Can Outcomes and Competencies Coexist?
Recently several of us were discussing the question of whether outcomes and competencies can coexist. If you’ve followed our blog for long, you’ll remember that we’ve written about how competencies are too general to help improve the performance and productivity of people in specific roles. But the question still comes up frequently, so here is our answer.
Yes, they can coexist. This happens when we acknowledge that the two approaches are completely different and can help organizations meet different challenges. For managers who are striving to improve their hiring processes by recruiting better, stronger candidates that fit a desired set of characteristics, competencies can be very helpful. A well-designed set of competencies can provide a model for the type of employee an organization is seeking. A significant but rarely considered nuance in that process is the notion that hiring can be either internal or external. The implications are that competencies can also help when creating career-development models for people as they define their journey through the various roles in the organization.
However, once employees land in a role, the competency model will not help them perform in that role. Many organizations make the mistake of attempting to use a general competency model to help people become excellent in their roles. Only an outcomes model can do that.
Question to ponder:
- Is your organization clear on the difference between competencies and outcomes-based competence?