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Client Stories Assessment Development

Client Case Study: How ELM Used Technology to Build a Competency-Based Assessment & Development Program

By HRSG Team on April, 18 2018

Learn how HRSG helped ELM, a secure e-Services provider in Saudi Arabia, build a competency-based development program that has allowed ELM to find & address skill gaps.


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Focus: Using competencies help organizations find and eliminate skill gaps



ELM company info

Many companies in the Middle East face talent shortages and skill gaps. Even when they find great talent, it can be difficult to keep them on board.

Developing talent internally can be challenging as it takes commitment to a long-term approach.

As a rapidly growing and changing technology company, ELM faces this talent challenge more than most.

ELM needed to acquire and develop the key skills needed to support the company’s growth and to continue to offer ever changing solutions. As a priority, the company decided to focus on developing the skills of its current workforce through a focused development program.



ELM decided that utilizing competencies would provide a standardized and accelerated way to build its talent. The competencies would identify the skills, abilities, and traits needed of people and be used to recruit, develop, and retain the top talent. HRSG was engaged to help build a customized competency dictionary especially for their needs.

The first step for ELM was to develop core competencies aligned with their mission, vision, values, and goals. HRSG then conducted focus groups with senior managers of each business line to understand the critical challenges and define corresponding technical competencies for each job family. A
competency profile was developed for each job that defined the most important competencies and level of proficiency.

In building a development program that applied to all staff, three things needed to happen:

  • Employees needed to be assessed against the competencies to understand their learning gaps;
  • An individual development plan needed to be built for each employee with very specific learning activities and timelines developed;
  • The program needed to be managed carefully with the proper support during the assessment and
    development phases.

“The assessments are a very important tool because, if you cannot measure something you cannot manage it,” says Mr. Thamer Al Quadaimi, Executive Manager of Learning and Talent Development. “By using assessments we can accurately measure how employees are performing and then help them manage their career and skills development.”

ELM found great benefit to using HRSG’s CompetencyCore technology to help engage their entire organization in gaining momentum and support for their development initiative.

“Competency-based management tools like the one that HRSG offers, CompetencyCore, will help you engage in those more complex competency assessment initiatives as well, so it’s very crucial and very critical now to use technology tools, but to do so properly and to overlay it on top of a process that’s built on a solid foundation,” says Mr. Thamer.

The software identified specific learning activities for employees to follow that included courses, e-learning, readings, on-the-job learning and coaching. ELM promoted the use of experiential learning, not just going to classroom courses. They found that learning on the job was more cost effective and gave better results.

ELM trained a group of “champions” from the organization to help managers and employees do the assessments and develop learning plans. In some cases, they helped managers give feedback or resolve differences in ratings.

“We consider them the first level of contact,” says Mr. Saqib Mansoor Ahmed, ELM's Learning and Talent Development Architect. “We recommend that organizations using competencies take special consideration into how they will raise awareness and champion the project.”

ELM continues to make updates to their competency initiative, including succession planning and implementing new projects.



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ELM has now completed two cycles of assessment and development. “One of the best things to come out of this project was that we now have a common language to talk about performance, development, etc.” says Mr. Saqib. “When we have discussions between departments they go a lot more smoothly and we achieve more because we’re all on the same page as to what constitutes success.”

ELM now has a much clearer idea of the core competencies required for success organization-wide, which helps the learning and development teams design programs which are applicable for

One of the main benefits is that managers know if someone is lacking in a particular skill. The assessments are objective and the results are accepted by the employee and management, decreasing conflict and increasing motivation and performance. All employees at ELM need to have the core competencies of customer focus, creativity and innovation, and achievement orientation. This has also improved relationships between employees at different levels within the organization.

ELM is now more confident that their employees will demonstrate even stronger performance going forward. Because of the program’s focus on employee development, the overall performance of the organization is increasing day by day. And equally as important, the number of individuals who repeatedly fall into the low performance zone is very low.

The other outcome that ELM has been able to measure is the improvement in employee satisfaction with the learning and development programs. Because of the tailored nature of the program to address individual competency gaps, the organization has received almost perfect scores from a satisfaction point of view.

The program has exceeded ELM’s expectations. Due to the increased skills in security, ELM is launching a training program to qualify expert counterfeiting examiners at the national level.

What’s the next step? For the second phase of development ELM plans to increase the focus on using competencies to improve recruitment and their in-house exams and certifications.



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Post last updated: August 24, 2020