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A Q&A with Dr. Andrea Butler: The Highlights

By Caitlin Leishman on February, 12 2018
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Caitlin Leishman

Competency Corner Live Recap

In Dec. 2017, HRSG's Andrea Butler joined Competency Corner Live to give some key insights on using competencies to manage performance. 

Watch the video below or scroll down to read some of the highlights of that conversation.

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Can competencies be used to improve the performance of a sales team?

When thinking about performance we often think about what a person’s duties are. In the case of a salesperson, this may be in terms of upselling or how many purchase orders received in a certain period of time, but this is only part of the picture.

Sales people, like other employees, also need competencies such as client focus, interactive communication, etc. Since competencies describe how behaviors for success are performed, they are crucial if you want the full picture.


Tips on how to measure the effectiveness of competencies:

Start in the planning phase and create a baseline to figure out what you’re going to be measuring and how. For instance, if you’ve been having problems with engagement and you have an engagement survey already in place you can just use this for competencies as well.

Some other examples [of measurement] are seeing if sales are going up, [tracking] if more employees have learning and development plans in place, etc. One of our clients, Rocky Mountain Equipment, used competencies to lower turnover by 10%. Even just going and asking your employees that are using the competencies for their opinions are beneficial.


The difference between an organization’s values and core competencies:

Values are guiding principles and standards that people should follow. Core competencies are the observable behaviors that capture those values.


Some of the common outcomes of using competencies:

Competencies can have a large range of effects including hiring for culture fit, making sure you’re matching people with the right jobs, increasing engagement, and knowing where employee strengths and weaknesses are. Competencies are essentially the glue that links all talent management cycles.


Should you do an internal review of your competencies?

When thinking about behavioral competencies or soft skills, those probably aren’t going to change. However, technical competencies might evolve as the nature of work changes.

For instance in marketing, data analytics and AI technology is causing many new competencies to become necessary for success.  If you’re in a big period of change, you should probably review your competencies.

How small is too small to use competencies?

Size doesn’t matter in this case; the advantage of competencies is you’re creating a common language of what success looks like. Whether you’ve got just ten employees, or thousands of employees, the only difference is the level of sophistication you might need.

In a smaller organization, you might just need core competencies; whereas in a larger organization you probably want to go more in-depth, create profiles for each job and introduce technical competencies.