Robin Kessler - Competency Speaker and HR Consultant

Rating competencies

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I received an email recently asking for advice on setting up a tool to help with rating competencies. The senior learning and development consultant explained that many of their managers were confused with the behaviorally anchored rating scales they had developed and needed more guidance.

Many organizations use a Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales tool that they developed based on the number of ratings they use. The State of Michigan, for example, has behavioral examples listed for each of their competencies under the headings, Needs Improvement, Meets Expectations, and High Performing.  If you look at their competency, Customer Focus,  an employee who acknowledges their customers “in a timely manner” and “meets or exceeds their expectations” would be rated Meets Expectations.

When we were in school, most of us figured out that some teachers and professors gave A‘s very rarely and others were not as reluctant to give the highest grade. The same dynamic happens in organizations – managers are not always consistent with their evaluation ratings because they have to make decisions about people who do not neatly fit into one rating and there will be some judgment involved in the final decision.

Developing well-written competency-based accomplishment statements to back up the ratings is the first step toward having competency-based performance management systems work more effectively. Better information going into the system means higher quality information to make better decisions about people….what is the opposite of garbage in, garbage out?

Having competency-based accomplishment statements in the system means that senior managers can:  

  • Make the ratings more consistent with actual performance across their organization,
  • Make better decisions about promoting people,
  • Evaluate other possible employees from different departments more fairly, and
  • Create better development plans for their departments because they have better information about the strengths of their current workforce.

Competency-based models that have been developed for your organization have the potential to help make it more successful in the future. Consider taking the time to make sure they are being implemented as well as they could be.


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