Competency Management News-To-Use
Linking Competencies to Results: Fact v.
March 28th 2PM EST
Hal Gerrish, Avilar's Director of Competency
Management, will pull from his 20 years experience in linking
competency management metrics to business decision-making.
Topics covered will include:
To learn more
about Hal Gerrish you can read an excerpt from one of his
white papers below.
- Results: A wide variety of competency
applications are underway. Why some will deliver and others
- Risks and Challenges: The challenges and risks
relating to competency levels and business results.
- Implementation: A phased implementation approach
and the results that can be expected.
|Competency Management Success Factors|
Eight Critical Factors for Implementing a
Competency Management Program in Your Organization: A White
Paper Excerpt by Hal Gerrish
This article covers only the basics of the white
paper. For a thorough examination on competency management
success factors you may download the complete white paper by
here. The questions proposed in this article were learned
the hard way, through experience and working on skills
projects for many years. The outcomes improved as time went on
because we developed a simple list of prerequisite
considerations which served to reduce the unwanted
side-effects of the process. If potential clients could
respond favorably to the list, chances were good that all
parties would end up pleased with the results.
1. Do we believe that someone who is skilled will
perform better than someone who is less skilled? 2. Does
improved job performance imply better business results?
No doubt there are cases which contradict and support
these questions but, in general, most believe that performance
is a combination of being “willing and able.” Given the same
personal attributes and characteristics, the person with
higher proficiency in specific job-related tasks would
typically be our preference. A consistent and systematic
approach is a big plus.
3. How will the project and its purpose be
communicated to managers and employees?
Communication is crucial. There are advocates and
assassins for this kind of project and you will be surprised
with the number of creative speculations on why management is
“doing this.” There needs to be a consistent response. The
process is done with enthusiasm using whatever tools you like
be it large meetings, letters or t-shirts. Implementing a
competency management systems should be viewed by employees as
enabling them to acquire the right skills or be selected based
on their talents.
4. What about content—what skills and at what
level of detail?
The quality of the end result is significantly
impacted by content. The most expeditious route to
implementation is to locate an external source of skills (a
dictionary) that can be licensed or purchased. Some
customization will likely be necessary, but the basic
structure will provide an excellent starting point.
5. What about content validity?
When developing competencies, it’s important to focus
on those areas having the most influence on job performance. A
competency is valid if it impacts job performance and is
frequently used. Usually high performers in the to-be measured
positions will draft valid job standards which are then
reviewed by peers and/or a skills advisory group for
6. Are we prepared to commit project management
The project manager will organize and track
activities for the initial implementation and should have
strong communication and facilitation skills to keep the
project focused. Large projects typically include a project
manager, a systems administrator to handle technical
requirements, department coordinators to watchdog and support
their respective areas, training department resources to match
courses to competencies and interpret results, and an advisory
group to handle policy questions as they emerge. The initial
implementation is usually supported by vendor staff and
consultant(s) for assistance in sharing best practices and
7. How does this fit into our HR strategy and
The technical matters of sharing data are
straightforward. Of greater concern is how the competency
project supports current HR initiatives. Because momentum for
a competency management project often starts within a single
department, it’s important that HR be represented and advise
the project team on policy and practices. After an initial
implementation the process owner would likely become HR. Some
clients have opted for periodic “snapshots” of their
competencies. In this case, the project may only require a
single loading of employee names and IDs, eliminating the need
to tightly integrate systems. Those clients who license
products and embed the process in their annual development
planning process are highly motivated to integrate or link the
competency and HR systems.
8. How do we maintain alignment between business
strategy and competencies?
Aligning competency requirements with business
strategy should be part of the annual planning discussions.
Because competency management is relatively new, most of the
projects appear to be “reactive.” Reorganization and
restructuring is an excellent time to introduce a skills
management process. Inventorying human assets and determining
the areas of strength and weakness is not a bad way to start.
Do we have the resources we need to embark on the new journey?
A standard function in most competency systems is weighting.
Certain competencies may be defined as “modestly important”
one year and “critically important” the next. Skills may not
change fast, but strategy can. Changing the weighting factors
and re-running gap analysis reports will tell you how well
configured your current skills are for new strategies.
About Author H.A. (Hal) Gerrish, Jr. Hal’s background
includes 19 years with IBM Corporation in systems engineering,
marketing and marketing management, and five years in
executive education. He was formerly President and Managing
Partner of Skills Management International (SMI), a software
and consulting company focusing on the identification of
organizational skills needs. SMI was founded in 1988
specializing in alignment of skills with business objectives.
