Sometimes we get a little too close to competency management – it is what we do, after all – so we have a hard time imagining healthcare organizations NOT using job competencies or doing competency validation. But at the same time, we realize competency management in healthcare is fairly new, so we recently dug a little deeper to understand how hospitals and healthcare organizations are using them, some of the most significant benefits, and the reasons many companies still aren’t using them.

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Some of the findings were very interesting:

    • The practice of competency management is fairly new. Many organizations aren’t using them yet, or if they are, they’ve only been using them for three-five years.

    • A competency management system is an effective business tool. Healthcare organizations of all sizes have had great success using job competencies to improve candidate selection, training and development, and even the entire performance-appraisal process.

    • The benefits are clear – and significant. Organizations report better hiring results and reduced costs; improved insight into what’s needed to maintain the competencies via training development; and a newfound ability to measure employee performance (as opposed to vague job descriptions).

    • Most significantly, they report an increase in overall organizational performance, which in the case of healthcare, usually means better patient care.

So if competency management is such a slam dunk, why aren’t more healthcare organizations using it? Here are some reasons as identified by Development Dimensions International (as detailed in their Job/Role Competency Practices Survey Report):

    • 54% of participants indicated that the time and expense associated with competency management is the main reason.

    • 41% cited a lack of strategy on the part of the entire organization for using job competencies.

    • One of the other most common factors was an inability to align competencies with larger organizational strategies.

All are valid concerns and very real in this economic time. Like any other business approach, competency management requires vision, patience, and support – at all stages – to help make it a success.


But with so many potential benefits associated with competency management, the question remains: what’s your competency management strategy?

About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.