The latest research and business case for competencies

Competencies can serve as a solid foundation for talent process and are now used by some of the world’s most forward-thinking, talent-hungry organisations. Google, Nike, American Express, the UN and numerous small businesses are among those now using competency management to snap-up, engage and develop top talent, and drive business success.

Simply put, competencies are the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to get a job done. Brandon Hall Group’s 2017 Competency Planning and Management Study took an in-depth look at how organisations maximise the use of competencies and the impact is clear. A fully optimised competency programme is a powerful predictor of rewarding organisational and individual performance management, giving an added boost to revenue, market penetration, customer loyalty and employee engagement.

Methodology

The researchers developed a Competency Maturity Model to categorise the use of competencies at 449 small, mid-size and large organisations, across 36 industries in 57 countries. The development of different types of competencies that work in tandem, are aligned with business objectives and backed by seriously smart technology, were the key indicators used to measure maturity.

Level 1: Casual
18% were doing zero or ad-hoc competency planning.

Level 2: Developing
46% were just starting to think about it.

Level 3: Standardised
28% had a competency model fully aligned with business goals, had started to communicate to the organisation and were working towards automation.

Level 4: Optimised
Just 8% had an advanced model, defined by a well-developed and automated programme, that was aligned with business goals, fully communicated and used across all talent processes.

So what were the rockstar 8% doing right?

Research and business case for competencies

The 8% of organisations with a fully optimised system had reaped the rewards in ROI and impactful performance management over the past year. They were:

  • 55% more likely to have increased revenue
  • 45% more likely to increase customer retention
  • 37% more likely to have higher employee engagement
  • 51% more effective in improving organisational performance
  • 64% more effective in improving individual performance

And that’s just for starters.

The study identified their top five strategies for success.

1. Take Your Time
Start by setting competencies for critical roles, get buy-in from leadership and establish a common language and culture for competencies. Tying it in to career progression will also help employees understand what’s in it for them.

2. Align Competencies To Business Goals
This can be tricky and involves multiple stakeholders, but organisations aligning competencies with business targets were 67% more likely to rate their top competency objectives as effective.

3. Invest
There’s a strong correlation between spend on competencies and an annual increase in KPIs. Invest in technology, but also the right communication, coaching and mentoring to ensure everyone understands the model.

4. Get The Tech
Juggling job profiles, proficiency scales, assessment and all other elements of competencies is practically impossible on paper. Take advantage of automation for better results.

5. Develop Technical Competencies
Although technical competencies may take longer to develop, organisations using them were 115% more likely to rate their top competency objectives as effective.

Top takeaway

Almost two-thirds of organisations had no programme or were still developing a workable model. Although it’s clearly complicated, the research plainly showed that optimising competency planning and management is a highly worthwhile investment.

Ready to get started? Take a look at our Guide to Implementing Competency Management by completing the form below.