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Driving Success with HR Competency Assessments

How Competency Data Helped a Healthcare System Enhance Transformation

Given a constantly changing healthcare landscape and extreme demand, business leaders are looking to human resources (HR) to support the organization in new and innovative ways. Identification of the competencies needed to enable an HR team of the future and place the right people in the right roles to better support the organization has never been more critical.

ScottMadden’s HR Competency Builder is a comprehensive tool to equip HR leaders with essential data to identify proficiencies, gaps, and opportunities for improvement across the HR organization. It is a platform that provides the information needed to explore what people are good at, where their interests lie, and their opportunities for training and growth. It is especially useful for organizations during times of change or transformation or simply in pursuit of providing superior service to employees. Following is a summary of how one organization used the HR Competency Builder to assess its HR department and drive results.


A not-for-profit, academic healthcare system embarked on a journey to transform their HR department. As part of the transformation, HR leadership wanted to promote individual development, while matching competencies to the right roles across the department.

The Challenge

The healthcare system’s 15,000+ employees provide world-class healthcare to more than one million people each year in their community and beyond. Given their move to a new HR operating model, and to better serve its managers and employees, HR leadership realized it needed to align roles to meet growing expectations.

To set their team up for success, HR leadership engaged ScottMadden to assess the current HR staff and identify professional development opportunities. The goal was to efficiently and effectively identify the competencies critical to future success according to priorities, seniority level, and other necessary criteria.

The HR Competency Builder identified the role of the HR Business Partner (HRBP) as an area of opportunity for role alignment and competency development in the transition to a new HR operating model. Armed with the assessment results, HR leadership and HRBPs were presented with a tremendous opportunity to discuss, plan for, and develop the competencies necessary for success.

How We Helped

Customizing the Assessment

Beginning with nine HR competencies as defined by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), ScottMadden collaborated with leaders to refine the HR Competency Builder assessment questions and identify key competencies based on career levels. Additionally, we developed a robust communications strategy to support the effort and allay any anxiety. This included drafting talking points explaining the importance of the assessment and providing managers with recommendations for crucial discussions with their direct reports. Clarity, transparency, and incorporating the fundamentals of change management were critical to a successful deployment.

Figure 1: The HR Competency Builder Process

HR Competency Builder Process

A 360-Degree View: Identifying Gaps and Opportunities

Our 360-degree approach involved peer, manager, and self-assessment ratings to enhance the accuracy of the survey results and provide a holistic view of varying perspectives across the organization. This approach provided another data point for the client as we analyzed the perceptions across the HR department.
Actionable Data: Planning the Work, Working the Plan

ScottMadden provided HR leadership with a detailed analysis of the strengths, opportunities, and organizational gaps. Additionally, participants received a customized report highlighting their unique strengths and opportunities across the nine competencies. Finally, ScottMadden worked closely with client-led teams to prepare managers to discuss assessment results with employees and develop plans to address the opportunities.


Using the HR Competency Builder, our client obtained data needed to align employees to new, future state roles as part of the new HR operating model. Additionally, the assessment results were a significant input into the individual development plans that would guide the future of the HR department.

To address the skill set gaps identified within the survey results, HR leaders enhanced the organization’s professional development initiatives—including individual development plans and areas of broad development for HR as a department. In summary, the process:

HR developmental process

If you are focusing on building the right competencies for your organization or are working to navigate the transformation of your HR department, contact ScottMadden to discuss your specific needs across the spectrum and how we might design a customized approach. Learn more about our three-step HR Competency Builder today to build your foundation for success at a strategic and tactical level.

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Contributing Authors

Brad Cauthen Director
Jonathan Luk Director

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