Hal is currently Director of Competency Management with Avilar
Technologies, Inc. and manages the planning and implementation
of WebMentor Skills, Avilar’s newly updated competency management
system. Hal works with large organizations to assist in
planning the integration of skills assessment with other
internal information systems and processes. He holds a degree
in mathematics from the University of California at Santa
Barbara. You can contact Hal Gerrish at: firstname.lastname@example.org
IBM Optimizes its Human Supply Chain
Companies can’t stop natural disasters from occurring
or block baby boomers from retirement, but they can prepare.
IBM approaches these problems from a different angle; they see
it as a supply-chain issue, not just a people issue. Through
its “workforce optimization” initiative started in 2004, IBM
created a workforce skills directory and uses it as an
inventory where short and long-term demands dictate the
supply. In order to coordinate the program throughout the
organization, IBM created a consistent language for defining
skills and job roles so all parts of the organization could be
viewed side by side. By 2006 IBM expects a 320,000 person
competency database as well as 500 clearly defined job roles
and skill sets. To see how IBM implemented the program and in
what ways it will use the data,
the full article
Why You Need Workforce Planning
Workforce planning should accomplish many things for
your organization, but most importantly it needs to be
systematic and fully-integrated. Planning for talent surpluses
and shortages is thought to increase efficiencies and in the
long-run avoid the need for layoffs or time-pressured hiring.
Workforce planning is an important step to changing companies
from reactive to proactive. It is also an important part of
decreasing the disconnect between HR and the business cycle.
Many impacts of good workforce planning are explained as well
as several areas of talent forecasting and talent action plans
which are necessary when successfully implementing a workforce
the full article
Y Generation Skill Gaps: Preparing for the
A study conducted by the American Institute for
Research reports that Y generation workers will have decreased
abilities in quantitative literacy skills and communication
skills. Examples cited include the inability to calculate the
total cost of ordering office supplies and apprehension about
public speaking. These generational skill divides support the
need for organizations to be proactive with future workforce
the full article
Avilar will be present at the following conferences:
ASTD E-Learning Expo
Chesapeake Human Resource Associaton Spring
April 6, 2006
IHRIM HRM Strategies Conference &
ASTD International Conference and Expo
ASTD Global Network Mexico and Avilar Join to
bring Network’s First Virtual Meeting
ASTD GN Mexico President Margarita Lozano has more
challenges than the typical ASTD Chapter President. Not only
does she have to conquer membership and budget issues, she has
to coordinate meetings with a diversely-located roster. There
are eight different cities represented in the sole global
Mexico network, some several hundred miles away from one
another. With the new virtual meeting method provided by
Avilar Technologies, Inc, Margarita can now speak to all
members without burdensome travel, schedule and expense
Prior to the ASTD and Avilar cooperation agreement,
the network held a few Mexico City-located meetings only local
members could attend. “Before this relationship, members
outside of Mexico City would not enjoy the full benefits of
membership, such as participation in events and interaction
with each other,” said Lozano.
Avilar’s Director for Latin America and ASTD member
Victor Sanchez recognized the need for both organizations to
collaborate. “The Mexico ASTD Global Network chapter and
Avilar are both relatively new to the region and both need
increased visibility among training and developing
professionals,” said Sanchez. “Avilar’s decade of service as
an eLearning and competency management provider pairs
perfectly with ASTD’s mission to increase workforce learning
The meeting was held at IMESFAC in Mexico City, the
most widely accessible location. At this site, members
listened and viewed the meeting on a large screen while remote
members accessed the webinar from the convenience of their
offices. A network camera allowed remote members to see the
attendees at IMESFAC. The meeting kicked off with speaker Hal
Gerrish, a twenty-year veteran in competency management and
Avilar’s Director of Competency Management, who spoke on
skills assessments in theory and use in today’s workplace.
Gerrish gave a thorough analysis of the many uses of
competency management in organizations as well as the steps of
implementation. A question and answer session followed. “The
members were clearly interested,” said Gerrish. “I received so
many in- depth questions we went over the allotted time. It
was reassuring to know so many members were already thinking
about or in the process of implementing competency
The meeting continued with Lozano’s annual activity
report to members, followed by a review of upcoming events.
Lozano also conducted a survey on training and development
trends in Mexico which will serve as the basis for a panel
discussion she will participate in at the ASTD 2006
International Conference next May in Dallas, Texas.
The participation from attendees proved the success
of the event. “The feedback we received was very positive,”
said Lozano. “We hope that this new method for conducting
meetings will help increase the value of ASTD membership,
particularly for residents of cities other than Mexico City,
and thus increase membership of ASTD GN Mexico.” Sanchez
added, “In a city as large and congested as Mexico City, we
believe this new form of meeting will be of interest to local
members as well. In fact a few members chose to participate
remotely rather than spend time driving to and from the
Both organizations expressed their hope that their
relationship will encourage other joint-ventures between
learning organizations and learning providers. Sanchez added
that he hopes ASTD and Avilar will continue to collectively
increase workforce learning and performance in Mexico.
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