The design and development of a competency framework is the initial step to improving the level of performance of employees in a company. The next steps are implementation and execution. Gaining a good understanding of the “why,” the “what” and the “how” signals the need to proceed with the use of these frameworks as guidelines in achieving optimum performance at work.
The Why, the What, and the How
To gain acceptance and trust from employees, it is necessary to uncover the answers to the “why,” “what,” and “how” first.
Why, as in “Why do we need to do this?” This is the single most important question an organization needs to prepare an answer for prior to announcing to its employees the plan of implementing a competency framework. The answer to this is plain and simple: to improve the performance of the organization. This is the general objective which can be achieved through:
- Sets clear expectations and objectives
- Gives concrete recommendations on how each employee can contribute to the organization.
- Simplifies tasks and responsibilities by the use of efficient methods and techniques that will further the drive for excellence and increased productivity.
All these individual activities can improve the performance of the organization as a whole.
What, as in “What areas will we use it for?” This is the next question that pops up in the minds of employees. Competency frameworks can be applied in any or all areas of the organization, not only limited to organizational development but also to individual performance as well. With a competency framework, one can determine his weak areas and action plans can be made to remedy these “gaps.” Additionally, it assists in career development, because learning and developing competencies can pave the way for any employee to move up the career ladder.
How, as in “How can we create it?” As mentioned before, communication is very important in the design of a competency framework. Thus, in answer to this question, one must emphasize the need for collaborative effort in the design process. Get the buy-in from all the employees by allowing them to participate in the process, asking ideas from them in regards to the competencies they need to perform their jobs well, and thereafter, validating the framework by conducting surveys on the employees.
Implementation and Execution of a Competency Framework
Now that the framework has been introduced to the employees and buy-in has been achieved, everybody would be more than willing to follow it. The next important step is to ensure that it is implemented properly by clearly communicating to targeted employees the expectations and the objectives set in the framework. Aside from the expectations and objectives, each role and their corresponding competencies must be carefully explained to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
In terms of execution, it must be consistently carried out. To make certain that this will be done, monitoring strategies on performance must be done. Management must delegate this task to the immediate supervisor of the employee, or they can create a body to oversee this directly. Improvements on performance (or a lack of it) must be measurable, and feedback must be given whenever necessary.
Common Implementation Mistakes
Many organizations today have misconstrued competency frameworks as ineffective. This is not the case at all. The problem lies in the implementation of the framework on the employees, particularly in the setting of very high expectations.
First of all, a framework cannot perform overnight miracles. If an organization is suffering from very poor performance due to a lack of competencies or low competency levels, a framework cannot simply remedy that right away. Other pitfalls include creating too many frameworks all at once, which will only create chaos and complexities during implementation. Determine what is most needed at the moment and identify the tools necessary. Do it one step at a time and do not try to change everything all at once. Another common pitfall would be not using the framework at all. Many organizations pay big money for the creation and design of frameworks yet never get around to using them.
Lastly, lack of maintenance and follow up strategies to ensure that frameworks are consistently applied. There has to be means and ways to monitor employees to check if they are following the framework; feedback, coaching, and mentoring must be done by management to ensure that everyone is on the right track, and not slacking off.