How Competency Development Can Help Businesses Grow
29 September, 2023
Reading Time: 6 mins
Competency development in the workplace is not just a buzzword but a critical component of success for any organization. It focuses on honing one’s skills and knowledge to excel in any field. Competency management helps determine what skills each person needs to do their job right and helps them improve those skills.
What are competencies? Competencies are skills, values, or characteristics. They show how to do things instead of what the end goal is. Running competency development programs for employees ensures they have a clear idea of what’s expected of them.
Employee competency development and management also include the primary skills and values that the whole company should have. Every company should have a set of four to six core competencies. These show what’s essential for workforce development and how you are different from other companies.
Why is competency management important? Competency management is becoming more important each year. Companies are working harder to keep skilled employees in a competitive job market and make them better at their jobs. Competence solutions help with these challenges and more.
When we understand and talk about the values and skills needed for a job, employees can spend their time getting better at those skills instead of trying to figure out what’s expected of them.
Conducting a Competency Gap Analysis
A competency gap analysis is a way to figure out the difference between the skills your employees have now and the skills they need in the future. It helps you strengthen your workforce by preparing them for the jobs of the future.
Doing this regularly helps your company stay competitive, adjust to changes in your industry, boost productivity, and promote loyalty. Here’s how to do it:
Know Your Goals: First, you need to know what you want to achieve in the future. These include growing the company, making new products, or getting more customers. Knowing these goals helps you understand what skills your employees need.
List Skills: List all the skills and knowledge your employees need to reach those goals. Think about everything they need to do their jobs well.
Check Skills: Find out what skills your employees have right now. You can do this by asking their managers, checking their job reviews, or doing tests.
Find Gaps: Compare your employees’ skills to those they need. See what’s missing. Then, decide which lacking abilities are the most important to fix.
What Strategies Can You Use to Fix Competency Gaps?
Addressing skill gaps is essential for cultivating a strong and capable team. To achieve this, organizations can adopt various effective strategies. One approach is to provide specialized training and learning opportunities, such as classes, workshops, or online courses, to help employees bridge their skill gaps. Additionally, promoting a culture of coaching and peer-to-peer support by encouraging experienced employees to mentor and assist those in need not only aids individual growth but also enhances the overall team’s capabilities.
In some cases, addressing critical skill gaps may require hiring new talent or promoting existing employees who can fill the gaps. This strategic staffing approach ensures that the team remains well-equipped to meet evolving challenges. Lastly, keeping top-performing employees satisfied and engaged in their roles ensures that their knowledge and expertise continue to benefit the organization as they advance in their careers.
To gauge skills improvement and ensure ongoing progress in job performance, it’s essential to regularly evaluate what strategies are yielding positive results, and seek feedback from both employees and managers to identify strengths and weaknesses within the workforce. If it becomes evident that progress is stagnating or ineffective, it’s imperative to adapt and modify existing plans.
Fostering a culture of continuous learning within your organization requires proactive steps like emphasizing the importance of personal and professional growth and providing opportunities for them to acquire new skills. Utilize specialized tools and resources designed to facilitate and track employee learning progress, ensuring that individuals have the support they need to expand their knowledge and competencies.
Establish clear goals and development plans for each job position within your company, outlining the skills and knowledge required for career advancement or new responsibilities. By nurturing a company culture that values and prioritizes learning, you create a workforce that is adaptable, content, and well-equipped to contribute to the organization’s growth and success.
Competency Mapping Frameworks
Implementing a competency framework carries numerous benefits, with a central focus on enhancing performance and people management. This framework helps define success both within specific roles and across the organization, leading to more precise and effective hiring processes. Outlining the criteria for “good” work at every level nurtures a culture characterized by desirable behaviors and expertise.
The framework contributes to improved hiring accuracy by prioritizing essential behavioral traits, ultimately reducing turnover rates and streamlining recruitment efforts. As a result, organizations cultivate teams that value professionalism, effective communication, and adept problem-solving, while also setting clear performance expectations and facilitating the recognition of high-performing individuals.
Companies can choose from several competency mapping frameworks, each with unique characteristics. Here are some notable competency mapping frameworks:
Lominger Competency Model: LCM assesses 67 competencies, mainly on leadership and talent management. It includes competencies like approachability, business acumen, compassion, creativity, and career ambition. This model emphasizes cultural fit.
Clifton Strengths: This measures 177 competencies, providing an overview of a person’s behavioral preferences and strengths. It categorizes individuals into 34 themes based on their unique talents.
SHL Universal Competency Framework: Operates on a 3-tier structure with 8 general competency factors, 20 competency dimensions, and 96 competency components. It specifies requirements for optimum role performance.
The European e-Competence Framework (e-CF): Contains 41 competencies applied in an IT work context and facilitates communication between HR and IT departments.
ASTD Competency Model: Developed by the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), this model assesses and develops HR professionals’ skills and competencies. It comprises foundation, focus, and execution levels.
DDI (Development Dimensions International): Focuses on competencies that contribute to success in leadership roles and includes elements like knowledge, experience, competencies, and personal attributes.
Let’s Talk About Competency Mapping
Competency mapping is an HR strategy aimed at systematically evaluating candidates and employees to understand their competencies and areas of improvement. It helps identify the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for specific organizational roles.
Here is a summary of the critical steps for HR professionals to develop a competency map:
Conduct a Job Analysis
Use position information questionnaires (PIQs) or interviews to gather data on existing employees’ skills and their alignment with their roles. Incorporate supervisor evaluations and work history to provide an unbiased perspective of performance.
Identify Core Competencies
Analyze the data obtained from the job analysis to identify the core competencies needed for each role within the organization. Core competencies should encompass knowledge, skills, behaviors, motives, and ambitions, aligning them with the daily responsibilities of each role.
Define Proficiency Levels
Assign proficiency levels to each competency with the help of standard scales – basic, intermediate, advanced, and expert. Specify the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and experience required at each proficiency level for each competency.
Validate the Competencies
Seek input and feedback from subject matter experts, managers, and employees in the respective roles to validate the identified competencies.
Organize the Competency Framework
To create a competency model, assemble the competencies required for specific roles or functions. This model serves as a tangible framework for performance management, skill gap analysis, and development, defining the ideal organization and professional standards.
Document the Competency Descriptions
Make sure to create clear and concise descriptions for each competency. These should include behavioral indicators or examples illustrating expected performance at different proficiency levels to help individuals understand each competency’s requirements.
Integrate into HR Processes
Embed the competency map into various HR processes, such as:
Inclusion in job descriptions ensures alignment with role expectations.
Integration into performance evaluations to assess competency development.
Assigning metrics to measure each competency.
Identifying additional resources or training required for employees or departments to improve their performance in alignment with competencies.
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