The imperatives of successful competency management

July 24, 2017 Caitlin Leishman

If you attended last week’s webinar on ‘the 5 Imperatives for High-Performance Competency Management’, you had the opportunity to learn strategies for success, and recommendations for making progress with your competency initiative. If you didn’t have the chance to attend, don’t worry! In this blog post we’ll cover the main results from Brandon Hall Group’s competency planning and management research, and outline some key competency effectiveness statistics. If you’re an organization that is thinking about implementing competencies, or wants to improve on an existing competency framework, the following findings will shed some light on potential pitfalls to avoid.

Brandon Hall Group’s competency management research consisted of data from 57 countries, 36 industries, organizations of varying sizes and management structures. They first discovered that most organizations are not making use of all types of competencies. For instance, 61% of organizations use core competencies while only 28% use technical competencies. As we discuss in our Optimizing Your Competency Framework ebook, it is important to utilize a variety of competency categories for successful talent management.

Top objectives of competencies vs. effectiveness

  • 76% of respondents cited improving organizational performance as the most important objective, with a 33% effectiveness rate.
  • 71% cited improving individual performance, with a 39% effectiveness rate.
  • 66% cited building future capabilities, with a 29% effectiveness rate.
  • 59% cited building leadership pipelines, with a 39% effectiveness rate.

These discrepancies could be because 64% of organizations have no program, an ad-hoc approach, or are working to define competencies and a competency framework for mission-critical positions or job roles.

The competency maturity model

Brandon Hall Group’s competency maturity model allows organizations to discover where they stand in terms of an effective and optimized competency framework. The levels range from level 1 (casual) where there is no competency management program, to level 4 (optimized) where there is a fully developed competency program.

18% of organizations fell into the first category, and 8% met the standards for level 4. 46% of organizations were in level 2 (developing), meaning they are only working to define competencies for mission-critical positions and are attempting to get a competency initiative underway. The remaining 28% of organizations were in level 3 (standardized), meaning they have a competency model that is fully aligned with their business goals, but is still working towards full automation and organization-wide use.

One can see the impact of these levels when looking at competency effectiveness. 81% of organizations at level 4 view competencies as being effective in improving organizational performance, with a dramatic drop off at level 3 with only 49% of organizations at that level finding competencies effective. The decrease continues with 33% at level 2, and 30% at level 1.

Barriers to success

Organizations at differing levels on the competency maturity model also reported different barriers to success. Level 1 organizations reported lack of executive buy-in and a lack of internal knowledge being the main reasons, while level 4 organizations found budget challenges and difficulties in aligning competencies with business goals to be the most common. Budget difficulties were also reported at levels 2 and 3 as well.

The 5 imperatives to competency management

1.Aligning competencies with business goals

19% of organizations say competencies and business goals are aligned. They are 67% more likely than other organizations to rate their competency objectives as effective.

2.Investing in competencies

Only 23% of organizations spend 10% or more of their budget on competency management. This small percentage of companies is 68% more likely to rate their competency objectives as effective.

3.Leveraging technology

Only 11% of organizations are fully automated, with 49% at a partial stage and a full 40% of organizations using competencies are still paper-based. Utilizing technology when implementing competencies is an important step towards optimization for any organization.

4.Developing a framework that fits your organization

Organizations with fully active frameworks are 58% more likely to rate their competency objectives as effective.

5.Develop technical competencies

About twice as many organizations have core competencies rather than technical competencies. This makes sense as they are more difficult and time consuming to develop, but they do have an excellent payoff. Organizations using technical competencies are 115% more likely than other organizations to view their competency objectives as effective.

If you’d like to know more, check out the full Brandon Hall Group and HRSG webinar, which contains more information and statistics on the imperatives of successful competency management.

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