The Importance of Competency-Based Assessments

By: Sourushe Zandvakili, April 11, 2014

Every job requires a set of specific skills and knowledge, but the details of that skill set depend on each position and its complexity. Competency-based assessments provide a means for building the skills and knowledge people must have in order to perform a job well. This type of assessment can also be helpful in succession planning since it offers a course of action to develop employees for future roles. It allows for effectively conducting Team, Culture and 360 analyses as well.


If you properly implement competency modeling sequences for all jobs in your organization, your company will be ahead of the curve. Benefits include:

  • Converting your organization’s vision and core values into expected employee behavior
  • Reducing costs in selection, lowering absenteeism, and reducing turnover
  • Utilizing fairer and more objective assessments
  • Identifying individual employee-specific development needs that are directly linked to outcomes and objectives
  • Targeting training resources to areas with the highest ROI
  • Establishing valid and effective performance evaluation criterion
  • Identifying gaps between current skill sets and potential future skill set requirements through “Talent Match”
  • Empowering employees to direct their own personal development and to self-evaluate

The bottom line is that organizations will enjoy increased productivity and profitability by ensuring that their employees have the capability to meet objectives and customer expectations.

The Devine Group has created a streamlined process through which HR professionals can construct competency-based job models in less than an hour! HR simply sends assessments to a handful of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and then immediately generates a highly customized competency-based job model based on SME input. We also offer the more traditional approach of allowing clients to select appropriate competencies from our library of more than 130 job competencies.

We would love to have an opportunity to showcase our proprietary competency-based Job Model Builder for you and your colleagues. A tool like this can make all the difference in ensuring success for the future of your organization.

The Leadership Chasm – Filling the Void Left by Retiring Baby Boomers

By: Todd Young, April 7, 2014

By 2020—just six years from now—only 25 percent of the workforce will be over the age of 55. Many seniors will continue working but not necessarily in the same roles they held before. Instead, they will move into less demanding “retirement careers” that keep them busy and allow them to earn a little extra income.

The retirement phase of Baby Boomers, which began in 2007 and is expected to continue through at least 2025, presents many challenges for organizations needing to fill the management void. The generation immediately behind the Boomers, typically referred to as Gen X or Baby Busters, is not large enough to fill the void on its own. Therefore, companies need to identify and develop younger workers at a more accelerated pace than ever before.

Some organizations have already begun to mine the talent pipeline in preparation for the ensuing transition in workforce dynamics. But most organizations are too consumed with the work demands of today to fully commit resources toward developing a leadership pipeline that will sustain their organizations in the future. If your company is in this majority, it is essential to take steps now to effectively prepare for the transition. Consider the following tips when creating a plan for future leadership development.


Keys to Developing a Leadership Pipeline

Define Your Needs: Organizations must have structure around the process of development. You should first consider defining the elements, goals, and steps that will shape the success of a leadership development initiative. Once you have completed the identification phase, you will need clarity to proceed with the next steps in building your leadership pipeline so that you proactively engage high potentials in the development process. Consider the following:

  • Elements—what are the leadership characteristics your organization values in order to meet long-term objectives?
  • Goals—what are the outcomes that will define success? It’s also important to define the tools that will be used to measure success.
  • Steps—what process will be used to develop the leadership pipeline? The process should include both macro steps (Identification, Development, and Placement) and micro steps, which are the stages or details of execution within each of the macro stages.

Identify Potential Early: Determining bench strength within your current employee ranks is an obvious place to start. The organizations that will win the race for talent will be the ones that apply a holistic approach to building their pipelines. This approach includes interviewing candidates and screening them for potential. You do not need to completely overhaul your existing structured interviewing process, however; simply add in a few elements that focus on leadership skills.

Balance and Endurance: Perhaps the greatest challenge facing organizations and leaders is finding an effective balance between the demands of your current work load and dedicating time and resources to future development. Begin by incorporating specific tasks intended to give employees experience or exposure to new challenges. Training classes, workshops, and other developmental tools will need to be included at some point as well. Spread out these exercises to allow employees to incorporate their learning into work practices. Participation in the leadership pipeline is a process that should be integrated over 24 to 36 months. It is not a sprint, but rather an endurance race, wherein the participants maintain a purposeful pace that results in successful development over time.

The demands for acquiring and developing young leadership talent are increasing daily. The future success of any organization in operation today is dependent on developing a solid process around feeding its Leadership Pipeline. It’s a process that begins with Talent Acquisition and one that needs to be structured with specific objectives. If your organization hasn’t begun preparations for meeting the talent challenges of the near future, it is not too late. However, it won’t be long before the drain of talent in the workforce will leave some organizations in a vulnerable position. Being proactive today will alleviate the need to be reactive tomorrow.

