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Part 2: Four Ways to Measure Competency Based Outcomes

By Diana Esparza on October, 17 2016
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Diana Esparza

In a recent blog, we explored the Measurement of Competency Based Outcomes where we explained the importance of evaluating the outcomes of your competency-based HR applications. 

The time to plan your evaluation is before you implement the competencies, so that you are assured of having the right information to measure results.

There are four ways to measure results:

  1. Project execution
  2. Qualitative Data Sampling
  3. Performance
  4. Business Results

To help you with your planning, here is a simple checklist of ways in which you can measure outcomes. In this blog, we will explore the latter two ways, Performance and Business Results. These are the most complex but meaningful ways to show results to your company.

Performance – involves showing improvements through actual performance, for example, output per person or group; reduction in turnover; reduction in errors.

Most organizations collect statistics on turnover, and organizations such as Manufacturing collect information on outputs and errors.  The challenge is to draw a clear relationship between how the competencies actually affected these outcomes.

For example, turnover can be affected by pay, but more importantly, by management behaviors such as respect and trust. (Society for Human Resource Management, Job Satisfaction and Engagement Survey, 2015)


The following example suggests a straightforward way to measure performance improvement following a learning intervention.


Performance Impact following Learning

Assessing the employee’s behaviors through a competency assessment survey is an effective way to determine improvement. 

First you need to establish a baseline before learning occurs, and then repeat the assessment after learning occurs.  Key criteria for conducting the assessment includes:

  • The assessment should be conducted by a manager who observed the performance.
  • The assessment should focus on specific and observable behaviors seen on the job (i.e. “communicated in a positive and respectful way to the customer” as opposed to “showed good customer communication.”
  • The assessment should occur once sufficient time has elapsed for behavior to consistently change (i.e. 6 months not 6 weeks).



Customers can provide assessments through customer surveys.  For example, after training occurs, use the following questions to show improvements in competencies.

  • How satisfied are you with the repairs to your vehicle? (technical competencies related to repair and maintenance).
  • How satisfied are you with the personal service provided? (competencies related to communication and customer service).


Want to learn more about using competencies? Get started with our Competency Toolkit:

Download your Competency Toolkit using the form below.



Business Results – involves measuring impact on the business as a result of using competencies.

As an example, financial results can be achieved through improvements in the ways that employees behave and interact with clients.  Take for example the sales group and the importance of Client Focus.  

Sales people need to understand their clients’ needs by asking the right questions, understanding the client’s business, knowing how their product can help, and speaking meaningful business language. Excellent Client Focus behaviors will lead to increased sales and client retention.

You can show business results through increases in sales, revenue or client retention.

Key factors to consider before collecting sales and retention data include:

  • Measurement of results must follow the implementation of competencies, once targeted training or coaching has occurred.
  • Sufficient time must have occurred to allow the sales team to learn and practice client-focus behaviors throughout the sales cycle.
  • Check that the sales team is appropriately demonstrating the competencies before assuming they have mastered the behaviors needed.
  • Make sure there are no other factors occurring, , such as a decrease in price, that could confound your results.

Measuring the results of your competency initiative will demonstrate the value of managing talent through competencies and solidify your ROI.

In later blogs, we will review the results companies have achieved through using a competency approach to Talent Management.

All of these outcomes can and should be measured. For information on Planning a Successful Competency Initiative with KPIs, please see: Webinar Archive: Panel Q&A Session – Planning a Successful Competency Initiative.




Post last updated: February 21, 2020.

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