Adjusting strategic plans and talent management actions to future organizational competencies.

Adapting strategic plans and actions related to talent management to future organizational competencies.

William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, Honorary Member CPLP

Competency models form the foundation of talent management. However, competency models are not defined once and for all; rather, the competency requirements of employees change as the organization implements its strategic business plan. But how are organizational competency models adapted to strategic plans? Why is it important to ensure that competency models align with the strategic goals of the organization?

What are the ways to adapt organizational competency models to strategic plans?

Let’s remember that competence is a description of the attributes of a person who performs a job well or exceptionally. The ideal profile of a person for an organization, at every level of the organizational structure, will change as the organization changes. Without a competency model that describes the ideal employee, it is difficult to determine whom to hire, develop, promote, or retain. Without a competency model aligned with the strategic goals of the organization, implementing the strategic plan will be almost impossible because it is people who execute the strategy. To adapt competency models to the strategic plans of the organization, one should start with the strategic goals and the existing competency model that is focused on the current situation. Engage employees in the organization to work in task teams to review each competency and its measures – behavioral indicators, characteristic behaviors, results, or work outcomes – in the context of strategic goals. When analyzing competencies, let’s ask ourselves the following questions:

  • How will competencies and their measures change to support the strategy implementation?
  • What expectations will we have for employees, what results should they achieve when the strategy is fully implemented?

After asking these questions, verify the team’s work results and prepare a list of competencies and their measures in the form of a survey. Send this survey to all senior managers, middle managers, and front-line managers to check the future competency model oriented towards strategy implementation. After collecting the results, present them for review and approval by the board. Once approved by the board, the future-oriented competency model will be developed. It can then be used to assess employees for potential advancement in the future.

Let’s emphasize that no organization’s strategy can be implemented if employees do not change in line with the strategic direction. The same fundamental approach can also be applied to job descriptions. Remember that job descriptions merely describe the work (what employees do), while competency models describe the employees (who they should be). Both tools are necessary to create a clear vision of the organization’s future.

Why is it important to ensure alignment between competency models and the strategic goals of the organization?

Why are future competency models and job descriptions needed? The simple answer is: employee development takes time. If talent specialists aim to develop employees to meet current organizational needs, their efforts may become outdated by the time employees acquire the necessary experience. There is a need for “future-proofing,” an attempt to determine what competencies will be required when vacancies at higher levels of responsibility arise within the organization.

William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR is the president of two consulting firms: Rothwell & Associates, Inc. and Rothwell & Associates, LLC, specializing in advisory services with a particular focus on succession planning and talent management. He is an international authority in the field of succession planning, talent management, and other human resources-related issues. William J. Rothwell is also a retired professor from the Department of Human Resource Development at the University Park Pennsylvania State University. He led the top-ranked human resource development program in the USA.

He has consulted for over 50 international companies, including Motorola University China, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Siemens, Sony, GM Shanghai, Philips, Ericsson, and HP.

Since 1987, he has authored 130 books, edited 24 volumes in various book series, contributed 185 book chapters, and published 74 research articles. Some of his books have been translated into Korean, Chinese, Polish, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.

William J. Rothwell, Ph.D., SPHR, Honorary Member CPLP