Kessler, R. (2004).

Collaborate with employees to make your competency-based
systems stronger. Employment Relations Today, 31 (3) pp. 27-32. (AR27544)

Collaborate with employees to make your competency-based systems stronger
Robin Kessler
Employment Re/ations Today; Fall2004; 31, 3; ABIIINFORM Global

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Further reproduction prohibited without permission. because they see it as a way to help them For the whole system to work more effec­ irnprove the overall performance of their tively. taught to make the decision to use competency-based systems system work for them. the entire organization will achieve those ing (or recruiting) the competencies needed goals much faster and more effectively.ations are including competencies can easily access the list of competencies when they Jist their positions at job-search managers will use in behavioral interviews Web sites like Monster.l�k. employees organiz. Competency-based systems can thrive in a competency-based system.-'l.ity of success in improving the compe­ sources that describe what wouJd be required tency levels of an entire department or to reach a higher level in each key compe­ workforce is greater if individual employ­ tency area. for intemal promotion possibilities. In the last year.Jo'f'*'-s t> M'("{"Yd lhe/4 ''""'pd'"''r�a!R. Improve competency 1eve1s (aster.ed).. based systems.. In also give senior managers a way to help addition to the current top-down approach to change the mission of the organization-for competencies...d ..{)..ütq. but Managers and consultants usually make the they are rarely. their commitment to the program. . focus on the organization's competency goals. if ever. Managers make an effort to ees are working toward the goal of mov- Reproduced with permission of !he copyright owner.�. The human resources or organizational development We have identified six important reasons why managers responsible for designing and main­ employers should consider collaborating with taining the competency-based systems and their employees to make their current compe­ individual competency-based applications tency-based systems work more effectively. When individual employees erq. (l.¡d. Using online resources. !P.:w& rteed t. to make the new mission successful.e· cf¡. from lowest-cost producer to high­ orating with their employees to encourage est-quality producer-by focusing on develop. In many But are these systems working as wel1 as cases.rno. employees receive charts and bro­ they should? Al:e there ways that leading­ chures describing competencies and individ­ edge organizations can make their compe­ ual competency-based applications. Even the best competency-based systems Partnering with Emp!oyees are top-down in their focus. The increase in compe­ ensure their employees know which compe­ tency use is also evident if you look at online tencies are critica! for their performance sites.ations should be collab­ example. employees usually know about the competency-based WHAT'S MISSING? system and individual competency-based applications like behavioral interviewing. employees need to be taught how to employees. it is clear that more appraisals. make sure employees know the key compe­ and these are described below: tencies for their positions and do a good job of communicating any changes.eflM. the ne. Employees l. Organiza­ tions need to begin working more directly with employees to support their competency­ 0-�qait. The proba­ are given access to directories or online bil. In the tency-based systems even more effective? most sophisticated organizations.xt few months.. organiz.ih.lf -w.f..

