Monday, December 31, 2007

How to Address Competency Model Challenges

Challenge: Items are too generic
Solution: Generic content is good at providing a baseline from which a company can jump-start the development of skills lists, but only internally built or refined lists can account for the specific industry, market, and culture of an organization.
Challenge: Items don’t allow comparisons between exempt and non-exempt positions
Solution: The tool must capture skills important at all levels and also drill into skills that are specific to key positions. Assessing employees against all items then allows for cross-level comparisons.
Challenge: Content based on self-serving assumptions
Solution: The tool must be based on independent research from noteworthy individuals and institutions only.
Challenge: Content not updated as conditions change
Solution: Content must be revisited annually as the performance objectives change to meet market conditions.
Challenge: Compound items
Solution: The list must be longer than currently in use to separate potential differentiators, but it should be categorized and drillable to maintain speed of use.
Challenge: US-centric
Solution: Only globally valid personality traits should be used, and value must be defined internal to the organization based on actual performance outcomes.

Challenge: Tool is cutting-edge, not grounded in reality
Solution: Best practices from leading organizations should be borrowed and barriers realized by companies implementing such systems should be proactively mitigated instead of making guinea pigs out of clients.
Challenge: Focus is on what is done instead of what should be done
Solution: Begin by cascading company strategy down into functional and then team objectives and roll those down into position objectives to define importance of jobs and activities.
Challenge: Leaders are disengaged
Solution: Engage leaders throughout the process as subject matter experts, participants, raters, and users. Provide them with their own online dashboard of real-time outputs so that they can manage by exception and leverage expert advice more effectively.

Challenge: Results are confidential
Solution: The use of Q-sorting (forced prioritization of skills) results not only in greater accuracy and consistency amongst raters, it is not possible to skew results or adversely impact another employee. If the company wishes to use validated, self-administered tests instead then the results are also non-political.
Challenge: Cannot be accurately measured
Solution: Use only measurable or observable descriptors and clearly define each skill at three levels, basic through expert.
Challenge: Scores are inconsistent
Solution: By tying importance to actual objectives and using Q-sorting consistency will increase, but the system must also focus on the realities of performance: you must hit the numbers and satisfy a variety of stakeholders. All points on the 3 or 5-point scale must also be clearly defined.

Challenge: Information overload
Solution: Use only the key success factors consistently identified in independent research, interpersonal and technical skills.
Challenge: Complex results build dependency on consultant
Solution: Use a sixth-grade reading level in the development of all skill lists and system interfaces, avoid jargon unless it is specific to the company being served, and ensure that all processes and reports are intuitive.
Challenge: Bias and discrimination
Solution: When actual performance-differentiating factors are used to build decision-supporting reports these reports are blind to traditional problems such as job descriptions built to hire a specific individual, visibility being based on your boss’ personal opinion, and data being inherently biased toward people who are like the creator of the tool.
Challenge: Serve the integrated strategic human capital asset management team
Solution: Focusing on the differentiating factors to build models of high performers provides information that drives the management of assessment, selection, development, deployment, succession, and performance. Instead of using analysis tools to determine status and pay, use the FLSA guidelines to determine status and local market data and performance to determine pay.

No comments: