Skills Management

Skills Based Competency Management / Phase 1 Pre-Implementation

A few stages are involved in developing a skills-based competency management program. First is pre-implementation.



Best practices for skills based competency management involves a series of refined methodologies, techniques, processes, and procedures.  In this article we will explain how to implement them during the implementation and execution phases of a competency project.

A few stages are involved in developing a Skills Based Competency Management program, all of which warrant compliance with certain best practices. Pre-implementation is the first one, where specific components of a program are determined to ensure success. This entails articulating value and benefits to participants, establishing procedures and policies, identifying a relevant tool, acquiring commitment from appropriate resources, developing a process for management changes, designing an architecture of skills, and other components, all of which solidify a strong foundation to move forward with.

The subsequent stage involves implementation, where skills architecture development (among other fundamentals) is created. This entails developing library structure and skills models, addressing role and title issues, establishing skill standards, producing links to more systems, conducting assessments and reporting them, and more housekeeping tasks that finalize the assembly of the program.

Deployment is the last stage. This is where staff members engage in the evaluation process. Skills data gets used to benefit all types of organization constituencies. This entails articulating responsibilities and roles, preparing participants, and conducting assessments of employees. The latter is arguably the most important step. Further, skills gap assessments, candidate queries, and other data assessment products are offered to various stakeholders.

First Phase: Pre-Implementation – Prior to the Start of the Program

Secure a Commitment from Senior Management and Maintain It

A commitment from senior management (and subsequent sponsorship from them) is always vital. Such a commitment can be sustained by revealing a direct connection between business goal achievements and skill attainments on a consistent basis. Productivity and performance are enhanced, loyalty is reinforced, and resources get managed more efficiently. However, results are what senior management is looking for. Once a measurable and identifiable program is implemented that demonstrates value and benefits to an organization, a commitment from senior management will ensue. Simply put, skills based competency management programs must deliver results.

Supporting Policies for Human Resources

Skills based competency management programs must receive the support of human resource procedures and policies that facilitate program use. Raises, promotions, and similar policies that concentrate on rewarding staff for accomplishment and performance must be transparent, yet shouldn’t be contingent solely on an individual’s skills evaluation. Promotions governed by rules, choosing specific employees for certain assignments, as well as other relevant policies need to be customized to correspond with the commercial requirements of an organization. Alternatively, such policies must be mindful of staff skills development. With that in mind, employee growth needs to be incorporated into policies where skills development is encouraged. The importance of such policies is reflective of resource management – choosing individuals for certain assignments. Policies must be enforced that safeguard managers from the loss of staff who are integral to the success of the unit. If individuals are reassigned to other areas without proper consent and consideration, they could jeopardize a skills based competency management program, as well as its resource management component.

A renowned financial organization enforces time limits of between 24 and 36 months (based on an individual’s level, as well as an assignment’s criticality) after an individual qualifies for reassignment by their own accord and/or qualifies for candidacy by different managers. This enhances career development and lateral movement in general.

An insurance agency’s CIO championed a notable skills initiative. Once the program got underway, he left the organization abruptly. Subsequently, the program came to a halt since a void was left in both accountability and leadership. Middle and senior managers no longer had any incentive to keep the process going. Thankfully, the CIO’s replacement offered support and motivation immediately, assigning each manager with skills responsibilities. The result was a successful initiative.


Isolate Notable Constituencies and Ensure Value for Each One

Generally, in skills  programs and similar initiatives for human capital, it is critical and important to identify significant constituencies and ensure that they all receive participation benefits. The main skills in program constituencies are:

Each staff member must have accountability and incentives for maintaining and completing their data skills assessment. Such incentives can be comprised of career developments and new assignment opportunities, which are identified for human resources by relevant policies. Managers and supervisors need a platform where career and skills development can be discussed. Additionally, they should have a chance to select eligible individuals when needed that have the right skill sets for a particular assignment. Further, managers and supervisors must have a road map based on skills when collaborating with others, particularly when career development, performance, and training is involved.

Human resources can benefit from sources of resource management that contain accuracy and integrity when it comes to skills based management systems. Human resources use skill guidelines as recruitment tools for position fulfillment. They also have the capacity to establish methodical recruitment requirements as per organizational weaknesses and strengths that come about from gap assessments (and other queries that are skill-based). Data will be available during training management to develop curricula that are skill-based, put together tactical training strategies, and make queries to find those who need to be trained in order to fill a position at a moment’s notice. More benefits and initiatives can be determined as per programs, policies, and similar procedural and cultural components that may be present in the company.

A pharmaceutical company’s senior line manager had a skills based program initiated that accommodated resistance at multiple implementation stages. This program started to falter until it became apparent that the HR department wasn’t a participant. Managers perceived this program as a turf incursion that was unauthorized. The issue was handled by turning human resources into a partner. Full deployment of the program ensued.

Planning Change Management Effectively

Change management was developed to tell employees about the skills management initiative’s benefits, responsibilities, and expectations. It shed light on the potential weariness of people with regard to salary, opportunity, confidentiality, and purity worries. Such sensitivity is paramount to success, as it stimulates the participation and cooperation of every committed staff member in this endeavor.

Several worries were addressed during the actual process, including employee empowerment (with regards to the complete protection and ownership of personal evaluations), emphasis on development and training, separating performance activities from skills management, the capacity to build skills profiles with versatility, constructive manager meeting environments, and more. Relaying this information is an aspect of the deployment and implementation strategy, which is an ongoing effort to promote the skills based management program’s overall positive nature to people.

Communication of change management happens using the following approaches:

  • Memos about program announcements sent by your management (this is mandatory).
  • Transparent benefit statements issued to participants (this is mandatory).
  • Initial consultations with key personnel and managers.
  • Interviews with numerous topic experts and cross-sectioned people while the data acquisition phase is transpiring.
  • Development of a potential skills advisory group to approve and review policies, procedures, and content.
  • Organizational culture adoption with data using recognizable skills, titles, and other components. A training workshop with intact work group participants.
  • General support and deployment coaching from certain organizational skills and development consultants.
  • Transparent manager accountability and roles in a skills program.
  • Utilization of proven and credible competency models.
  • Assertive HR involvement, as well as other constituencies associated with the initiative.
  • Policies for skills acquisition, like a reward for short-supplied skills, as well as cross-training areas with a lack of depth.
  • Create a successful environment by piloting content, processes, and tools, as well as integrating adjustments that result from observation and input.

For a summary read of what is coming up check out this blog link Closing Skill Gaps With Training

Look for our next post coming soon: Phase 2: Implementation – Building a Skills  Based Competency Management Program

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