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It would be hard to argue against the many benefits of effective competency management. Access to the skills inventory of a workforce to use for performance improvement alone would be enough reason for any organization to implement a competency management method.

Integrating a Competency Management Method with workforce development and training requires a specific process to be followed. It may take more time and effort than desired, but the results are well-worth the investment. Here are the five main steps that need to be completed.

Competency Management Method 

Step 1              Define the organization’s mission and goals
Step 2              Conduct a job task analysis
Step 3              Set key performance standards and metrics
Step 4              Assess individual skills gaps and identify learning resources
Step 5              Observe and measure changes in key performance metric

The first and most critical step is for the organization to define its mission and goals clearly. All of the organization’s endeavors flow from a well-defined mission and specific goals. Many organizations may already have this step completed.

The second step is almost as important as the first – to conduct a job task analysis that defines job roles and related competencies. This means that each job role must be evaluated in-depth and the core competencies for success in that job role must be defined. Ideally, all competencies for a job role should be identified. In addition, the competencies for each job role must align with the organization’s mission and goals.

Third, key performance standards, and metrics to measure them, must be established. This creates a baseline of the known minimum levels for the main job tasks and related competencies. Whenever feasible, the performance standards should include specific metrics: for example, timing to complete a certain task, or knowledge of a software system at a 75 percent level.

The fourth step evaluates each individual on their performance against the standards defined for their specific job role. When the performance standards contain sufficient detail, the individual skills gaps become apparent when measuring the employee’s performance against them. In this step, learning resources and necessary tools can also be identified to help close the skills gaps.

The fifth and final step involves continuous evaluation, monitoring, and measuring over the long term to determine whether individuals are progressing at closing the skills gaps. Coaching is one prevalent and effective tool, allowing supervisors and employees to discuss progress on closing the skills gaps. It also ensures that each employee understands each competency and the expectations for it, or better yet — how to exceed expectations for optimal performance improvement. The information from these discussions and the data from measurement can then be analyzed on a broader scale, to team, departmental, and organizational levels.

After digesting these five steps, you may be wondering how to effectively manage all this data and information. The importance of competency management systems continues to grow among organizations that are focused on success. Because most organizations utilize many people in myriad jobs, numerous competency models – sometimes hundreds – can be required. These companies often need practical technology to manage this large volume of detailed data. You can contact us at Avilar for more information on our competency management system – WebMentor Skills™ – to help manage your data. With a competency management system in place, you can also better motivate staff, align training with company goals, and optimize the hiring process.

A competency management program can be used for so much more than just performance improvement, So for my next blog, I’ll post the reasons why a competency management method results in success and justify the investment of time and energy. Until then, we hope you’ll post your comments and questions.