A Case for Competency Modeling, Part 3: The Results

Are you new to this blog series? If so, we suggest you check out article one, two, three, and four before reading further.

Now that Acme has identified the most critical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for each of its four job families, the nonprofit can use these competency models to inform its performance management system.

Step Four: Develop Competency Indicators

Next, Brighter Strategies worked with Acme to build job descriptions using the behavioral and technical competencies identified for each position. How can an organization know whether or not employees are measuring up to required competencies? You can’t track what you don’t measure. The use of indicators is necessary to provide evidence of employee performance.

To hone in on such indicators, Acme charted the competencies for each job family, complete with detailed definitions and a list of behaviors that served to illustrate the fulfillment of each competency. For example, communication skills was one of the competencies identified for non-supervisory staff. Its key indicators are depicted below:

 

Employee Position: Non-Supervisory Staff
Competency Definition Key Elements
Communication Clearly conveys and receives information and ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups in a manner that engages the listener, helps them understand and retain the message, and invites response and feedback. Keeps others informed as appropriate. Demonstrates good written, oral, and listening skills. Organization and Clarity 

Listening Skills

Keeping Others Informed

Written Communication Skills

Public Speaking Skills

Sensitivity to Others

 

Step Five: Validate Competency Models

Once indicators for each competency were determined, Acme presented the completed competency models to the organization for approval. Acme senior leaders validated the behavioral competencies, and managers of each job family validated the technical competencies. This step took several iterations: Brighter Strategies presented and refined the models as leaders shared feedback. Acme then unveiled each job family’s competency model to all employees represented by that staffing group to gain final approval. See a comprehensive explanation of Brighter Strategies’s competency modeling process for a list of questions posed during this step.

Step Six: Incorporate Competencies Into the Performance Appraisal System

You will recall that revamping its performance appraisal system was Acme’s initial goal when the nonprofit hired Brighter Strategies. Step Six in the competency modeling process addresses performance management. For every key indicator measuring each competency of a job description, Acme created the following metrics to track performance.

 

Employee Position: Non-Supervisory Staff
Competency: Communication
Clearly conveys and receives information and ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups in a manner that engages the listener, helps them understand and retain the message, and invites response and feedback. Keeps others informed as appropriate. Demonstrates good written, oral, and listening skills.
Key Elements Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Below Expectations
Organization and Clarity Conveys thoughts and ideas so as to avoid misunderstanding. Communicates with needs and expectations of audience in mind. Conveys thoughts clearly and concisely. Has difficulty expressing thoughts.
Listening Skills Listens with demonstrated understanding and empathy. Thoughtfully explores topic as appropriate. Listens actively and attentively and asks appropriate questions. Fails to listen and share feedback.

 

Are you beginning to get an understanding of how the competency modeling and performance appraisal processes inform each other? Such interconnection is an example of Brighter Strategies’s systems approach to all of organization and people development.

Acme has now determined what kind of person is needed for each job and how to measure that person’s performance. The next and final article in this series addresses the last step in the competency modeling process and the outcome Acme has yet to achieve: Determine the training and development solutions that will help to move staff from one level of competencies to the next.

 

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