Empower employees an. providers. 4.mpdefl. Developing high-quality com­ u. for a significant contract. . competency­ ees will be more committed to the suc­ based internaJ ré is important to think • Prepare more effectively for an inter­ about showcasing the competencies of the na! behavioral interview.nclerstand what they can do how much they could improve the compe­ to actively manage their careers in a tencies of their employees simply by hav­ competency-based systern. cies. In train­ data sheet� being provided as part of the ing and coaching to help employees bid package. ""'"'J-'J i#'JVI'Wbvf tlm4 GWH-b. lte�tarJ rxo.uerican interview for a promotion. they are much ing them develop competency-based more likely to buy into the system and résmnés and trainL"'lg them to thrive in a competency-based system..utU 2. an petency-based résumés '"'i.iiiOff..A tw.�!. employees are working to develop their the more efficiently employees work competencies in the areas that are the toward their goals. flt.. cvzcpnl�m. a. For outsourced national origin. employees are asked to provide the orga­ nization with in. accomplishments in each competency Employees need to work toward improv­ area.J.f. disability status. realize they had internally.d improve mora/e.més are devel­ based system if they: oped.u!. If dep. ing to higher competency levels.ies providing services to com­ ment statements shown on the. A. Employ­ done by developing strong.!. and Express. Enable companies to sell their services more • Increase the probabí!ity of being cho­ effectively to competen cy-based customers.J. By provid.més. more • Understand how to improve their accurate information before making deci­ chances of achieving a positive perfor­ sions about work assignments and promo­ mance evaluation based on competen­ tional opportunities. proposed project team in the résumés or 5.nderstand how the system works.més for an gan Chase.. it is also important that By explaining to employees what it takes Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.formation about their be connnitted to making it work. cess of the organization's coi:npetency­ or data sheets. lf Most managers have not yet recognized employees u.ency-based organizations like JPMor­ petency-based intemal résu.iscover ing their own levels in the relevant com­ some employee strengths they did not petencies for their individual positions. 3. employee profiles.Mdv. This can be departments. managers will have better.e..w.weJ lÍ> wo..z. ff. about the competencies of their employees. Support diversity efforts. Anheuser com­ pet. sen based on targeted accomplish­ For cornpan.ll help ensure increasingly diverse wor kforce will be that the customers understand how the exposed to what they need to do to suc­ competencies of the team will work to ceed. .. or BP. and organizations. Cm-plr>'f'24. Provide employers with better information l#t.Cled.()l]. the entire organization wiJl be achieved.(. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Clearly. employers are likely to d. or age. If these résu. the faster the goals of most critical to the customers. demystifying what it help their organization and will give your takes to get ahead clarifíes the rules for organization an edge if you are competing everyone-without regard to race.

ation or to be considered for better opportunities . teachli1g.(J.. under the new ways of operating in the or mentoring within the organization.ons: lege. Com­ sion planning. within their current organization. !k o!J t='f" o/r J"'/iw¡ altead '''"'f •mt /.o identify accomplishments related to rele­ 6. Employees need to be trained types of employees will be successful.(Jip o. qualified canclidates to be prom.üt flte w()Jz. or spreadsheet sofn. ing field to start from..ments. A tracking system can ing about the competencies t.. Because managers will be screening and i. coaching.. workplace. they can Iook for based systems even the playing field.. or taking classes at a col­ gesti.e /1IU(j.e M e/!Rdir. They can also develop their competenci. coaching . sense for all who want to app1y to work for a competency-based organiz.'lter viewing candidates based on the rel­ ments-listed competency by competency­ evant competencies.on. More employees database. views and the position .oted. The better the quality accomplishment statements. petency-based résumés will give man­ agers better information about the What Emp!oyees Should Do to Manage Their strengths of their employees in the areas Own Careers that are the most important to predict their future success. to be successful in a competency-based be developed by individual employees ( or system. tttnde). It is O Set up and use a system to track competencies important for employees to also he think­ and accomplishments. When employees know whích com­ need to start thinki. the old opportunities to build these competencies ways of getting ahead may not be as effective through assign. or trade school program. employees stand a they are more likely to choose the best­ better chanpe to get selected for inter­ . the more keep them updated to be ready lar new likely they are to do a good job with succes­ opportunities within the organization. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. university. #. of about managing their pete. training. .if thei. (.r résumés l\·1anagers can identify competency gaps híghlight theír accomplishments in the and areas that need to be strengthened and critica] competency areas.. If employers have access to petency-based résumés simply make information about employee So what can employees do to manage their outside the organization through volunteer own careers clifferently? Here are severa] sug­ work. Com­ assignments to help meet these needs..ncies are critica! to their success in own careers Improve quality of succession planning and vant competencies and how to write good employee development.aee.h.hey need for Reproduced with permission of !he copyright owner./ apbtaiiJ-�. t. and work fresh approach to writing résumés. This is a new. O Identify and overcome competency gaps. and more organizati. employees have a more even play­ by ·the organization) using word-processing. Because competency­ their current positions. Most employees have no idea that with the O Dewlop critica) competencies to a higher change to a competency-based system they leve!.formation managers have about the O Develop competency-based résumés and competencies of their employees. develop training.are or by the have a chance to be successful.