Talent Assessments Around the World

By: Andrew Day, March 20, 2014

People doing business on the international stage are aware that business is conducted differently in every country. If international business is to be successful, it is critical to develop a thorough understanding of the culture, values, and interpersonal norms that impact the workplaces of foreign colleagues. This same level of thought needs to be applied to assessment solutions used to identify and manage talent in different countries.

Although a job role may have the same title and similar objectives across the globe, the ways in which people achieve results in different localities can vary. The critical behaviors and competencies measured by an assessment needs to account for those differences. For instance, the type of sales approach that works well in the United States may be too aggressive for cultural norms in other parts of the world. If an assessment based on US sales behaviors is transported to a different part of the world without due consideration of these differences, the people hired abroad will not deliver the expected results.

When using assessments in different countries, key considerations include:

  • Avoid Assumptions – As mentioned above, do not assume that jobs are the same everywhere. Also, do not make assumptions about differences based on country stereotypes. Instead, follow best practices for assessments and analyze the job itself. Treating a new location as a new job will provide detailed information so that the assessment can be designed to measure the critical behaviors for top talent.

  • Utilize Local Resources – Identify subject matter experts who are part of the local culture and knowledgeable about how businesses operate. These experts will have first-hand insights and can help successfully design and implement appropriate assessments.

  • Use the Right Language – Translating an assessment into the local language may seem like an obvious step, but it must be done correctly. To ensure the quality of the assessment is preserved, a precise methodology of translation should be followed. Mistranslation and colloquialisms can impact the reliability and validity of an assessment, leading to poor conclusions and loss of ROI.

Choosing solutions that help objectively identify and manage talent are important no matter where business is conducted. Applying a knowledgeable understanding of differences that impacts assessments will ensure that talent measures are aligned to achieve business objectives in all areas of the world.

A Higher Minimum Wage and the Four Dimensions of Hourly Selection

By: Joe Koczwara, March 17, 2014

With talk of government raising the minimum wage, it is imperative for employers to hire the best possible people the first time. The return on investment in terms of talent needs to increase to compensate for potentially higher costs of doing business. And as always, hiring right the first time is simply smart business. To help companies accomplish these objectives, the Devine Group has developed the Devine Hourly Selection assessment.

The Devine Hourly Selection combines the four dimensions of an hourly role that most employers are looking for:


1. Dependability & Work Quality

Measures reliability in attendance and punctuality, the propensity to complete assigned responsibilities to satisfaction, and the ability to follow through on commitments.

2. Interpersonal Skills

Measures cooperation and responsiveness to the needs of co-workers and team members. It also measures a person’s level of courtesy and respectfulness when dealing with others.

3. Principled Conduct

Measures the propensity to follow rules, code of conduct in the workplace, and honest and ethical behavior.

4. Retention

Measures the likelihood of a worker to stay with your organization long term, and his or her level of commitment to the job.

The Devine Hourly Selection combines these four critical dimensions into one assessment tool to provide the best read on a candidate. It takes approximately 10 minutes for applicants to complete the assessment. The results will reveal anticipated work ethic, customer service orientation and potential risk factors—important information to have before hiring anyone.

What Your Hiring Process Says About Your Brand

By: Julie Johnson, March 12, 2014

Globalization has transformed the overall employment picture. Many jobs that existed even as recently as 10-15 years ago have vanished.  This has created intense competition for talent in critical skills areas.  To put this transformation into perspective, when Tom Friedman penned his bestseller “The World is Flat” in 2003, Google was a VC (venture capital) backed start-up, the iPhone and iPad were in someone’s imagination at Apple and Facebook did not even exist!  The velocity of change continues at a break-neck pace. It is almost a given that as hiring continues to pick up, the competition for the best and brightest talent will intensify.

What does this mean for employers? A lot! How you recruit and treat prospective employees directly affects your ability to compete. And, how you go about attracting talent makes a statement about who you are.  In essence, it defines your brand.

Despite the many vehicles available to positively showcase your brand, employee/employer branding is often overlooked when trying to source new talent. Cloud-based applications have made recruiting efforts more efficient.  Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have become a standard at most larger enterprise companies and are deploying rapidly in the mid-market.  The emergence of newer technologies such as video interviewing and the growing use of social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) continue to impact how organizations connect with talent.

With all of these emerging factors, organizations must be acutely aware of how the use of recruiting technologies exhibits your company’s brand.