Identifying competencies that best predict performance enables an organization to manage talent, customize development intervention at a mass level, articulate a unified, scientifically valid understanding of high potential talent pool.
As organizations scale up; managing talent that speaks a coherent language and demonstrates winning behaviors to deliver on business goals becomes an unbeatable competitive advantage. Clearly articulating ‘winning’ and ‘derailer behaviors’ through a competency model helps in establishing a consistent yardstick to drive alignment between goals, behaviors and business outcomes.
As companies manage the transition of coffee table documents to imbibing competencies as the organization norm; it becomes critical to assess and validate the cultural yardstick with science. Validating the cultural yardstick helps to discern ‘must have’s’ from ‘good to have’s’ and then to drive disproportionate effort in rewarding, enabling and nurturing the same.
How do organizations validate the cultural yardstick?
Validating the cultural yardstick of the organization (competency model) against on-the-job performance and manager inputs is the first step to understand the journey of knowing what matters. Bridging the gap from knowing what matters and doing the same as a way of life begins the journey of nurturing talent. For example; while innovative organizations may advocate high learning agility; but understanding talent ability in the same and its relation to predict high performance is critical in bridging the knowing-doing gap. Competency models are widely used across all aspects of talent management; however the same is rarely validated against business outcomes to understand the differential impact of its constituent elements in driving key goals.
While most employees demonstrate excellence in some behaviors and others as development areas at individual level; validating the framework for the target talent segment helps to discern the themes at a group level and identify best predictors of performance.
Competency based assessments and performance mapping: How the validation happens
Assess competencies through a robust methodology: Identify a suite of tools that are best positioned to assess the knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics basis the role requirements. Administer the assessment on a sample of the incumbent population across high, medium and low performers. Ensure that the assessment framework allows for every behavior to be assessed at least twice through the process.
Assess on-the-job performance through supervisor ratings: As we know that high performance on the job is not directly related to high potential for the next level roles. Undertaking supervisor ratings for on-the-job performance as well as employee effectiveness in key competencies is critical in understanding high potential standards. The inter relationship between competency based assessments and supervisor ratings further helps to discern differential impact of competencies in impacting high performance. For example, in a high performance salesforce driven organization, result orientation may be deemed as critical in impacting high performance. However, upon validating the same, employees may consistently lack ‘collaboration’ at a systemic level which may impede sales achievement and target fulfilment. While the organization maybe investing heavily in building sales capability, understanding capability by talent segments and manager inputs will throw insights on the merit of focusing on different talent management strategies.
With increasing business need to have outcome based talent intervention, it is not difficult to explain the criticality of ascertaining validity of the cultural yardstick on a periodic basis. Identifying competencies that best predict performance enables an organization to manage talent, customize development intervention at a mass level, articulate a unified, scientifically valid understanding of high potential talent pool. Bridging the knowing-doing gap is critical in the journey to effectively manage talent segments and build a culture that drives encourages winning behaviors over good to have’s.