Strategies for Successful Competency Management (Part 1)

October 23, 2017 Caitlin Leishman

Successful competency management

A recent study by Brandon Hall Group showed that competency initiatives sit at four different maturity levels. Those at the lower levels face several barriers to success, but there are ways to overcome these barriers.

In this article we will go over two possible strategies: developing planning tools and utilizing technology.

Strategy #1: Developing planning tools

Developing competencies can be complex, especially for large organizations with thousands of employees.

Brandon Hall Group’s research showed that 70% of organizations attempt to implement competencies for all employees. And while having competencies in place for all employees is a good goal for organizations to strive towards, it can be overwhelming to attempt at the beginning of a project. This approach can often lead to a failed competency project.

A better option is to start by choosing competencies for critical jobs and roles, as well as core competencies for your organization. But even this can be complicated by a lack of common language surrounding competencies.

That's why planning tools that create a common competency language and culture are so important to the success of a competency initiative.

How planning tools help

Planning tools, such as identified goals, a communications plan and even a competency glossary, are elements of the project that you can put in place to increase the likelihood of success.

The benefits from starting your project out on the right foot can have significant impact on your organization. The Brandon Hall Group research shows that organizations with fully active models are 58% more likely than other organizations to rate their competency objectives as effective.  

Strategy #2: Utilizing technology

Another important factor in competency success is leveraging technology. Since many organizations haven't built much room into their budget for competency projects, it is often the case that progress is slow in using technology for competency management. Believe it or not, a lot of organizations are still attempting to manage their projects on paper. 

This speaks to a central issue that's preventing some companies from finding success: under-investment in competency-based initiatives in general; and as a result, under-investment in the technology that can help make them a success. According to Brandon Hall Group, only 23% of organizations allocate 10% or more of their talent management budget to competencies. The research shows that these organizations get significantly better results than the 56% that use 3% or less of their talent management budget.

Generally, when there is greater investment in competency-based initiatives, some of that budget gets allocated to tools and competency management software that can make a real impact. Fully automated organizations are 69% more likely to rate their top competency objectives as effective, as per the Brandon Hall Group report. 

In next week’s blog post, we will cover two other strategies you can use to drive competency success in your organization. In the meantime, you can read Brandon Hall Group’s full report, or reach out to one of our competency experts for more information on competency management. 

More tips for success with competencies:

Optimize your competency framework - ebook

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