The phrase ‘what gets measured gets done.’ Is often used in relation to defining and measuring effectiveness and is critical to any organisation. Whilst it is easy to measure how many widgets are processed in an hour, it becomes more difficult when it comes to measuring the performance of an individual and fine-tuning support to ensure they receive tailored coaching and up-skilling.
The question is: How do you define the skills, behaviours, and attitudes that people need to perform their roles effectively? How do you know they’re qualified for the job? In other words, how do you know what to measure? That’s where Competency Frameworks come in.
Background to Competency Frameworks
You are probably familiar with the phrase ‘what gets measured gets done.’ Defining and measuring effectiveness – especially the performance of people – is critical to any organisation. The question is: How do you define the skills, behaviours, and attitudes that people need to perform their roles effectively? How do you know they’re qualified for the job? In other words, how do you know what to measure?
Some people think formal education is a reliable measure. Others believe more in on-the-job training, and years of experience. Still others might argue that personal characteristics hold the key to effective work behaviour.
All of these are important, but none seems sufficient to describe an ideal set of behaviours and traits needed for any particular role. Nor do they guarantee that individuals will perform to the standards and levels required by the organization.
A more complete way of approaching this is to link individual performance to the goals of the business. To do this, many companies use ‘competencies.’ These are the integrated knowledge, skills, judgment, and attributes that people need to perform a job effectively. By having a defined set of competencies for each role in the business, it shows employees the kind of behaviours the organization values, and which it requires to help achieve its objectives. Not only can advisors work more effectively and achieve their potential, but there are many business benefits to be had from linking personal performance with corporate goals and values.
Defining which competencies are necessary for success in an organization can help to do the following:
Ensure that people demonstrate sufficient expertise.
Recruit and select new staff more effectively.
Evaluate performance more effectively.
Identify skill and competency gaps more efficiently.
Provide more customized training and professional development.
Plan sufficiently for succession.
Make change management processes work more efficiently.
How can an organisation define the set of practices that it needs for effective performance? This can be achieved by adding a competency framework to the organisation’s talent management programme. By collecting and combining competency information, a standardized approach can be created to performance that is clear and accessible to everyone in the business. The framework outlines specifically what people need to do to be effective in their roles and it clearly establishes how their roles relate to organizational goals and success.
Benefits of the Competency Approach
There are benefits for the organisation, for sections/teams and for individuals.
Potential organisational benefits:
Jobs are more clearly defined.
Recruitment is focused upon exact needs.
Training needs are more clearly defined.
Teams operate effectively and coherently.
Increase in consistency between sections.
Greater likelihood of compliance with employment legislation.
Organisational credibility is enhanced.
Potential departmental/team benefits:
Clarity of responsibilities and authorities.
Increased motivation from clarity of goals.
Job design and redesign is more straightforward.
New recruits ‘fit’ well to what is needed.
Staff development is clearly linked to job needs.
Greater objectivity and transparency of assessment.