Tag Archive: behavioural competency

  1. How do you measure the success of your leadership development programme?



    The UK Learning and Development Report 2018 shows that 94 per cent of the best performers surveyed say learning and development is critical to success. Almost two-thirds of companies with increased turnover in the past year rate leadership and management development as their top priority.  The national average of £300 spent per employee on learning and development constitutes a big chunk of an organisation’s budget and it is essential therefore, that development programmes are successful, effective and represent an appropriate return on investment.

    Your organisation will probably have a leadership development programme in place. Candidates are typically selected to take part in this development programme as a result of demonstrating exceptional skills in the operational side of their role and they will have a willingness and an enthusiasm to progress.   Leadership, however, requires a completely different set of skills.  It requires people to let go of their technical skills, develop excellent communication and influencing skills as well as the skills to be visionary about the future and put together well thought through strategic plans.

    How then do you measure the success of the development programme?

    Traditionally this has been done in a number of ways  including anecdotal evidence of performance or leadership style following the programme, an annual appraisal, subjective measurement against company behavioural competencies, subjective 360 degree feedback which is time consuming and therefore expensive to collect and collate to name but a few.   Most methods have a large element of subjectivity which will affect the findings.  So how can we eliminate the subjectivity from the measurement process?

    What if, at the start of a leadership development programme, you could objectively measure the group of candidates against a set of pre-defined leadership-specific behaviours? And then objectively measure them again some time down the line following the completion of the programme?

    The Harrison Assessment Leadership Behavioural Competency framework can do just that. It measures people’s individual skills and areas for development against 10 essential Leadership Competencies in an objective way using a forced ranking questionnaire.  These include the following behavioural competencies –

    • Communication
    • Energizing People
    • Learning Agility
    • Problem Solving
    • Resilience and Perseverance
    • Achievement Orientation
    • Impact and Influence
    • Innovation
    • Leading People
    • Strategic Thinking

    Each competency is made up of a series of essential traits, desirable traits and traits to avoid. Development candidates complete a short, online SmartQuestionnaireTM, the result of 30 years research by Dan Harrison PhD who focuses on the link between results and the enjoyment factor.  It is well documented that people who enjoy what they do produce better results.  The SmartQuestionnaireTM therefore takes into account working preferences and cross matches 175 factors to define the individual’s ‘behavioural DNA’.

    Responses are then mapped against each of the Harrison Leadership Competencies which can then highlights areas of strength and areas for development both for an individual and for a team.  The image below shows a sample report for the Strategic Thinking Competency, and the responses mapped for the essential traits of this competency. We can see that Andrew Jones’* higher scoring essential traits – higher scores generally relate to better performance – are Analytical and Truth Exploring, where as his disinclination for Research/Learning could indicate this could be an area for further development.

    Once you have the group of individual reports, a team report can be created, as shown below in the example team report for the Competency of ‘Strategic Thinking’.  This example is based on the team’s position before the commencement of the leadership programme.  Candidate names have been replaced by numbers in the left hand column.  The red areas show clearly the areas to focus on for development. The green areas denote the areas where individuals show a preference for work that requires type of behaviour.

    In this case, from the graph above you can see that the team shows a clear preference for analytical factors in their work, with responses predominantly illustrated in green, whereas the high number of responses shown in red under the ‘systematic’ column shows that further training and focus for development may be required to help the team become more systematic in their approach to work, if appropriate. A personal or team development plan and additional training can then be designed around the real objective data provided here.

    If a second questionnaire is then carried out some time later following the programme, once the candidates have had time to embed the learning, the two reports can be compared to see where the individual has improved against their earlier results, and where further development may be required. Comparison of the two reports can show with laser clarity ultimately whether the leadership development programme has been successful.

    The HATS behavioural competency also measures desirable traits and traits to avoid. The same measurements can be carried out for these to provide further evaluation. The HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency and other standard, pre-defined behavioural competencies are available. Bespoke behavioural competencies can be developed according to the requirements of your organisation and built around your own set of required traits and behaviours.

    If you would like to find out more about the HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency, other pre-defined competencies, or indeed about creating a bespoke competency, please call us on 07768 922244 or get in touch with us online.


    *Andrew Jones is a real person, whose name has been changed & who has given permission for his reports to be used as Harrison samples.

  2. How are you Measuring the Success of your Competency Framework?


    Are you leaving it to subjective opinion or measuring it accurately?

    What are you measuring?

