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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Kemp

Competency Design Benefits Everyone



In a constantly evolving world where career trajectories intertwine with organizations' pivots and revitalizations, it can feel like navigating uncharted territories that take agility to another level. However, amidst this unpredictability, a competency design can serve as a guiding principle that not only anchors direction but also unites people and provides clarity - for both the candidate and the hiring organization. 


Quick survey: Have you ever been part of a hiring process where decisions seemed based more on gut feeling than concrete indicators of a candidate's suitability for the role? Have you found yourself in a hiring committee where everyone had a different idea of what qualities were needed, leading to misalignment within the team? Have you questioned a hiring decision after the fact, thinking, 'How did this happen'? Or have you been hired and wondered how you were chosen for a role with misalignments?  


These scenarios highlight the pitfalls of traditional hiring practices. However, at its core, competency design, when approached with thoughtful collaboration, is the secret ingredient for fostering sustainable work relationships and performance that benefit both employees and employers. 


Here's why competency design is an essential approach to hiring:

  1. Alignment for Success and Objective Feedback: A well-designed competency framework serves as a compass that guides the mindset, behaviors, motivation, and expertise of every team member. By clearly defining the criteria for success with exemplary standards, including cultural nuances, an organization can cultivate a common language that facilitates effective hiring, retention, and targeted talent development efforts. Best practice includes multiple stakeholders' insights and perspectives to provide a holistic view that leads to meaningful constructive feedback and customized coaching cycles. 

  2. Unity in Diversity: By embracing diverse expertise and lived experiences as assets, an organization can create an inclusive culture of competency design that unites teams around shared beliefs to elevate the mission. This approach empowers and challenges the team to think beyond the norms and bridges the gap between management, executives, and board members to leverage the team's abilities with mutual investment for growth. It can also improve communication, collaboration, and innovation, ultimately leading to better outcomes and greater success.

  3. Clear Expectations and Trajectory with Shared Accountability: Establishing clear expectations and communicating the role impact and unique contribution to the organization’s success helps employees maintain a laser focus on their north star for high performance and shared accountability. It can also outline career trajectories and pathways for employee mobility, allowing the team to envision opportunities for innovation within an organization. This clarity enhances engagement to cultivate a culture of trust and collaboration, fostering continuous learning where employees feel supported and confident in their professional advancements.

  4. Adaptability to Change: A thoughtful competency design can help employees, including leadership, navigate change management and organizational pivots by reassessing priorities and aligning them with high-leverage roles. This makes the team more agile and resilient to adopt and embrace a new direction and actively plan to mitigate challenges with confidence, especially in a fast-paced work environment. 


Investing in competency design for your hiring process is a strategic move that requires continuous dedication, revisions, and effort. By prioritizing this talent acquisition approach, you'll reduce employee turnover, enhance job satisfaction, and ultimately propel long-term success for your organization. Commit to competency design and watch your organization soar to new heights!


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