The benefits of an effective competency framework

When setting goals, it is ideal to align those with your existing strategy and competency framework within the organisation
Patrick Gallen

WE are almost halfway through the calendar year, which is often a good time to reflect on the goals set at the start of the year, from both a personal and professional perspective.

How have you performed so far and are there any additional goals you would like to add to your list for the remainder of the year?

When setting goals, it is ideal to align those with your existing strategy and competency framework within the organisation.

When we are reviewing or developing competency frameworks for clients, I often ask, does everyone in your organisation know the competencies required to deliver your strategy?

An effective competency framework enables the achievement of strategic goals through the integration of competencies that are aligned with the objectives of the organisation.

A competency framework is a comprehensive structure that sets out and defines each individual competency, with a set of specific behavioural indicators outlining the measurable behaviours that are essential for effective performance in the organisation.

A competency describes the critical knowledge, skills, abilities and other attributes that employees are expected to demonstrate.

There are many benefits for organisations in implementing a good competency framework, which are outlined below.

The competency framework provides a foundation to make many of the things organisations do easier and more consistent, including how to define and articulate roles and how to recruit the right people.

A good framework becomes the guiding criteria for the recruitment process. The organisation will be able to assess transferable skills and identify required behaviours, selecting an employee that will be a strong fit to both the role and the organisation with ease.

The implementation of a good competency framework allows for a standardised and measurable organisational-wide performance approach. It provides for a common language, a benchmark that employees and managers use when discussing performance and career development.

This enhances the standardisation of performance assessment, feedback, and reward across the organisation.

Additionally, it provides clarity on the behaviours and skills that are required, enabling employees at each level to identify the behaviours that drive successful performance.

This allows for a common understanding of what is expected of each employee and their team across the organisation.

Employees should utilise the framework and the behaviours for assistance in having meaningful career and performance discussions with managers.

As the competency framework emphasises the behaviours that are crucial for success in the organisation, they provide us with a clear focus for development.

Not only do they help employees and managers to have a more focused development discussion, they also help employees to take charge of their own development.

Employee development actions become more focused as a result, allowing organisations to work more effectively with clients and colleagues. The framework therefore increases productivity.

Sequentially, the use of the framework throughout an organisations’ key people processes provides a solid foundation for future strategic HR initiatives such as building career paths, structuring performance management, informing succession planning and designing personal development plans.

Implementing an effective competency framework will assist an organisation in managing and improving performance to build a better, more aligned operation.

Patrick Gallen is people and change consulting partner at Grant Thornton Ireland

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