…So the other day I wrote a post about the challenges associated with differentiating between a high-potential person and someone that is ready for the next level. Looking at data from Korn Ferry, it examined some of the tools organizations can use to assess high-potential talent readiness for the next level.

I thought this was all pretty interesting, but found myself wondering what tools an organization can use to improve the quality of their new hires. Because it’s one thing to identify talent as high-potential once we’ve had a chance to observe their work – at which point it’s possible to utilize Korn Ferry’s multi-faceted approach to assess their readiness for bigger roles. But an organization that does a poor job of hiring the right talent for its culture/business etc. will ultimately find that its people lack the competencies required to conceivably make the leap to the next level (or even thrive in their current roles).

This is where competency frameworks come in. Quoting a Korn Ferry piece about competency frameworks:

Modernizing a competency framework empowers organizations to measure the impact of their talent strategy, examining which competencies correlate with outcomes that matter: productivity, profitability, increased revenues, customer satisfaction, or employee

…Okay, great. But what does it mean to “modernize a competency framework”? The idea here seems to basically be that nowadays job duties and responsibilities for roles change so quickly that relying on how well someone fits into a specific job opening when making a hiring decision is a sub-optimal way to build a bench of talent that will fit your businesses needs in the futureErgo, a forward thinking company looks for candidates that possess key competencies – defined in the piece as “skills and behaviors required for success that can be observed” – as opposed to fixating on how quickly someone can jump into one specific role.

…The article goes on to point out that globalization, flattening org structures, technological improvements and other variables are now rendering traditional competency models to be quickly outdated. But that’s a topic that is outside the scope of the question I want to examine today.

Does your organization utilize competency frameworks when making hiring decisions? Or does it rely exclusively on job descriptions – hiring people for their ability to fill specific roles. Doing this isn’t in and of itself a bad thing. Every company needs continuity players, and further if an organization mostly hires contractors or unskilled labor this is again a perfectly acceptable approach.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.