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					   The
COMPETENCY
 CULTURE
         Valerie Ridgway
              Cathy Grant

      Pickering Public Library
        Background

Good news about competencies:
 most of us are already using
  competencies – human terms
 require skills library staff have:
  observers of behaviour;
  evaluate behaviour all the time
 simple to establish (but not
  easy!)


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        Background

 Flourished in 1990s based on
  key article by Hamel & Prahalad
  in HBR
 Partly a reaction to expansionist
  80’s
 “Core competencies” and
  “competencies” used
  interchangeably


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     Some examples

Fedex
Service: Delivery
Core competency: Logistics

Eastman Kodak
Service: Photography products
Core competency: Chemical imaging



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       Organizational
       competencies
Core competencies originally
applied to organizations as a
whole:

     Confer competitive advantage
     Valuable
     Rare
     Difficult to imitate
     Pervasive in the organization


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        Individual
      competencies
Applied to individuals in an
organization:
 Relate to performance of major part
  of job
 Underlying, deep & enduring
 Identify and predict successful job
  performance
 Behaviourally-expressed and
  evaluated
 Can be improved by further training
 (Sometimes refer to technical skills)

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Behaviours determine
   competencies
Example: “Flexible” vs.:
 Accepts new roles and
  responsibilities
 Anticipates and adjusts for
  changing circumstances in
  achievement of objectives
 Demonstrates a positive
  attitude during times of change
 Handles multiple tasks and
  responsibilities successfully
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         Competencies in a
           System Model
                             Strategic Foundation
                         Mission, Vision, Core Values
                 excellence; personal; communicate; enhance

                    Core Competencies
                    •confer competitive advantage
Organization        •value for user
                    •qualities rare/unique
                    •hard to imitate
                    •pervasive
                    people/clients; services;


                            Competencies
                            •leadership
Individual Job              •innovation
                            •continuous
                            improvement
                            •problem-solving
                            •etc.


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     3 approaches to
      competencies
 Homogenized – same set for all
 Individualized – unique set for
  each
 Stratified – sets vary by class of
  job




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    Who has adopted
     competencies?
 Other libraries of all types
 Professional organizations
 Private sector
 See thousands of lists on the
  internet




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        Advantages of
        competencies
   Behaviour easier to talk about
    than labels
   Reduces bias
   Distinguishes top-tier staff from
    average
   Gives staff a common language
    which permeates & aligns the
    organization
   Provides focus for training
   Provides consistency
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     Disadvantages of
      competencies
   Some behaviours “personal”
   Extensive documentation and
    control needed
   Not all behaviours can be
    captured
   Competencies can
    overlap/become vague or
    repetitive
   Change in format generates its
    own problems

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      Implementation I

   Aim for fewer than 12 competencies
   Decide on approach – individual,
    specialized or homogenized
   Focus on how, not what work is done
    (tasks change)
   Learn from others
   Include a definition for each
    competency as well as a handful of
    behaviours
   Prepare a 1st draft for staff and
    management input and expect many
    revisions
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    Implementation II

After competencies have been defined:
   Create job specifications
   Recruit using job specs
   Interview using behaviourally-based
    competency questions
   Orient new employees to competency
    expectations
   Introduce competencies to existing
    employees and offer training
   Coach staff performance based on
    competencies
   Evaluate all employees using
    competency-based evaluation forms
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    Building a competency
        culture at PPL

   Why was this needed at PPL?

   No clear understanding of what
    was expected from employees
    in an environment of change

   PPL needed a comprehensive
    system to define, communicate
    and manage employee
    performance.

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  Defining the desired
    competencies I
January 2004
 Developed a consensus on
  concepts and their relevance
 Reviewed the competencies of
  other organizations – other
  libraries, professional lists, etc
 Took what was appropriate for
  our organization
 Core competency was difficult to
  define so we left it

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    Defining the desired
     competencies II
 Preferred the stratified
  structure and defined a
  hierarchy of competencies
 Also, a common group of
  competencies were found in all
  positions.
 Behaviours were the last to be
  defined


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 Communicating with
      staff
Spring 2004
 Staff were introduced to the
  concept of competencies at staff
  meetings and through various
  memos and discussions.
Summer 2004
 Staff were introduced to the
  new competency-based
  evaluation forms during the
  annual evaluation process

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   Competency-based
performance evaluation I




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       Competency-based
    performance evaluation II

 360 degree feedback forms,
  based on competencies were
  added to managers reviews’ in
  2005 and to staff reviews in
  2006
 Managers invited feedback from
  a random selection of
  colleagues


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    Competency-based
       training I
 Training is a major part of
  implementing a competency-
  based HR system
 Some training was system-wide
    • Customer service training was
      first
    • Coaching Skills for Supervisors
    • Communications Training



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    Competency-based
       training II
 Some training was individual
  and based on the training plan
  associated with evaluations
 Individualized training was
  accomplished through in-house
  methods as well as external
  sources.




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    Competency-based
       recruitment
Fall 2004
 New postings included competencies
 Interviews included competency-
   based questions

Continuous Learning
Think back to when you received a new position or
responsibility within the workplace. What have you done
to learn the new skills that were required?




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              Hurdles

   Time-intensive for managers
   Ratings for behavioural frequency are
    misperceived in many ways
   Performance can be a very emotional
    issue for some staff
   Using competency measures for 360
    feedback is difficult for staff
   Competency-based recruitment may
    be difficult if there are not enough
    suitable recruits


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          Successes

 Managers and staff now have a
  language for handling performance
  issues
 Managers find it easier to deal with
  performance problems and have had
  much success with underperforming
  staff
 The recruitment process has been
  clarified
 The training process is more focused,
  less ad hoc

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      Continuous
     improvements
 Streamlining and simplifying
  performance reviews forms and
  process
 Managers are making more time
  for performance management.
 PPL is committed to this
  practice and will continue to
  make improvements over time.


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Our core competency
      (nearly)!
Friendly and convenient service to
      fit every client’s needs.




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 Thank you


 Valerie Ridgway,
valerier@picnet.org

   Cathy Grant
cathyg@picnet.org




           Pickering Public Library