January 9, 2023

Competency Science 101

Competency science has been around for decades, yet few leaders understand its practical application in the professional world. Investing in your human capital can make all the difference: organizations can not only gain valuable insights on their workforce, but also turn these insights into action on a strategic level.

What is Exactly is a “Competency”?

Competencies are observable, measurable patterns of knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other personal characteristics that an individual needs to be successful in their role. They are simple yet powerful statements that define both the behaviors and actions needed to perform a task well, and soft abilities surrounding the workplace. When combined with machine learning systems (ML), competency statements can fill in the missing details needed to optimally match people to roles and determine gaps.

For example, a legacy HR tool might apply a skill such as “creating spreadsheets” to a person. This skill only scratches the surface of the detail needed to accurately measure an individual’s ability. Instead, Claira adds layers of action, context, and level and might apply “Leverages intermediate knowledge of spreadsheet making tools to create financial reports” to an individual's profile, providing precise detail that empowers business leaders to make more informed decisions. 

Why Use Competencies?

To compete in today’s competitive, volatile business environment, executives want to ensure that they are investing in the right talent—people that will ultimately drive the most business value.

Few competency models exist in the business world, particularly due to the absence of a generalized framework, despite being proven to be incredibly effective at the highest level of learning in science among medical school students and healthcare professionals. That’s where platforms like Claira come in: creating direct value by mapping out your firm’s human capital—but digitally.

Leveraging a competency-based framework for human resource management presents a tremendous opportunity for professionals seeking to adapt their processes, especially when it comes to identifying what’s working and where to optimize for success. For this reason, it is crucial for hiring managers to understand this technology and how it can be implemented. 

Talent Acquisition and Cross-Utilization

While some organizations are beginning to integrate this emerging AI into their recruitment efforts, most organizations are not. According to their 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report, Deloitte found that 81% of business leaders believed their organization’s recruitment processes were standard or below standard due to poor data-driven practices. Competency science can help companies match talent to the right roles by taking on this data-driven approach and identify transferable skills and talents to optimally select candidates, while removing unconscious bias in the process

Competency frameworks can also improve candidate rediscovery, which has the potential to improve employee retention rates. By maintaining a database of an employee’s competencies and using machine learning to match them to job openings and projects within your organization, it creates new opportunities for advancement within your firm. While researchers at McKinsey found that talent alignment can be challenging, the outcome can prove to be a significant performance differentiator: A strong talent management strategy can position your organization to outperform its competitors 2-to-1.

Success Management

A winning corporate strategy starts from the ground up: according to PwC, 72% of global business leaders believe that creating a strong corporate culture is critical for better business outcomes. That starts with your people. 

In the age of indefinite work from home and a newfound emphasis on professional upskilling, employers should focus their efforts on retaining their workers. Competency-backed AI software can help HR identify opportunities for professional development, reducing the amount of time spent recruiting and instead refocusing efforts towards investing in your people while also improving company culture

Furthermore, competency science software can be useful in evaluating employee success. Because these statements focus on outcomes instead of output, companies can understand where their human capital lies and the different levels of understanding their employees bring to the table. Statement-driven evaluations can help lay the groundwork for feedback and set expectations. 

A Future of Competency Modeling

While it is clear that machine learning will continue to shape the field of human resource management in the coming years, competency science has great potential to improve and redefine talent management. Defining and developing competencies takes time—as does building a strong corporate culture. Strong business practices start at the core of the organization: executives must decide how to leverage competency practices and optimize them for success.

Kyra Au
Digital Marketing Associate

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