Make competences your ally in digital HR

Whenever the term “competence” is used, a painful grin runs over the face of many HR managers. How could a major HR nightmare become an advantage?

That competence manual at the bottom of your last drawer

Do you also remember the thick manual which cost your company a fortune and which has been catching dust ever since? After all, you can still hear a spooky story at an HR conference now and then. Like the one about an HR Director who had tried to put such a document into practice and whose career came to its untimely end after their hasty departure to the local emergency ward with a PTSD and their subsequent resignation. Nobody wants to take a risk like that, right?

Of course, this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately though, in many companies competencies have become some sort of public enemy or, at best, they were replaced with some new terms. In an effort to take a stance towards competencies as such, however, they often lose the original meaning or even become a hostage of balancing on the verge between seriousness and somewhat esoteric worldview.

How far it can get with applying a creative approach to "testing" canditates' prerequisites and skills, it is best described in the legendary Monty Python’s Flying Circus scene.

Competencies must get a second chance

Competences should be a close ally that brings a certain degree of objectivity and reliability into working with people. The work of HR professionals, mentors and L&D specialists can be simplified and improved by competence assessment and verification. You can’t control what you can’t measure. Measuring people's competencies is a powerful tool for their effective management.

What is necessary to get the competences back to their deserved place? We believe that secrets are hidden in making them understandable for all the stakeholders, their easy application in practice and, above all, in grounding the assessment on objective data.

Intuition works best with facts

We are all just people, and our subjectivity and emotions are an inseparable part of being in contact and working with others. However, that doesn’t mean that we should only rely on them. Most HR managers have already realized that they need to work with objective data in order to do their job well.

It seems to be clear to most of them that interviews with questions such as "How strong are you in customer orientation?" or "Do you think you know how to communicate effectively?" are getting them nowhere.

In fact, they didn’t find out what they needed even from the scale questionnaires that were considered "modern assessment" 10 years ago. The answers consisting mostly of “mostly yes /​ mostly no” choices, give you little more than a conclusion that average applicant is suitable for most positions after all (with the exception of a rocket scientist).

Therefore, HR professionals began to put their candidates and employees in situations where their competencies can actually be observed and measured. This has been done by organizing live assessment centers. The financial costs and time requirements associated with this method make it a real option just for a handful of top positions. In addition, the situation is further complicated by unclear boundaries (definitions) of individual competences.

The question remains unanswered for HR Managers: How to  get reliable data about people in a quick and economical way?

Simulations & Talent Decision Cloud. A new approach to measuring competencies

In Behavera, we have decided to find a clear answer to this question. We started to define and measure competencies in a completely new way - using simulation games.

What makes assessment centers and training days so attractive? It is the possibility to see a person act. It is not only difficult to organize such events but even more so to evaluate the outcomes objectively. By placing the person into a virtual environment (which is certainly not the actual reality, but its essential features can be imitated really well), you make the task of measuring behavior a simple routine. A simulation game can record and instantly evaluate all the participants’ actions to provide you with reliable behavioral data and participants with valuable feedback.


What competencies and performance indicators can be measured in simulations?

  • Independence

  • Numeracy

  • Problem solving

  • Information processing

  • Social desirability

  • Integrity

  • Self-​reflection

  • Customer orientation

  • Effective communication

  • Workpace


Using a simulation game people get "pulled" into action, learn new things, but most importantly it becomes possible to identify and develop their competencies. If these are clearly operationalized and measured with a population-​norm you don’t risk applying "a double standard".

The actual assessment of the competencies is carried out on tasks that are rudimentary for a spectrum of 21st century jobs, with an emphasis on organizing, prioritizing, communication and agility. All collected behavioral data can be easily read, filtered, displayed on interactive charts, and evaluated in the Talent Decision Cloud, your personal dashboard.

Our documents, photos and communication have moved into the cloud already. It is time to take some of our decision-​making there. The Talent Decision Cloud makes it considerably easier for you.


Keep a place for chaos in your order to let new ideas come.
Michal Zach, author of the article

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