“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson
At Skilo, we love to talk to our customers about employee development and performance management. Quite often, we find companies focusing more on managing employees’ goals and there is not enough attention given to building out employees’ skills, knowledge and expertise. This is understandable, especially for smaller and high growth companies. They have other priorities to juggle such as company growth, business development, employee satisfaction, containing costs and so on. However, if you keep growing without tracking, assessing and monitoring your employees’ competencies, you could be faced with some serious challenges down the road such as skills gaps, inadequately trained staff, difficulty in engaging and retaining employees, unclear expectations that can result in impacting your top and bottom lines. At Skilo, we believe that having well-defined competency frameworks are not dead. In fact, they are much needed.
What is a Competency Framework?
We define a competency framework as a well-organized collection of skills, knowledge, and expertise (technical, professional and soft) that are tied to roles or jobs and can provide staff with clear performance expectations throughout different levels within the organization.
Competencies contained within the framework should be well defined with behaviors or proficiencies that need to be demonstrated at each level. Competency frameworks should also be measurable (i.e., level of competence) so it is clear to employees and managers where key performance strengths and development opportunities lie. It is important to define baseline or default levels to competencies in order to assess, measure and evaluate employee development as part of the overall performance management process.
Why even have Competency Frameworks?
Creating and maintaining competency frameworks sounds like a lot of work, especially with companies moving to more creative performance management processes such as a no-rating system. We believe that having well-defined competency frameworks is more important now than ever. Consider this:
- We live in an era of a multi-generational workforce that has different expectations, belief systems, and aspirations. It is crucial to level set employees’ expectations to job expectations and company objectives regardless of how they view the world. A competency framework can provide clarity and transparency around what is expected of employees.
- Employees can thrive when they are able to envision their career progression, are given the opportunity to own their careers and are able to implement their professional aspirations. Competency frameworks are a great way to define what the next level (or a lateral level) looks like and what it takes to get there.
- Managers can be effective when they can clearly identify and assess skills or knowledge strengths and gaps within their teams. A robust framework can help managers to identify high potential employees or lay out an actionable development and learning plan for employees with development areas.
- M&A activity continues to rise. Having a framework or an ‘inventory’ of skills and expertise during M&A can be helpful to integration teams to better understand skills complements versus redundancies.
These are just some of the reasons as to why competency frameworks can be relevant to your organization. Competency frameworks can be the models that broadly define the blueprint for performance expectations within a company. What’s really important is that the competencies can be scaled (as new levels are added or removed), easy to understand and measurable so knowledge gaps can be identified and mitigated.
Creating a competency framework can be an effective method to identify, evaluate, and monitor the knowledge, skills, and expertise of your staff. Competency frameworks allow you to measure current competency levels to enable your staff to have the required skills and knowledge needed to be successful. It can help leaders to make informed decisions about talent acquisition, employee engagement, and succession planning. By identifying the specific behaviors and skills needed for each role, it enables talent managers to plan for specific learning and development activities for employees.
We understand that creating competency frameworks can be complex and tedious. However, the long-term benefits outweigh the risk of not having individual competencies tied to strategic company goals and objectives.
A Point of View by:
Tarun Lajmi – Managing Director at enxoo responsible for business development, sales and customer success for North America.
Skilo is an intuitive talent management solution that enables employees, managers and HR professionals to articulate, assess and develop performance goals, competencies, aspirations, and knowledge needed to achieve strategic goals and company results.
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