Running a company where everyone is on the same page is hard work. And it gets even harder as companies grow and hiring decisions fall on the shoulders of managers. CEOs and founders can’t do everything on their own, after all.
As evidenced by our Employee Engagement Report, work culture has an extremely strong influence on employee happiness. When employees love the cultures their companies have, they’re more productive and engaged. How, then, can CEOs be sure that the right people are being hired if they themselves can’t afford to be involved in the process?
Extending offers to the right people is a lot easier when leaders provide hiring managers with a clear set of criteria that they should use to judge the merits of prospective candidates. These sets of criteria are perhaps most easily conveyed through the creation of competency models.
Quite simply, competency models are frameworks which thoroughly define the skills, experiences, and personality traits necessary to excel in a particular role — something you need to add to your recruiting strategies. The more a prospective candidate lines up with a specific role’s competency model, the higher the chances that individual will succeed in that position.
Now that you understand how competency models can benefit all stakeholders, let’s take a look at how exactly competency models are built.
Generally speaking, there are two different approaches you can take when drafting your competency models:
01. Find background information
After you’ve made the decision to build a competency model, it’s time to start conducting research to identify industry trends and figure out precisely which attributes employees need to keep up with those trends — if not start trends of their own. Tap into your existing resources, and network with relevant contacts you may have to assist you in this endeavor.
02. Draft a competency framework
Once you’ve gathered enough resources, it’s time to put together your first draft of a framework. Remember, the more specific you are, the better. When it’s possible, try to put together a scale that makes it easy to identify the extent to which a candidate possesses a certain trait. For example, if you’re looking for someone who can work well independently, your scale might look something like this:
Assessing candidates’ skills this way should make it easier to identify the best ones.
03. Solicit feedback from people you trust
Once the draft is complete, it’s time to turn to your trusted advisers to see whether you’re on the right track. Include your management team in the process. Make sure that your criteria definitions are clear. Also make sure that you’re not leaving anything obvious out.
04. Update your framework based on that feedback
You don’t have to use every piece of feedback you receive; no one is as familiar with your vision for your company as you are. That said, you are not the wisest person in the world. Two minds — and even seven — are often better than one. Do your due diligence and consult with your team to see which pieces of advice should be incorporated into your revised framework.
05. Review your framework once more
It’s now time for the second round of feedback. Reach out to your contacts and talk with your management team to see whether any additional improvements can be made. Go back to step four as many times as you want.
06. Make any last-minute changes and finalize it
Once you’ve determined any additional updates that need to be made, it’s time to create the final draft of your competency models. Bring in a couple extra sets of eyes to validate your framework. Publish your final competency models once you reach consensus.
If you’re interested in establishing a strong work culture and keeping it intact, create competency models to help guide hiring managers to the right candidates. You won’t regret it.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.