    We never cease to be impressed with the time and effort that organisations put into producing competency frameworks.  Many hours of research and careful analysis goes into such frameworks which are then rolled throughout the organisation with the intention of maintaining consistency of approach.  Sometimes they are linked to pay reward and form an essential part of the appraisal system.  More often than not they form the foundation for personal development plans whereupon important decisions re training, coaching and mentoring are made.

    Competency frameworks are playing a bigger and bigger role in decision making re recruitment, succession planning and talent management.  So why is it that such an important feature of the organisation is measured in such a subjective way?  Often when we speak with organisations and ask them this question we find that the only measurement is a simple scoring system – often 1-4 based on a yearly appraisal where the score is dependent on the opinion of the manager.  Even if a 360 degree feedback system is used the information obtained remains subjective.

    As a result appraisal conversations often avoid the, until now, immeasurable results and remain focused on perceived measurable achievements and setting targets.  But what if you could measure such things as interpersonal skills, enthusiasm, ability to take initiative, team work, influencing skills, frankness, diplomacy, levels of self-acceptance, how well an employee handles autonomy – just a few of the 175 factors employers typically ask for but find it difficult to measure.  How much easier would an appraisal conversation be if employees were measured against such factors?  How much money could be saved in designing specific programmes that hit the mark for individuals and groups?  How quickly could a culture change if everyone knew what was expected of them in terms of working approach and attitude and they were continually working towards achieving this as well as the operational targets expected of them?

    Click on the image to view the HATS Behavioural Competency

    Harrison Assessments offer just this opportunity and we have been working with organisations who see the benefit of measuring in this way.  Here is just one example of how it is being used by an organisation which has just undergone a merger.


    A Real Example- Case study 1


    The newly merged organisation was looking to combine two distinctly different cultures very quickly.  The senior team of 25 people got together to brainstorm what an ‘outstanding’ organisation of its nature would look like.  They asked themselves the question ‘if this organisation was demonstrating outstanding practice what would that look like over and above operational excellence?’  They came up with 23 behavioural traits that they would like to see demonstrated by each and every employee.  We then mapped these onto a Harrison profile and came up with a list of traits with a relevant weighting.  They include 6 essential traits – takes initiative, enthusiasm, ability to influence, interpersonal skills, optimism and teamwork and 24 desirable traits including diplomacy, ability to handle autonomy, wants a challenge, receives correction, warmth and empathy and the ability to handle pressure.  There was also a list of 10 traits to avoid including rebellious autonomy, dogmatism, harshness and permissiveness.

    Gaining Buy In

    The profile was then presented to the next layer of management for discussion and buy-in.  They tested the system by completing the online questionnaire for themselves and discussing the results.   Once buy-in had been achieved the Harrison profile was incorporated into the appraisal form for every employee and it was time to roll out the programme.

    Rolling out the programme

    All managers were trained in using the new appraisal system which includes opportunities to discuss the various traits and their measurements.  This was an opportunity to re-inforce the importance of appraisals, teach skills where necessary and to develop the managers as role models.  Managers were now in a position to have conversations around such issues as an employee’s over frankness or their ability to handle stress for example.  These conversations may well have been avoided in the past because it could have been perceived as a subjective view.

    All employees in the organisation were then invited to complete the online questionnaire in preparation for their annual appraisal.  Change is measured from year to year in specific areas and development plans formulated as a result.

    The results

    • A focused workforce who know what is expected of them both operationally and in terms of behaviours and attitude.
    • Specific development plans for individuals saving valuable time and money.
    • Raised awareness of expectations. Having 6 essential traits to remember forms the foundation of the culture and knowing that they will be measured fairly against such traits gives people confidence in the system.

    Case study 2

    A large national public sector organisation wanted to be able to measure its prospective senior leaders against their own leadership competencies in preparation for their Aspiring Leaders programme.  We were able to map these across using the 175 factors available and the competencies were used as part of the assessment process for the programme.

    Harrison Assessments – The Background

    Harrison Assessments are used across the world and are accessible in 30 languages.  They are the result of 30 years research by Dan Harrison PhD who focuses on the link between results and the enjoyment factor.  It is well documented that people who enjoy what they do produce better results.  The assessments therefore take into account working preferences and cross match 175 factors.  There is a consistency regulator which prevents ‘fooling’ the system and profiles can be tailor made to fit the needs of individual organisations.  The system is using over 8,000 cross references thus ensuring a very high level of accuracy.

    For more information

    To find out more about measuring behavioural competencies and company values click here or call 0800 689 3761 or visit www.quadrant1.com