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Align competencies with core values
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Align competencies with core values

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

How do you create a winning corporate culture? What do you want to pass on to everyone in your firm?

Doing a little brainstorming can help you to identify your values, figure out how your values work in your company, and match those values to competencies that you want to see in your employees.

There's a lot of potential here, and high-level managers often consider how this process works as they try to move the business forward. By making these values “real” and attaching them to competencies, the business benefits from a clearer road map and a better way to articulate the vision behind the enterprise.

Talent Translates to Company Culture

The people that you hire, and the ways that they work, will impact your corporate culture. People sometimes think it's the other way around – but in reality, it's more of a two-way street.

Yes, your deliberate attempts to create a corporate culture will have an impact on your talent. But what people bring to the table will also feed back into that culture, hopefully in a positive way. That's why it's important to look at the entire life cycle of talent management, to try to advance those company goals related to the core values that leaders can identify.

The Management and Company Culture Life Cycle

Here's a five-part life cycle that can help business leaders to track how well they are incorporating core values into talent acquisition processes.

  • The first step is recruitment. This cycle begins by bringing in new talent to the organization.
  • The second step is onboarding, where the company starts to provide newly recruited people with resources and information. These resources should not only help new employees navigate their new job, but also familiarize them with the company culture and work environment.
  • The third step is what you might call ‘performance management’ – or in a less hierarchical model, you might call it something else, like creative input processes. Here’s where the talent and the management work together to share feedback and ideas with one another. The distribution of ideas between both parties allows for a new employee to understand an organization’s core values and culture, but conversely, management can also take feedback from newly hired employees to tweak or improve aspects of the existing cultural system.
  • The fourth step of the company culture life cycle can be called coaching and training. Here, the company is continuing to invest resources in all employees to build culture from the ground up. The best businesses do this, one way or another, often under the banner of professional development. But even if there’s not a readily available coaching track for a particular job role, creating one is a best practice for enshrining company values in core competencies.
  • The last phase of the process involves career planning and succession. To better understand succession, it's best to think about a small family business. When that first generation finally passes the keys onto the next generation, that's a succession transition. At big companies, succession happens in increments all the time. Any time someone leaves, they take their creative input and talent with them. Hopefully, what they leave behind is valuable, too. That's where business leaders can create a deliberate process to make sure that succession goes well, and helps the company to retain the value that people have contributed.



Ultimately, you can think of the company culture life cycle using the following analogy: This process is like the life cycle of organic material. A separate creation melds its organic matter back into the soil, and the process repeats itself, over and over. The key here is that the nutrients brought by new decay enhance the soil itself. It might seem a little macabre, but this idea plays back into the process of enriching a company through its enduring values.

Core and Job-Specific Competencies

So let's talk about making competencies align with core values.

First of all, there are two kinds of competencies – core competencies, and job-specific competencies.

Job-specific competencies are things like working well on a computer, being able to diagnose a problem in a particular industry or field, or the ability to navigate a particular system related to one's job.

Core competencies are different. They’re things like relatability, empathy, foresight and determination.

Here's an excellent example of a core competency – customer service.

Companies often make an effort to create a value of customer service, and then transform that value into a core competency for staff. How do you do that? One key way to accomplish this is to reward excellence – you promote the value of customer service by incentivizing people to value it themselves.

There's a lot more to this in terms of the nuts and bolts of working toward promoting these core competencies and the company values that are behind them. The key to remember is that management has to work well with talent. There's no shortcut to that kind of success. It's simply the case nowadays that businesses succeed when they integrate all levels of staff into an inclusive culture, and fail when they end up stratified by job role and position within a business, with different sides pulling in different directions in a corporate tug-of-war.

So think about your values and how they align with the competencies that you want to promote. It will make a difference in how your business works every day, and where it goes in the future. When leaders can articulate what they are planning, when they codify their values this way, they get a better “birds-eye view” of where the business is going. Newcomers, for their part, get a better general sense of what they’re getting into when they sign the on-boarding paperwork. It’s a win-win.

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