3 Ways To Leverage Competencies To Improve Your Business

employees.jpgYour company’s business strategy allows you to pursue lofty goals, but it will 
be your people who
get you there.

In the end, successful strategy execution depends on critical talent pools demonstrating the right behaviors.

The question is how to identify and nurture these behaviors.

“I’ll know it when I see it,” isn’t a sustainable philosophy for managing your most critical asset. Identifying competencies that align to your business strategies enables you to select people who will demonstrate the strategically relevant behaviors — and it will boost the effectiveness of all stages of the employee life cycle — from sourcing, selecting, onboarding, developing, managing, all the way through succession planning.

Competencies are usually described as those observable, measurable behaviors necessary to successfully perform a job. Sounds simple, but competencies can be the unique value or advantage for your business and are not easily imitated by competitors in their talent pools. Consider how difficult it would be for Acme Hotels to re-create the customer-focused set of competencies that define the special customer experience at the Ritz-Carlton. Competencies describe not just what a person would do, but how they do it. For instance, a conscientious worker keeps commitments and is punctual; an achievement-oriented person sets challenging goals, is assertive, and takes on tasks normally done by higher-level managers; a self-confident person is willing to speak up and trusts their own decisions.

To take a competency-based approach to talent management, a business must build and apply competency models that align with the strategy of the business. For the biggest impact, all decisions, supporting processes and various talent management initiatives must relate back to the foundation of competencies that are core to the business. Once your organization has become proficient at one set of competencies - for example, delivering exceptional customer experiences because the business strategy focused on a customer-first model - you aren’t likely to suddenly shift your business strategy so that it focuses on operational efficiency, at least, not without a lot of effort.

When you know which competencies make your company successful and help differentiate you in the market, you’re able to achieve a  competitive advantage.  Thus, effectively leveraging a competency based approach means you'll start:  

  1. Understanding what works right now (e.g., surveying and interviewing your people to understand what behaviors/competencies are differentiating high performers; look at previous performance data or 360s).

  2. Defining what is required for your company strategy – now at this stage of the company’s business cycle.

  3. Aligning the key talent systems to impact the critical talent pools. You can begin to build competency models that fit your organization’s strategy, aligning these competencies at all stages of the talent management life cycle, and the competencies can change as your business changes.

At ThinkWise, our goal is to provide you with the necessary resources to make smart Employee Development decisions. Below is a link to the comprehensive guide: The Missing Link: A Competency-based Approach to Executing Your Business Strategy
. This guide will help you understand more about aligning competencies to your business strategy. Download the report: The Missing Link