Joker card floating in the air - competence development - managementberatung | coaching
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Leadership | Competence Development

Competence development - a must for sustainable competitiveness of companies

From Sabine Walter, Head of network management consulting | coaching

Structured and continuous competence development is crucial to ensure the competitiveness of companies in the future. Furthermore, it is elementary to achieve strategic goals and to help shape the 21st century with innovative solutions. In this article we explain how we see structured competence development. We address misconceptions and give you concrete next steps that will enable you to build the competences your company needs.

What does competence mean?

Competence is the ability to carry out defined tasks independently, to reflect on the result and the procedure and to derive "lessons learned" from it. Competence also means continuously developing the execution of activities in terms of time, cost and quality.

Competence development - a central component of the strategy

If companies do not include competence development as a central element of strategy, various risks arise from this:

  • The strategic goals set are not achieved because essential competencies are missing. Market positions may be lost, economic success decreases.
  • Competencies have to be bought externally for (too) expensive money because there is no more time to develop these competences internally.
  • This in turn can lead to employees resigning or quitting because they have been denied the opportunity to develop.
  • Companies place themselves in a state of dependency because they lack core competencies in-house.

Procedure for structured competence development

In order to bring structure and continuity into the process of competence development, we recommend the following procedure.

  1. Develop your corporate vision and, building on this, work out the Corporate strategy.
  2. Derive from the corporate strategy which professional and personal competencies you need in your company to successfully implement this strategy and document this e.g. in a competence map. It is important that this competence map is sufficiently detailed. For example, it is not enough to list "communication competence" as a collective term. It is much more a question of breaking down this core competency into e.g. "conducting conversations in customer contact", "presenting offers".
  3. Translate all competencies into observable behaviour. Only then is a reliable assessment of the existing competencies possible.
  4. Rate how strongly these competencies are developed in your company. To do this, use traffic light colours red, yellow, green or scale values (0-10). Traffic light colours are striking and give a visual and understandable picture, especially at management level. Scales are more concrete and make it easier to measure success later on.
  5. Define, which competencies must be mandatory by when and available in which form and at which level.
  6. Derive from this a procedure on how to close the competence gap in your company (competence development). The possibilities to develop and expand competences are manifold. Cooperate with external experts, for example, develop your employees through continuous feedback in everyday life, further training opportunities or job rotation or hire new employees.

Competence development a continuous process

Competence maps are dynamic and subject to continuous development. Strategic impulses due to market and technological changes are to be reflected in the same way as the further development of the organisation - triggered by recruitment, the further development of employees, the departure of employees as well as changes in cooperations or service providers.

Competence maps must be revised at least once a year. Ideally, this is a continuous process supported by an appropriate IT system.

How do your competence needs change? What additional competencies do you need? What do you need more of, what less? Which competencies have become irrelevant?

Which competencies have already grown or have been added? Which have decreased or disappeared completely?

Continuous competence assessment is the task of managers

In many companies, competence development is synonymous with seminar organisation and thus with HR. In the upper part of this article we have shown that there is much more to targeted competence development than a catalogue of seminars. It is also clear that HR only plays an accompanying service provider role in this process. It is and remains the task of managers, based on the strategy, to define competence needs, to assess existing competencies and also to take responsibility for the development of new competencies or the further development of existing skills.

In order to ensure competence development across the company according to similar standards, it is important to To "break down" competencies into observable behaviour. Let me illustrate this with the example of the key competence "leadership":

Leadership competence

Partial competence I: The leader is a role model.

He / She:

  • ... continues to develop.
  • ... reacts openly to changes and immediately adjusts his thinking and actions accordingly
  • reflects on his / her behaviour regularly
  • is open to feedback and integrates impulses from it into his / her own further development

Partial competence II: The leader treats him/herself and others with respect

He / She:

  • greets other people proactively - regardless of which hierarchy they belong to
  • thanks sincerely
  • formulates emails in a respectful tone

This example will give you an idea of how a competency can be broken down into observable behaviour for easier assessment.

Conclusion: Competence development is a central component of strategy and the task of managers

In our times, competence development is more than ever a must for the long-term competitiveness of companies. Digitalisation, a shortage of skilled workers and the increasingly fast-moving markets demand this. Companies that have not yet understood this will go under in the medium term.

Competence development is a management task. Managers are responsible for not only defining needed competencies, but also assessing the development of existing competencies and closing the competence gap. HR supports this process.

Your next step towards a structured competence development process

Some companies already have detailed competence maps that are updated as part of strategy processes.

Companies that need support in the creation or further development of the competence maps will find experienced contact persons in us. With Sabine Walter, Bianca Bromme, Helen Scheithauer and Zarah Speck, we have experienced personnel, organisational developers and managers on board to advise you in this process and assist in the creation of competency maps, competency assessment sheets, etc.

With our extensive seminars and further education we are at the same time a competent partner for the establishment or further development of competencies.

IBF Ingenieure München - a satisfied company that recommends us

"We used our 50th anniversary as an occasion, to realign the company IBF Ingenieure for the future. At the same time, we also wanted to take care of our internal processes around corporate and employee management.

To support this process, I have turned to you, Ms Walter. You have put us on the right track through leadership coaching, workshops for staff and for management. Many thanks for the trustful cooperation, your inexhaustible ideas as well as your expert and honest feedback." says Michael Weise, Managing Director of the IBF.

Your next step: make an appointment for a consultation

To have all relevant decision-makers at the same table at such an appointment, we recommend organising this appointment with Board or management and human resources development.

When it comes to the targeted competence development of an area, the Division Manager and Human Resources Development should participate in the appointment with us.

Take competence development in your company to the next level and make an active contribution to your competitiveness.

Contact us!

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