fill those gaps, improving job performance and employee confidence. This is key to having a more engaged workforce.

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