Are some competency initiatives more successful than others?

October 17, 2017 Caitlin Leishman


Although competencies are growing in popularity among organizations worldwide, only a select 36% are using them at least at a moderately effective level.[1] These organizations have a significantly higher chance of having higher revenue, more customers, increased employee engagement, and more. But not all competency initiatives have the same rate of success. High performance competency management requires a variety of factors to fall into place, including:

  • Executive buy-in and leadership
  • Alignment of competencies with business goals
  • Communication and transparency organization-wide
  • A common language and approach to competencies organization-wide

When one or more of these factors is nonexistent, high performance competency management is harder to achieve. Barriers to implementing high performing systems are typically due to lack of budget, expertise and automation, and these barriers can affect different competency goals in a variety of ways.

Through their research, Brandon Hall Group discovered that some competency objectives have a higher rate of success than others. For instance, 39% of organizations found success in using competencies to improve individual performance, build future capabilities, and identify development opportunities. Meanwhile, organizations attempting to provide career development tools were less successful at 35% and the least successful objective was improving employee engagement and retention (27%).

Brandon Hall Group also did research on the number of organizations attempting certain competency objectives to compare with the success percentages. They found that 76% of organizations use competencies in an attempt to improve organizational performance, while only 56% are working towards employee engagement and retention.

Competency initiatives, while worthwhile, do have to overcome certain barriers in order to be successful. Organizations should improve their competency maturity level in order to surpass these barriers and become more sophisticated at managing talent. In the following blog articles we will be looking at the findings from Brandon Hall Group’s research relating to strategies for success in competency management. In the meantime, check out the research report here or get in touch with us below for more information!


[1] Brandon Hall Group 2017 

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