d­ ful in the new position.i. . in future positions.g.a/. rent jobs to the best of their abilities and have assumed that their managers will appraisa1. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.. ei1!f�. their current positions but have not devel­ managers know when they have done par­ oped to the level required to be success­ ticularly good work and what they want ful.. they will be required to be successful in sales..J.. or sion rnakers relate to the critica! compe­ attending a class sponsored by an outside tencies for their current positions-or the organization. employees need to tency gaps. from their competency tracking system In a competency-based system. u . and add developing the competencies required for relevant inforrnation.s. This assigm:nents and training to enable them should be done in addition to any to have significant accomplishments in the employee questionnalres currently right competency areas.a0¡?4 6-?Jrp.. This approach may ments for the last year by competency not work as weJJ for thern under a more area. if they are not wiJJ.u -ü á... employees should provide their take care of them when there is an oppor­ managers with a Jist of their accomplísh­ tunity to be promoted. Most eva1uations because it would ensure the upwardly mobile employees have figured manager has the critica] information out that they need to make sure their about the competency-based accompllsh- Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. When passed over. When an employee is transferred to do in the future. &-t. required by the organization. ·:'f!pfYll fwn' tlw J. coaching.. /Uf#f. So what's changed? In a com­ employees recognize their own compe­ petency-based system. it is reasonable employees are. mentoring. Ideally. to going to be the ones w ho ídentífy the managers before each perfonnance apprm��al.p:1.. No matter how good from engineering to sales.uuúrA. Many hardwork­ aped r:. ed5t .Jh-.¡�¡ to for the sales manager to e. tire ing employees focus on dolng their cur­ Cifl'P"'.e.afda. A standardized promotional opportunities is at Jeast partly report from the database could be devel­ their responsibility-they need to advocate oped and run by the employee or manager for themselves to make sure they get the before the appralsal is written. listed by competency area. The sav-viest employees O Submit an updated list of their latest accom­ in a competency-based organization are plishments.-pect compe­ advocate for themselves or enlist a man­ tency gaps in certain of the competencies ager to advocate for them. They employees need to recognize early that shotlld read the report. positions they are interested in moving About a month before the performance into in the future. training. the listing these accomplishments.e. �if tire. they should run a report sophisticated competency-based system. and work to deve1op the competencies required to be success­ 4 . they can collaborate with their be more st:rategic about making sure that managers to develop a plan to overcome the accomplishments they emphaslze with the gaps through targeted work assign­ their direct manager and other key deci­ ment.t-11-r211. This could O Promote their careers by maldng sure key work to help employees receive better managers know theír competencies. M .. positions they want to be considered for O Add new competencies that might be crilical in the near

consider ídentífying a resource resources and organization development man­ withln the company to monitor the quality of agers need to encomage employees to active! y the writing and provide assistance. the organization will become Consider offering the employees training on more competitive.g how much progress their managers to make the entire organization the employees feel they have made over stronger and more competitive for the future. more competent. Once the competency-based systems stronger and more employees have developed the first interna! effective simply makes sense.ast year on relevant competencies Provide training or individual coaching on would give managers additional informa­ how to write a competency-based résurné or tion to con.ities.sider and help them be more data sheet. the J. Structure your con¡_petency­ ovm departments and make eve1Y effort to based system the new way and encourage support the idea of more activeiy collaborating your employees to actively work to develop wíU1 employees to improve the competency key competencies. Make sure employees know that they are be ready for future opportun. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Knowin. Human résu1nés. As the employees become levels of their depa:rtments. many good employees are not good writers and will probably need some help developing What Employers Can Do the hlgh-quality. try to develop their competencies to support Collaborating with your employees will the organization's goals. You will have helped your how to thrive in a competency-based organiza­ organization develop the right competencies to non. ments written from the perspective of the being asked to collaborate or partner with empioyees. It is importan! to remember that effective in writing the final evaluations. Line and staff man­ make your competency-based system even agers should understand the benefits to their more successful. competency-based accom­ plishment statements and résumés that will be Collaborating wíth emp!oyees to make your the most helpful to managers. . Reproduced with permission of !he copyright owner.