There is a pervasive pitfall affecting teams everywhere: A lack of defined workplace competencies – the required skills and abilities to perform a job.
It’s easy to neglect to define workplace competencies in dynamic environments where roles are continuously evolving. But doing so can improve team performance and increase employee retention, so it’s worth the effort. Nearly 50% of employees currently lack role clarity in the workplace, according to research by Effectory that also revealed that employees with high role clarity report high levels of effectiveness, productivity, satisfaction with leadership, and intention to stay. This includes role clarity as a whole – their own role and the roles of others.
“Defining workplace competencies is essential to ensure that all team members have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their duties effectively. Essentially, it is about setting your team up for success,” says intercultural business advisor and executive coach Patricia Butera.“By defining workplace competencies for all positions, you can avoid potential problems down the road and ensure that everyone on your team can do their job to the best of their ability.
Luckily, you can follow a few key steps to define workplace competencies for all positions in your team.
Key steps to define workplace competencies
According to Butera, if you want to effectively define workplace competencies, you should conduct a job analysis, write job descriptions, identify competencies, develop a training plan, and make sure to evaluate progress.
1. Conduct a job analysis
Take the time to think of each position individually. How does each role in your team contribute to the bigger picture and goals of the organization? How would someone in that role ideally be expected to contribute?
“This step involves determining what tasks are performed in the job, what knowledge and skills are required to perform those tasks, and what the job’s major goals and objectives are,” says Butera.
2. Write a job description
Then, write job descriptions – even if the roles are already filled. It’s a useful exercise to objectively break down thoughts on paper. “This step includes writing a description of the job that consists of all of the information gathered in the previous step.”
3. Identify competencies
Once you have a clear understanding of each job and what is required to perform it effectively, you can begin to identify specific competencies.
According to Workforce, competencies can be grouped in categories such as:
Competencies in dealing with others (i.e., communication skills, fostering collaboration, managing change)
Competencies dealing with business (information gathering, strategic thinking, technical expertise)
Competencies achieving results (i.e., initiative, fostering innovation)
Self-management competencies (i.e., self-confidence, stress management).
As you can see, you can get really specific. Think of both soft and hard skills, and consider what kind of traits and behaviors the role requires.
4. Develop a training plan
If you are thorough, you will end up with clarity and competency gaps to bridge. Enter training and development. How will you support your team in acquiring the required competencies to succeed? “Once the competencies have been identified, you can develop a plan to ensure that all team members are properly trained,” says Butera.
5. Evaluate progress
According to her, you’ll also want to periodically evaluate the progress of each team member towards meeting workplace competencies – this will help you optimize coaching and mentoring efforts and monitor the effectiveness of your training plan.
Mistakes to avoid when defining workplace competencies
When defining workplace competencies for your team, avoid the following mistakes.
Not taking the time to understand the job properly. “It is essential to take the time to understand all aspects of the job before trying to identify the necessary competencies,” according to Butera.
Overlooking the importance of soft skills. “While hard skills are essential, workplace competencies also require team members to have strong soft skills such as communication and problem-solving,” she says.
Not being specific enough. Butera also warns against vagueness. Be as detailed as possible to avoid confusion and ensure all team members are on the same page.
Not periodically evaluating progress. As Butera puts it, periodically evaluating progress is critical to ensure that team members meet the competencies required for their position and progress in their development. So it’s not something you just want to worry about once.
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Source: Blog – Hive