Competencies work but at a cost

Competency
frameworks produce real benefits for companies but are painful to implement,
according to the latest research from management consultancy William M Mercer.

This
structured approach to job and performance appraisal helps nine out of 10
individuals improve their performance and that produces better corporate
performance.

But on the
downside people underestimate the cost, time and resources needed to set it up
and there is often a lack of evaluation.

The survey
was carried out for Competency and Emotional Intelligence magazine. It found
that competency frameworks now cover 3.2 million people in 1,500 organisations.

Respondents
said it can be difficult to get buy-in from the board and the staff, and that
it needs to be easier to apply.

Classic
signs of poor performance include people who blame others for failure, or make
assumptions without checking the facts, pass the buck, attend meetings in body
but not in spirit and are secretive.

Outlining
the results at an IRS seminar in London last week, Jim Matthewman, a partner
with William M Mercer, warned against paying bonuses for proficiency rather
than for excellence. Excellent performance resulted from being proactive and
forward thinking.

He said,
“There is a lot of interest from chief executives in using the competency model
to create organisational change.” But he stressed that it was important to
measure the outcomes if companies want continuing board support.

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