Knowledge Center

Definitions for the Building Capabilities Area

Operational – Overseeing the functioning and activities of teams, departments or divisions. The total employee life cycle is examined, assessed and nurtured.

Each competency within the Building Capabilities area can aid in achieving:

  • professional and personal bests
  • stakeholder buy-in, acceptance and value
  • team, institution and community results

At any given time, proficiency for each competency will fall at some point along the outer ring of the framework: Awareness, Application, Mastery, Influence.

The following competency definitions are offered as a guide and are to be used in conjunction with your institution's interpretation of how these competencies can be applied on your campus. 

Identify, Recruit and Onboard Talent
  • Maintains an awareness of the talent needed throughout the institution.
  • Remains current as to the available pool and compensation/benefits,
  • Develops creative ways of attracting talent as well as developing talent internally.
  • Employs a clear understanding of organizational culture to maximize talent fit with the institution
  • Develops workforce and succession plans in order to assess current and future needs.
  • Develops strategies to retain talent.
  • Uses an onboarding process to fully acclimate an individual to the institution’s culture and processes, and describes how individual contributions constructively impact the institution.
Performance Management
  • Understands the purpose and direction of the institution so that HR programs and activities are supportive thereof.
  • Effectively communicates institutional goals and vision in order to build shared commitment
  • Designs a performance management system that assesses employee understanding of and demonstrated performance toward mission and that ties in with performance goals.
  • Knows the importance of tracking performance and offering continuous feedback.
  • Uses coaching techniques to focus on strengths (and does not use performance management solely for correcting behaviors).
Succession Planning
  • Employs demand-driven strategies (forecasting who will need to fill the role not as the role is today, but based on what the role will need to accomplish in the future) to not only achieve institution and HR strategic goals, but also fill critical future vacancies.
  • Anticipates shifting leadership roles and how to fill them amid ever-evolving leadership landscapes and expectations.
  • Understands who is involved in the current talent pool, when anticipated retirements will take place, and how to update succession planning practices based on future needs.
Cultural Architect and Steward
  • Identifies or proposes an organizational culture.
  • Develops programs to communicate, maintain and operationalize that culture.
  • Recognizes inclusivity, being an employer of choice, how to create a diverse talent pool, and how to create conditions that enable employees to perform at their very best.
  • Changes the environment and nature of work because it's necessary.
Change Management
  • Understands and values the need for change and is open to new ideas and encourages others to value change.
  • Often leads and assists others in change management discussions and processes.
  • Proactively plans for challenges associated with business process redesign, transformation and change management efforts.
  • Proposes new approaches, methods and technologies for institutional progress and success.
  • Assesses the readiness for change of people and institutions prior to implementing any change activities.
  • Assesses overall change management impact, which can include achieving mission goals and employee responses to change.
  • Articulates a compelling vision for change, determines institution readiness for change, and incorporates a change plan based on the institution readiness assessment.

From Ulrich, HR professionals play two critical roles in the change process. Initiating change means that HR professionals build a case for why change matters, overcome resistance to change, engage key stakeholders in the process of change, and articulate the decisions to start change. By sustaining change, HR professionals institutionalize change through institutional resources, institution structure, communication, and continual learning. And as change champions, HR professionals partner to create institutions that are agile, flexible, responsive, and able to make transformation happen.

HR Operations
  • Has knowledge of key higher ed HR operations and functions.
  • Understands how HR relates to and supports the institutional mission and goals.
  • Fosters and leads HR innovation.
  • Adapts to new or unfamiliar roles and environments.
  • Displays a passion for and understanding of domestic and foreign cultures – both institution cultures and cultures of individuals.