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Which Competency Model System is Best for My Company?

October 4, 2016

Many competency model systems are too narrowly applied for the value, amount of work and expense. I found one offering meets all of my requirements for cradle-to-grave talent management use, high manager acceptance and engagement, amount of work required and cost/value for what you get.

According to Talent Management Magazine’s article on December 3, 2015 by Jim Graber, “Competency models allow leaders to implement a systematic approach to all facets of talent management.” Perhaps you’ve put your own preface to that statement: “In an ideal world.”

Here is my list of applications (wants and needs) for a valid and reliable competency model system:

  • Highly effective for the industry, company and jobs I’m supporting.
  • Reduces subjectivity and measures what it is suppose to measure.
  • Development of a job posting that attracts the right talent.
  • Eliminates the redundancy and necessity of job descriptions.
  • Ability to use a complimentary assessment for assessing applicants for the open position.
  • Ability to generate a Gap analysis automatically between an applicant and the job benchmark (job’s competency model).
  • Ability to generate a candidate comparison report of best candidates from the pool of finalists.
  • Provide the hiring manager and the new hire with the key accountabilities for the role, a talent report and gap analysis, along with a professional development plan and specific talent development goals as part of the onboarding plan.
  • Provide managers with tools that make it easy to have a laser-focused performance management or professional development discussion with their employees.
  • Provide employees with the “what” and the “how” to be successful.
  • Support objective “job fit” discussions when superior performance isn’t possible.

A competency model that doesn’t fulfill every one of those requirements isn’t acceptable.

What I Found.

TTI Success Insights (TTISI), a global assessment company, developed a competency model system several years ago and received a patent for its unique and highly reliable approach. That means no other firm offering competency models can copy it.

I’ve been using this system for over ten years in partnership with HR executives, HR business partners, C-level executives and department managers. If it didn’t meet all of my criteria I would have dropped it long ago. Instead, the most rewarding aspect of TTISI’s competency model system is the high level of engagement and adoption I receive from managers.

Managers intuitively and quickly recognize useful, value-added tools vs. time-wasting, low-validity or low-value tools. I find managers are advocates after completing and using just one job benchmark. Even better, the manager becomes a strong advocate for the system to other managers. As a customer-centric HR-geek, that has always been my number one measure for customer value: do my clients recommend the tool or strategy to other managers.

Consider what your Voice of the Customer rating is for your talent management system and specifically your job competency modeling system. If managers love what you are providing, the adoption rate is high and sustainability of your talent management strategy practically goes on auto-pilot. When was the last time you had a manager come to HR and beg for an exercise in writing job descriptions? Never. Is your current competency modeling system having to be pushed by HR and seen as too subjective or flawed by managers; or are your internal clients demanding it in their organizations?


In fact, managers that have leveraged the system demand its use for ongoing hiring. At a time when your Talent Acquisition folks (aka Recruiters) continue to be rewarded for “time-to-fill” off of an antiquated job requisition system, hiring managers have a way to inject “quality” into recruiting and hiring process.

Employee engagement, performance management and professional development

Experienced employees who are provided the opportunity to use the system consistently state “This has been the best performance discussion I’ve ever had in my entire career with my manager.” and “For the first time in my career, I feel like I know how to pursue and achieve the next level for my career.” New hires maintain that new hire excitement well past the honeymoon period.

From hiring to performance management to high potential development, TTISI’s patented process for competency modeling along with their talent assessments is a clear talent management program differentiator.

I realize this article sounds like a PR article. I encourage you to use the requirements list above to compare different competency modeling systems you are considering. Invite your internal clients (managers) into the evaluation process. And feel free to call me if you have questions about the TTISI patented process for competency modeling.

Need more information about TTISI’s patented competency modeling system (we call it a job benchmark)? Contact Carl Nielson at 972.346.2892 or email him at

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