Given the proliferation of consultants selling globally research behavioural competency models it must be confusing to pick one that actually fits your organization’s culture and business strategy. These behavioural competency models provide you with a long list of categories further broken down into supposed behavioural statements. Given that you know they are research based and sold by an internationally reputable firm you are comfortable bringing this generic and cleansed dictionary into your organization.
Reality is you are giving people a clear roadmap of behaviours for them to follow that has not been tested by your employees, validated by your organization and built off of your corporate culture (values) and strategic business plan. You now expect employees to demonstrate actions, which in the past they have not demonstrated, even though the actions they are currently doing are leading to the desired results. Suddenly you are comparing your people against the new model of expected behaviours, that you paid outrageous amounts for, and suddenly good people have new deficiencies.
Issues with competencies models and performance management and selection:
- There is an assumption when using the externally researched list that the role being defined is being defined based on the consultant’s perception of what are the appropriate behaviours for the participle role.
- Alternatively the profile is developed by the consultant picking and choosing what gets the best results from the leading performers and blends them into their pre-existing statements, creating one profile. Resulting in everyone having one area they are good at and a number they are in need of development. Plus since they are in the consultant’s language and not the company ‘slang’ employees are not certain what they mean.
- The assumption is for the long list attributed to a particular job the incumbent has to be proficient at all behaviours. In reality they have to be proficient in the actual behaviours that fit the culture that are catalysts to executing the job objectives. Those might not even be on the ‘generic dictionary’.
- The profile is developed in the absence of the actual job setting as it is based on the current or future desired job description. We do this knowing that at least 20% of the important things people do on the job are not defined in the job description.
- Then in the interview or performance review there is a measurement of the individual against all of the competencies. Resulting in everyone not measuring up because not everyone can be all things in all situations. Causing anxiety associated with performance reviews.
Don’t let me lead you to believe that the articulation of the behavioural companies is a fruitless exercise. When done correctly it is the most important roadmap to defining success. What differentiates a highly successful employee from a less successful one is the ability of the successful employee to demonstrate the desired behaviours, which fit the culture and the business strategy of the organization when executing their work.
Getting the behavioural competencies right for the organization means ensuring the statements are:
- Actually statements of behaviours and not vague statements or outcome statements i.e. words as ‘demonstrated’, ‘makes the effort’, ‘tired’ are not statements of behaviour and are red flags your model is not well articulated.
- Developed by listening to your successful people and how they do their job based on not only what they do but the outcomes they achieve against the business results.
- Validated through a content review process by your employees that identify which of the many statements actually lead to superior performance. Internal content validation is probably the weakest link in the development of many of the competencies models.
In the process of engaging your employees, not just a select team of department heads and internal human resources people, but those who do the job successfully you will develop profiles that are in the language of your organization, linked to your culture and associated with your defined business plan. This gives the pride of authorship to the employees not HR or the consultant. The result is you achieve higher productivity, greater engagement and sustainable business results.
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