Capability Frameworks provide a common foundation for you to improve and integrate your recruitment, role definition, performance development, and workforce planning processes. Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Capability Framework is rising in popularity as a means for local councils to achieve their workforce development goals. We understand that this golden future can be difficult to achieve.
Through our work we’ve seen the pitfalls organisations fall into, and organisations that have put it into the ‘Later’ (too hard) basket. So, we’ve developed the INS Capability Framework Implementation Roadmap. Our approach breaks down this process into four manageable steps for your peace of mind.
Step 1. Prepare
Preparation is key to articulating how the Capability Framework will benefit your council. One major aspect of this is developing a communications plan as it is crucial in you gaining organisational support. Adopting the Capability Framework will take time, resources and money. By developing a communications plan, you can ensure key stakeholders have the information they need.
Since implementing the Framework requires substantial resources, you need management to buy-in. To achieve this, it is important to first identify the need for the Capability Framework in your council. Where is your council now? And where do you want it to be? This analysis allows you to design how this gap will be bridged. Mapping this gap will guide your council’s implementation approach. In this process you should also consider timing points that may impact the implementation process, such as upcoming council elections.
Next, you need to design the implementation process. This allows a clear understanding of what resources are needed and when. This process will assist with budget projections.
All aspects of the prepare phase will help you form a business case for your management team. This business case should indicate the issues faced by your council, what will happen if nothing changes, and then propose high-level changes that offer early benefits. An estimate of timing and costs should be included, as well as an indication of what resources are available. The management team will benefit from ball-park timing figures for each stage of the process. You need to make sure that all key stakeholders are identified, especially individuals in positions of authority or with social influence.
LGNSW have a comprehensive implementation management guide available. This guide will help you gain stakeholder support, and develop an effective implementation plan. INS have developed a Capability Framework workshop which will guide you through the entire planning process.
Step 2. Engage staff
As you’ll know, communication is key to engaging staff. You must put communications, support, and Learning & Development plans in place to ensure employees are aware of organisational changes. This engagement should occur at the beginning of the implementation process. You need to first determine which employees need to be engaged, how to engage them, and when. To help you navigate this change management process, consider our Successful Change Management Model.
The first four steps of the model indicate the communications aspect of engaging staff. Employees need to be aware of the Capability Framework implementation process. By indicating what the changes are, and how they will impact employees, you will provide a basis for acceptance within the organisation.
The final step is structuring the environment of your workplace so that the changed behaviour activates and sticks. We recommend that you create a template with key stakeholders that details the communications plan and change management process. For more clarity on how this template should look, the LGNSW Implementation and Change Management Guide will be useful. This ensures stakeholders are equipped to implement the changes, and that the adoption sticks. Learning & Development plans involving workshops and coaching are also beneficial to realising your workplace’s ability to make these changes.
Step 3. Update Position Descriptions
Meaningful use of the Capability Framework comes about when it’s incorporated correctly into position descriptions. This provides the basis for capability-based recruitment, performance development, as well as capability and career planning.
Your council will need to adapt your position descriptions across the board when implementing the Capability Framework. Updating position descriptions can be a lengthy process. We have developed a tailored approach to these updates.
Tip: pilot this with a smaller business unit and incorporate feedback from the pilot into a rolling implementation throughout your organisation.
Adopting and adapting to the Capability Framework is important. Old position descriptions should be adapted, not thrown out unless the position has substantially changed or the original was not meaningful. It is important to note that updating position descriptions should not be completed at the same time as redesigning positions. First, adopt the framework, and then adapt future development processes accordingly. LGNSW has developed a position description guide, which provides an example of what position descriptions should look like.
Chances are your staff don’t write position descriptions often and will benefit from training through this process. Other resources can assist, like LGNSW’s ‘PD in a Box’ portal which helps your staff assess their capabilities to create a development plan.
Step 4. Integrate into workforce practices
Once you’ve laid the foundation from the first three steps, you’re ready to integrate the Capability Framework into the main workforce processes.
Updating your council’s recruitment and on-boarding process is the easiest way to get value from the Capability Framework. This integration means that you can increase the talent pool available to your council. At present, position descriptions in the public sector are complicated as they are task-based. This can be off-putting for individuals applying for public sector roles. By moving towards capability-based position descriptions, individuals can understand what is required of them, and if they have the capabilities necessary to be successful in a role.
Integrating the Capability Framework into recruitment practices will decrease the amount of time you’ll spend trying to fill a role by opening up the potential talent pool. INS uses work based capability assessments to test candidates in real-world tasks prior to recruitment. This allows you to accurately estimate candidates’ success in a role prior to hiring. It’s important to train your HR and Hiring Managers so they hire with capabilities in mind. Otherwise they will resort to non-capability focused recruitment methods.
Performance (capability and career development)
The focus of performance management these days is on performance development. That is, providing regular and timely performance feedback, and capability and career development opportunities, rather than waiting until there is a problem to address.
Contemporary employers value engagement, and do this partly by helping their employees develop their career journey. In turn, employees are more engaged as these opportunities make their work more meaningful. Through these opportunities, employees build their capabilities or skills, and good performance is a result. Using the behaviours in the capability framework as the standard for acceptable and excellent performance makes it easier to provide useful feedback, and to set performance goals.
INS can help you integrate the Framework into your performance development process and align it to capability and career development. This nexus of development processes underpinned by the capability framework gives you the maximum opportunity set for people performance.
Capability Frameworks provide a common foundation for you to improve workforce planning. This allows you to align organisational goals to employee goals. Councils use workforce planning to ensure they can meet their needs and objectives by understanding what capabilities they need.
Mobility and transition
Managing employees and providing assistance to prepare them for new opportunities is critical to the successful implementation of any restructure. When done well, mobility and transition could see you keep good people, maintain the investment, and keep the knowledge your people hold.
Mobility and transition benefit employees by supporting career and capability development. This broadens skills, facilitates knowledge sharing, and supports collaboration. Helping your staff develop through mobility programs keeps them engaged, retains talent, and creates a workforce adaptive to change.
Now over to you
The INS Capability Framework Implementation Roadmap, while it has a long name, provides a simple but powerful approach to getting results out of the capability framework. And it incorporates the lessons we’ve learnt from other organisations from their implementations.
While each step seems simple, it can take some work to navigate the detail and produce the results required. Some organisations are able to undertake this themselves, while others reach out for unnecessary expertise to assist. Choose for yourself whether you have the internal resources to make this journey, or need external assistance.
We understand LGNSW’s Local Government Capability Framework – we teach it! And we understand the benefits a successful implementation will have for your council. If you would like to explore how we can help, contact us today.
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