Neil Penny, learning & development consultant at Adaptavist, had a monumental task on his hands.
Tasked with helping his organization grow smartly during a period of rapid expansion, he turned to competencies to guide the way.
“We were acutely aware that HR needed to do more than just the personnel,” Neil said of the early internal discussions. “A lot of that involved – how do we actually grow teams? And how do we put structure in place for those teams to work? And for career development to happen, where do we even start?”
As chronicled in our newest case study, competencies provided that structure. Neil was able to create competency profiles for all key roles in his organization, in a fraction of the time that a traditional competency profiling process would have taken.
Here are 3 key lessons learned from Neil’s experience.
1. Rely on existing materials to save time.
Being new to his organization, Neil felt the need to get things in motion quickly. But having worked on competency profiling projects in the past, he also knew that they could be time-intensive and resource-intensive.
So he looked into options on how to accelerate the process, and found CompetencyCore, HRSG’s competency management system software.
With CompetencyCore’s huge library of high-quality content, he knew he’d found a great solution to get him started.
“I knew I needed to hit the ground running,” he said. “The ability to have on-hand, pre-built competencies that I could just pull down from a library was an important motivator.”
“In previous efforts where I’ve done this, I had to build them all from scratch… And that’s where CompetencyCore, and competencies came in — to allow me to do this at scale with the growth of the business.”
2. Decide early on the level of detail needed to find the balance that’s right for your organization.
Being in a highly technical organization, and given his past experience, Neil also understood that he had to strike the right balance when building competency profiles for roles.
The competencies couldn’t be too generic; they needed to contain actionable, measurable behavioral indicators and skills in order to foster both a tangible understanding on the part of the employees, as well as activities like employee assessments down the line.
But he also had to avoid turning the roles into overly-detailed checklists of activities.
“I find that companies either massively overcomplicate it, or just seem to get it plain wrong," he said. “You need to give people some guidance, but you don’t need to give them a checklist. It can’t work that way. So I was always of the opinion that we have to provide enough guidance… to make it flexible enough, but [still] give people the specifics of their role."
Every organization is unique, so the level of detail needed in your competency profiles is extremely important to understand when you're going into your competency profiling process.
If you're not sure of the implications, it's usually best to talk to a competency profiling expert, like those at HRSG.
3. Do it the manual way if you’d like. Or save hundreds of hours with software.
As mentioned, Neil had previously worked on similar projects in other organizations, so he’s uniquely qualified to compare the manual method against the software-driven method.
“Now, I like building them all from scratch, it is fun,” he said with a chuckle. “But it is a very, very time-consuming process.”
“It takes a lot of time, a lot of engagement with subject matter experts. And I knew I needed to do some of that, but I just needed to hit the ground running as well. And the pre-packaged library content that CompetencyCore offered, that’s what did the trick.”
Neil tells us that CompetencyCore made it easy for him to create drafts of new roles within 5 to 10 minutes by pulling in existing content and editing it for his needs.
The time savings have been substantial. He’s been able to implement competency profiles for all pertinent technical roles in his organization.
Most impressively, by using CompetencyCore, Neil was able to shrink a project that could have potentially taken years down into a span of several months.