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Most employers agree that it’s smart to prioritize skills over degrees. Here is the Avilar Competency Model and how it can help your workforce management.

“A competency model is a showcasing of what skills are necessary for a position within a company. These models can help professionals understand their requirements for a role or what competencies they might need to excel within the position.”
Indeed Editorial Team

With employers embracing skills-based hiring, there is sweeping agreement that a focus on skills over degrees has many benefits. Yet there is still confusion around how to make that happen across the enterprise. Many companies understand that a competency model can help, but it’s not always clear where to get one or how to use it.

To bring that process to life, this blog explores the Avilar Competency Model. What is it? How can it help your workforce management?

What is the Avilar Competency Model?

There are numerous competency models available in the talent management world. Like the other core competency models, ours is a framework that defines the baseline competencies ‒ the skills, knowledge, abilities, and behaviors ‒ that an organization needs for their employees to perform their jobs and roles proficiently.

Think of it as a master library of the competencies your company needs across your workforce. It’s meant to be a shared reference for HR teams and managers to guide workforce management decisions and communications. It’s a resource that’s meant to be updated periodically, to ensure that the list and definitions accurately reflect your company and market needs today.

The Avilar Competency Model includes a set of more than 350 competencies clustered into more than 50 skill groups.

How Did We Create It?

Avilar has been in business for more than 25 years. We’ve worked with hundreds of organizations ‒ commercial companies, government organizations, and nonprofits ‒ of all sizes and across industries and geographies. Some clients are focused on their own workforce. Others are learning and training companies whose business it is to train professionals.

Over that time, we systematically collected and defined the competencies that are most universally used across all organizations. The resulting Model includes a mix of:

  • Professional Skills that employees at all levels in an organization need to succeed. These are unrelated to technical or job-related expertise.
  • Leadership Skills for those in management and leadership positions
  • Occupational Skills which are job-specific skills related to job roles common to many organizations, such as human resources, learning and development, finance, customer service, manufacturing, sales, and marketing jobs.

The Avilar Competency Model includes skills and competencies for:

  • Specific industries including information technology, healthcare, manufacturing, and other businesses
  • General business skills such as interpersonal, business communication, project management, ethics, networking, and others
  • Job roles from leadership, HR and learning and development, to finance, IT, and customer service – and many more

How to Use the Avilar Competency Model

When adopting or creating a competency model for your organization, start by listening. With the leaders and managers across your organization, draft your master list of required skills and competencies. You could even survey employees to collect their input. The Avilar Competency Model can help with this effort by providing a starter list of skills and competencies for your team to build on.

Together, finalize your list of requirements, your own competency model framework. It will reflect the skills and competencies your workforce needs to perform the jobs across your organization.

Then, use your custom competency model as you:

  • Write and refresh job descriptions so that recruiters, hiring managers, current managers, and employees are all clear about what skills are needed to do the job – and which may be developed on the job.
  • Assess the skills of job candidates and current employees. Routine skills assessments will help individual employees, their managers, and organization leaders understand proficiencies as well as skills gaps.
  • Evaluate and document employee performance. Team members who have mastered the core skills they need for the job may be ready for new experiences, stretch goals, or the next step on their career journey.
  • Update learning plans and development opportunities. For individuals, skills assessments may reveal the need for new or different learning to close a gap or move to the next step in their growth. For learning and development leaders, aggregate skills assessment data can provide feedback on which learning tools work best to shape skills ‒ and which are less effective.
  • Manage onboarding programs, internships, succession plans and other programs designed to move individuals and cohorts through a systematic learning and development experience toward a specific outcome.
  • Make strategic workforce decisions. Skills and competency data can (and should) inform important business decisions such as whether/when/how to enter new markets, how many people to hire in the next year, and which people to let go in the next layoff.

At its core a competency model is a tool to normalize skills data. That rich data set can be a powerful tool to inform everyday and strategic decisions. To manage the data well, organizations are best served by utilizing a competency management system, such as Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™. A good competency management system will help you identify, analyze, and manage skills data, so you have the information you need to make smart workforce decisions.

Benefits of Using a Competency Model

A competency model creates a shared language used across the organization for talking about job roles and expectations. There are many benefits of using a competency model. Here are just a few:

  • Alignment. When everyone ‒ from potential employees and recruiters to current employees and senior leaders ‒ uses the shared language and understanding of skills and competencies, there’s strong organizational alignment. Leaders can clearly communicate company goals and plans in a way that every employee understands what’s needed to achieve those goals and how their role, their skills, and their contributions can help.
  • Visibility. Competency models and skills assessments take the mystery out of what’s working and what’s not. Employees and managers have instant visibility into where people are gaining proficiencies and where gaps remain.
  • Self-sufficiency. Employees have control of what they’re learning. To succeed or grow in their jobs, they can pursue learning and development opportunities to build the skills they know they need.  
  • Diversity. This is one of the reasons that so many companies are moving to a skills-based approach to hiring. A focus on skills over degrees instantly broadens the talent pool. A competency model helps to keep job descriptions, hiring processes, and onboarding efforts focused on the skills and competencies that individuals (and the company) need to succeed. One result is a more diverse employee base.

The Avilar Competency Model can be used “as is” or customized to meet the specific needs of your organization. Whatever competency model you use or create should be a foundational element to help you communicate, collect, and analyze skills data to help you evaluate and manage your workforce performance.

If you’re looking to adopt or customize a competency model for your organization, visit our website for an overview of the Avilar Competency Model. Or contact us to learn more ‒ and to see if Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™ competency management systems may support your team.


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