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How do you get started with competency management that’s right for your organization? Here are five steps to get you going.

From recruitment through hiring, development, and promotion, many successful companies rely on competency management to optimize the skills of their workforce and give the company a competitive edge. By aligning the skills of your people with your organization’s strategic goals and initiatives, you put the power of your entire workforce behind you. 

If you’ve decided that competency management is right for your organization, but you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. Here are five steps to get you started.  

STEP ONE: Secure Support from the Top

To set up your competency management program for success, be sure your senior executive team is on board, providing you the support and resources you need to see the job through. Meet with them to outline the competency framework and to secure their buy-in for the process. Work to set realistic expectations about what to expect and what value a competency management program can deliver right away – and how the benefits rack up over time. 

A favorite piece of advice we like to give to get started with competency management is to consider a competency pilot in one part of the organization to capture what works, what doesn’t, and to highlight early benefits to the team and company. 

STEP TWO: Select Your Competency Model

You don’t need to create your own library of competencies from scratch. There are many off-the-shelf competency models to choose from. Open source models like O*NET or NICE can save companies a great deal of time and effort. Start with the core skills that every employee should have, then find and select a competency model that fits your organization. You can always add leadership, functional, and/or job competencies that are specific skills your company requires.

Be sure to adopt the model across your enterprise, so everyone in the organization is on the same page. Then update your job descriptions to identify the required skills and proficiencies that directly impact business outcomes and performance. 

STEP THREE: Implement Competency Management Software

While it’s possible to identify, analyze, and manage skills and competencies without competency management software, you wouldn’t want to. Competency management systems such as Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™ streamline and automate the process, so you and your team can focus on learning and development initiatives that improve the skills and performance of your workforce. 

By mapping the skills required by the jobs in your organization to the actual skills of your workforce, competency systems provide tremendous insight into potential workforce performance. 

STEP FOUR: Conduct Your (First) Skills Gap Analysis

Identify workforce strengths and skill gaps with competency-based skills assessments. Employees can take online skills assessments to capture their understanding of how well they are mastering essential skills. Supervisors and mentors may also weigh in to capture a multi-rater view. 

Home in on where to invest in development. To do this, analyze results to get a baseline understanding of individual and workforce strengths and skill gaps. This is just the first skills gap analysis. Most companies include competency-based assessments as part of ongoing performance management efforts.

STEP FIVE: Align your learning program with critical skill gaps

Use reports from your competency management system to identify strengths and skill gaps across your individuals, teams, and entire workforce. Where there are essential skill gaps, adjust your learning and development program to align with your competency framework. This will make a meaningful difference. 

Individual learning plans and team training initiatives can effectively improve essential skills, knowledge, and behaviors. By measuring competencies over time, employees can track their progress and contributions.

A well-run competency management program takes the guesswork out of hiring, developing, and retaining top performers. With the right planning and preparation, you can start your successful program today.

Do you want to learn more about best practices for getting started with competency management? Read our guide, Competency Development Guide: 7 Steps to Unlocking Organizational Effectiveness to get started. Or contact us to find out how Avilar’s WebMentor Skills competency management system can help.


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