News You Can Use | Issue 01 |

What We’ve Been Reading

Competency-based hiring… it’s an emerging trend, and it seems to (finally) be catching on. Maybe.  

It’s an interesting and emerging trend, driven by employer dissatisfaction with traditional skills proxies – there’s an article here from way back in 2015 from the US-based SHRM organization, that explains what it is, why you should be doing it, and what you need to do to implement it in your organization. Pretty clear. That being said, I’m surprised that they also indicate that this kind of hiring is prevalent in Canada – they must be thinking of a different Canada than the one I’ve been living in, because it sure isn’t the norm in 2024, let alone in 2015!  

More recently, others have also been pointing in this direction; McKinsey had THIS to say, pointing to the trend of US businesses to prioritize skills over academic credentials. They note that for a wide range of job roles, shifting to skills-based (what we would call “competency-based) hiring helps employers access AND keep a deeper and broader talent pool, and change the approach to internal career progression – good for both the employer and the worker.  

And the Harvard Business Review has also noted the trend HERE – but also noted that a lot of the companies who have said (often with great fanfare) that they no longer require degrees, in practice often still do. 

There’s a whole movement attached to THIS in the US to encourage companies to break their addiction to university and college credentials as proxies for skill, and really look at what they need, and who might have those skills– whether they have a piece of paper from a post-secondary or not.   

These are wonderful ideas – no doubt driven by skills shortages in the US – but the key for companies is two-fold:  

  1. Being able to really articulate the competencies they need for any given role; and, 
  1. Being able to articulate the evidence that those competencies exist in a candidate, and creating appropriate tests that can be administered during the recruiting and screening process to verify that candidates have the required skills.  

In our opinion, these two factors are the major barrier for employers (especially smaller employers) switching away from traditional (albeit flawed) proxies for skill. It’s really not possible to go down this road without well-articulated competency profiles for the roles you’re trying to fill, linked through a competency framework that allows you to identify critical competencies to grow employees into different roles post-hire. 

We will have helped quite a few clients with this; If you’re interested in diving deeper into this – stay tuned for an upcoming edition of our Executive Brief series where we’ll be having an open dialogue around this concept, and the barriers that companies face in moving in this direction. Can’t wait? Get in touch with us:   

New Services and Events

TMA Talent Assessment and Career planning Resources

Many of the studies in 2023 and new predictions about talent management challenges for 2024 show the same trend – employees increasingly are looking for new, more challenging, and meaningful jobs. This trend will drive higher turnover, and employers will lose their competitive ability as they lose critical skills.  Employee discontent with their jobs is evidence that traditional career maps and development practices are no longer adequate.  

For organizations to recruit and retain the talent they need to prosper, it’s clear that change is needed. Emerging research suggests that employers who design their recruiting processes to ensure alignment between jobs and the natural talents of their employees will create more engaged, productive, workplaces. If they then develop those same employees in an intentional manner that leverages these natural talents, they can reduce time to competency and further increase productivity and engagement – today’s worker wants to be valued, developed, and take part in work that is meaningful and satisfying. When employers can create this sort of talent-first organization, they create better value for their customers, now and into the future.  

Workforce Strategies has searched the global marketplace for tools and resources that assist people to understand and use their drives, talents, and competencies to make the best possible career decisions – and we are pleased to announce that we are now offering the TMA Method to our clients. This is an online resource which allows individual employees and their managers to gain access to a detailed assessment of talents and tendencies, but also to a portal that facilitates on-going development. It drives the sorts of talent-based conversations that improves fit between people and roles, and results in more effective organizations. 

TMA is available for individual subscriptions, or can be licensed to larger organizations: click here to get in touch with Dirk Volschenk to learn more about how TMA can drive talent transformation and improve the performance of your organizational performance.  

Upcoming Events

If your organization is considering or already has a certification program, join us for an exclusive discussion on how competencies can supercharge it! With extensive experience aiding various organizations in launching successful certification initiatives, we’re eager to share insights and hear about your successes and challenges. Reserve your spot now to ensure your voice is heard at the table.


Cool Stuff We’re Involved With

Ideas we’re pursuing…  

A few years ago, the Learning City Collective We’ve been busy participating in the experimental “Open Learning Lab” (OLL) initiative here in Calgary. This is a project of the Learning City Collective, part of ongoing active research in activating alternative learning modes in an environment that combines university classrooms with business co-working space to create “collisions” that open new and often unexpected learning opportunities. WFSI is a founding member of the OLL, and our co-founder Jeff Griffiths serves of the Learning City Collective board of directors – and you can find out more about this project and other work of the Collective to activate Calgary’s broader learning ecosystem of over 3000 organizations, delivering over 30,000 learning experiences – most of which are undocumented, unaccounted, and unappreciated. We are working collectively to activate this eco-system to provide incredible scalability in learning BEYOND traditional post-secondary institutions, HERE  

Removing the “Friction” from the jobs economy 

We’ve long been advocates for creating a common language that links individuals’ personal competencies, the requirements that employers have for different roles, the competencies represented by different academic courses, programs and credentials, and the competencies represented by various industries and professional certifications. And… it looks like it’s happening.  You can download the report co-written with Canada West Foundation below.

“I struggled with two bad hires in a row for a critical position and reached out to Jeff and the Workforce Strategies International team for guidance. After only one call, I changed my approach to the assessment process. Not only did I find the right person for the role, but it was so successful that we’ve had to hire two additional people using the same process to handle the increase in our business.”

Jonathan Ankney

Entrepreneur and CEO, Fractional CFO Services for Non-profits and Small Businesses

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