Are your competencies working for you?

January 30, 2017 Jordan Sanders

You’ve invested time and money into launching a competency initiative. Maybe you had employees from across your organization take time out of their day to contribute to the development of the competencies and job profiles. And, if you are lucky, you’ve had leadership engaged throughout the project. Sounds like a success, right?


After the initiative is off the ground and you’ve had some time to use the competencies, it’s time to step back and ask – are they working for us?

To answer that question, there are three key areas to investigate.

The first area you’ll want to dig into is whether or not your competencies are giving you what you need. 

Do they differentiate between high and mediocre performers? Are they an effective measurement tool to identify areas for growth and improvement? Are they clearly defined? To answer these questions, you are going to need to examine the structure and make up of your competencies, the support tools that are available to users, and the relevance of the competencies to employee’s jobs.

Next, you will need to look at how effectively you are using the competencies.

For example, are your HR folks incorporating the competencies into recruitment or selection processes? Are they leveraging them for training purposes? Are employees using the competencies for career development?

The last element to consider is whether or not your competencies are having an impact. For example, have you seen a change in the skill level of employees? Are employees changing their behaviors to be more effective in key areas like customer service and communication?

Competencies can have a significant impact on retention, productivity ,and performance. Understanding the impact of competencies will help you further refine and solidify your plan for embedding competencies across the organization.

Taking the time to do this analysis will give insight into whether your organization and employees are getting the full benefit out of this powerful tool. Just like any change initiative, you don’t always get it right the first time. Sometimes you need to implement, step back, reflect and adjust to gain success.


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 27, 2019.

About the Author

Jordan Sanders

Jordan is an Industrial-Organizational Psychology Practitioner who specializes in the use of psychometrically robust and job relevant selection and assessment practices. His research focuses on employee well-being, meaningful work, organizational culture, corporate social responsibility and innovative performance management measures.

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