Competencies are the solid foundation you need to tackle low engagement

March 13, 2018 Caitlin Leishman

In any organization, you want your staff to be able to perform at their full potential. Understanding those who work for you and how to motivate and engage them is key to having employees that achieve their goals in line with organizational goals. While there’s no quick fix when it comes to boosting employee engagement, there are many things HR professionals can do to align talent-management practices in support of job satisfaction.

The way we define career success is changing and is no longer exclusively measured in terms of salary and promotions. Instead, employees look for employment that aligns with their values, allows them to improve and exercise their skills, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Career pathways are becoming increasingly fragmented and individualistic as individuals no longer solely look to move vertically upwards in an organization, but often want to move laterally in order to explore new opportunities. What engages employees can differ based on personal, organizational and event cultural factors, but one common theme is the importance of making workplace connections and having employees feel that their contributions are valued and impactful. But this can be difficult to achieve, and according to research from Deloitte, as much as 88% of people are disengaged in the workplace.

While the complexity surrounding workplace engagement isn’t going away, competencies are an extremely useful tool for managing it. Competencies translate hard to define job requirements into observable behaviors, allowing employees to understand and develop their skills more effectively. This makes it easier to build more transparent career development processes and empower employees. When your organization defines high performance clearly and gives managers the tools to provide top performers with continuous feedback and recognition, it enables those valuable employees to hone their job performance, become better mentors to others, and start replicating their impact across the organization.

Competencies allow organizations to reinvent their engagement strategy. By deciding on your organization’s core competencies, essentially key values, you are more likely to encourage employees to work towards organizational goals. You are also more likely to hire employees who embody these core competencies, leading to increased culture fit and engagement. When employees feel connected to their organization’s core competencies, they enjoy a more satisfying connection to their work. Competencies also open up new doors for employees, allowing them to see the skills they need to move laterally in an organization as well as vertically. This means that employees seeking opportunities in a different type of position don’t necessarily feel the need to look outside their current place of employment, leading to greater retention.

If your organization would like to build a more engaging career development program, contact one of our experts for advice on how competencies can help you get started.

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