#Nextchat: Using HR Competencies to Drive Organizational Success




by Mariam Ganiyu, Joe Jones and Ashley Miller and Lindsay Northon

In today’s world, organizations must do more than create a great product or service to stay afloat. Having a well-thought-out strategy and a skilled workforce is vital to sustainability. As Kelly Aiken, a Boston-based workforce development leader, mentioned in the SHRM Online article Health Care Organizations Invest in the Front Line to Help the Bottom Line, “If organizations are serious about being able to compete, ‘they must equip their employees with the skills to succeed.’ ” It is essential for HR to create the best possible people strategy to ensure that employees have the skills required to advance the business. Using competencies as the foundation for talent management processes allows for this to transpire.

What are competencies and why are they important?

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics that describe what successful people performance looks like in a particular organization, job group and/or occupation. They can be based on behaviors or knowledge. Embedding competencies into strategy and human capital practices can have profound effects on overall organizational success.

The potential for an organization to achieve its goals relies heavily on the competencies possessed by its workforce; thus, continuously assessing and developing necessary competencies helps guarantee that goals are reached. Incorporating competencies into all facets of HR (talent acquisition, performance management and succession planning, just to name a few) is key to stimulating successful performance across HR functions and ensures alignment with organizational strategy and goals.

How do you assess competency strengths and weaknesses?

Whether you are looking to develop your HR department, another individual or yourself, it is important to first evaluate competency proficiency. There are multiple ways to assess proficiency. As one example, employees can complete a competency-based self-assessment to evaluate their own strengths and areas in which development is needed.  

Another means of evaluating strengths and weaknesses is by receiving feedback from managers, peers, direct reports or a combination of the three. For example, SHRM’s suite of Competency Diagnostic Tools provides multiple tools for assessing competency proficiency from a variety of feedback sources. The different tools are intended for use by HR professionals and range from individual assessment to holistic assessment of entire HR departments.  

How can you develop your competencies or the competencies of others?

Once competency strengths and weaknesses are identified, you can create a plan for developing employee proficiency. When creating a development plan, it is important to consider approaches that cater to your unique learning style or the style of the individual(s) you are looking to develop. You should be sure to consider career level when determining which learning methods are appropriate. For example, mentoring from a senior-level professional is a highly effective method for developing entry-level HR professionals’ competency in relationship management, whereas a more appropriate method for developing the same competency for executive-level HR professionals might be joining a board for a cross-functional initiative.

How are you approaching competency assessment and development in your own career or for your HR employees?

Please join @shrmnextchat at 3 p.m. ET on January 11 for #Nextchat with special guests SHRM Sr. Specialist, HR Competencies, Ashley Miller (@Miller843); SHRM Director, HR Competencies, Joe Jones (@josephajonesphd); and SHRM Director, Educational Products, Christine Paradise (@SHRMChristine). We’ll chat about HR’s role in assessing and developing competencies.

Q1. How is your organization currently using competencies—for performance management, defining jobs, other ways?

Q2. How do you think competency-based assessment and development contributes to your organization’s performance?

Q3. What do you see as the value of competency-based assessments over other forms of assessment?

Q4. What have you done to assess your own competency strengths and weaknesses?

Q5. What has or hasn’t worked when assessing individual or team competencies at your organization?

Q6. Are there specific competencies that you have found particularly challenging to assess or develop? What did you do?

Q7. Are some forms of learning better suited for competency-based development than others?

Q8. How will competency modeling and the use of competencies change over the five to 10 years?


If you missed this chat on 1/11/17, you can read the RECAP with all the tweets here



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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