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

Competencies
  • 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.
Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Is aware about strategies to attract, recruit and attain talent; knows about the onboarding process
  • Understands the need for and the development of workforce and succession plans

Application

  • Understands the importance of pulling together strategies that benefit the institution and recruit; uses onboarding practices to build expertise and confidence for new hires
  • Aware of talent needs throughout the institution and applies to recruitment and retention processes

Mastery

  • Builds institution recruitment processes and emphasizes the “people” aspect of the process; develops onboarding practices that empathize with new hire needs
  • Accurately assesses the strengths and limitations of people; acts on talent strategies per culture, climate and institution fit.

Influence

  • Institutional influence in how top talent is recruited and retained; brings out the best in talent; sees future talent needs
  • Knows how to bring everyone onboard to the recruitment efforts and adjust where necessary; considers overall institutional culture for processes
Sample Interview Questions

Review the Recruitment section for other, related interview questions. 

  • What was your biggest mistake in hiring someone? What happened? How did you deal with the situation?
  • What was your biggest success in hiring someone? What did you do?
  • Describe your methodology for assessing the strengths and limitations of people for the purpose of matching the talent to the task. Tell me how you applied your methodology to a specific situation.
  • Describe a situation that exhibits your skill to consider the overall organizational culture when assessing individual talent.
  • Share with me a situation that demonstrates your skill to accurately assess the strengths and limitations of people, and then leverage their strengths and mitigate their limitations.

Performance Management

Competencies
  • 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).
Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Knows about the performance management processes; knows about tracking progress
  • Understands purpose of it and knows about the training/resources to assist with performance management practices

Application

  • Effectively communicates the goals that pair up with the institutional goals in order to build shared commitment
  • Knows the importance of tracking; coaches others through techniques; offers continuous feedback

Mastery

  • Designs layout of the system that tracks individual alignment with department and institution goals; sets the goals and vision
  • Analyzes performance management results for continuous improvement purposes; builds the coaching techniques

Influence

  • Influences the type of performance management techniques used
  • Influences coaching techniques for entire campus community
Sample Interview Questions
  • Describe how you have handled a staff member whose work is not up to expectations?
  • How do you handle performance reviews? Tell me about a difficult one. How often do you discuss a subordinate’s performance with him/her? Give an example.
  • Tell us about a specific development plan that you created and carried out with one or more of your employees. What was the specific situation? What were the components of the development plan? What was the outcome?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to take disciplinary action with someone you supervised.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to tell a staff member that you were dissatisfied with his or her work.
  • When do you give positive feedback to people? Tell me about the last time you did. What did you share with them, and what was their response?
  • Give an example of how you handle the need for constructive criticism with an employee or peer.
  • Provide us the steps to build out an effective performance management process. What would be needed to make it effective?
  • Tell us about a time you had to convince an institution/organization about the performance management process and procedures. What did you feel was most important to share and why? What was the result? What would you do differently if given the chance to do a do over?

Succession Planning

Competencies
  • 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.
Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Knows about the current talent pool and succession planning practices to use
  • Understands the purpose of the practices and knows about the training/resources to assist with them

Application

  • Effectively communicates succession planning goals; knows how to fill anticipated empty positions
  • Knows the importance of and uses demand-driven strategies and aids others in implementing them

Mastery

  • Builds institution recruitment processes and emphasizes the “people” aspect of the process; develops onboarding practices that empathize with new hire needsDesigns the practices based on future needs; tracks all current and future planning data; coaches others in implementing succession planning practices
  • Analyzes practices for continuous improvement

Influence

  • Influences the type of techniques used
  • Influences techniques for entire campus community
Sample Interview Questions
  • How do you view succession planning for your team/department? For others’ team/department?
  • What steps are needed to ensure a proper and effective succession plan is built out for your employees and others on campus?
  • How have you identified the roles and expectations required for your succession plan that will benefit the institution’s long-term strategy?
  • When do you know when it’s time to: develop talent internally or look externally to fill a needed position?
  • How do you find the time to prioritize the work needed to construct a succession plan – for your department and other departments on campus?
  • What type of HR data is necessary to build out an effective succession plan?
  • Provide us a few examples of the types of questions you ask yourself when building out a succession plan (ex. How many people will be leaving – both voluntarily and involuntarily – over the next five to seven years? What skill sets will those employees who are leaving take with them? Will we recruit externally or promote from within to fill those gaps? What’s going on outside the institution that could affect recruiting essential employees? Where will our team/institution be in three to five years, and what does that mean for the type of people we will need to recruit? What type of training opportunities do we need to provide to ensure our current employees develop the skills we need?)
  • How does the institution’s workforce culture play a factor in building a successful strategic plan?

Cultural Architect and Steward

Competencies
  • 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.
Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Understands the importance of shaping team culture and adapts accordingly
  • Asks about/Is learning how culture aligns with team and institution strategies

Application

  • Aids in the shaping of team culture and understands the importance of acting on shaping institutional culture
  • Aids in achieving team and institution strategies and objectives.

Mastery

  • Socializes team and other institution staff which in turn increases employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Aids others when conflict others — aids in resolution

Influence

  • Influences productive problem-solving methods for change and due to conflict to change
  • Influences how current and future institutional culture will be; maintains accountability for the overall well-being by operating in service, rather than in control of those around them
Sample Interview Questions
  • Tell us about a time when you had to adapt to a wide variety of people by accepting/understanding their perspective.
  • What measures have you taken to make someone feel comfortable in an environment that was obviously uncomfortable with his or her presence?
  • Describe ways in which you’ve helped others discover meaning in their work to increase their performance and align with team/institution strategies.
  • In what ways have you contributed to the improved satisfaction with staff, faculty or students. What methods were used? And what was the result?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to discuss an upcoming change in team or institutional process and an individual or team expressed concern or acted out? What was the result of your discussion? What would you do differently during the discussion?
  • Describe ways in which you’ve successfully helped to shape a team or institution’s culture? What have you done that was unsuccessful? 

 

Change Management

Competencies
  • 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.

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. (Excerpt from Dave Ulrich's HR Model and description of Change Champion)

Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Understands and values the need for change and is open to new ideas; understands general steps of implementing change
  • Asks about change management practices and how they work.

Application

  • Understands and values the need for change and is open to new ideas and encourages others to value change; Proposes new approaches, methods and technologies for institutional progress and success.
  • Sees the vision for change; can articulate the need for change to others and how change works

Mastery

  • Often successfully leads and assists others in change management discussions and processes; aids in the change management efforts outside own department; publishes resources on how to navigate change
  • Sees the vision for change, determines institution readiness for change and incorporates a change plan

Influence

  • Influences change management at the institution level; aids in squelching trepidation and the resistance that follows
  • Valued as a trusted individual to navigate change with ease and confidence
Sample Interview Questions
  • Describe a situation in which you had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • Detail a time in which you had to [quickly] adapt to a difficult situation. What was it? And how were you able to get through it?
  • Through examples, convince us that you can adapt to a wide variety of people, situations and environments.
  • Sometimes it is essential that we break out of the routine, standardized way of doing things in order to complete the task. Give an example of when you were able to successfully develop such a new approach.
  • Describe how you would obtain buy-in from others while making major changes in how the department operates.

HR Operations

Competencies
  • 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.
Proficiency Level

Awareness

  • Asks about / is learning unique characteristics of the HR operations
  • Understands how HR relates to and supports the institutional mission and goals

Application

  • Able to recognize key HR operations beyond own responsibilities; follows through with own responsibilities with little to no support
  • Ties role to how it supports team and institutional mission and goals

Mastery

  • Fosters and leads HR innovative efforts; reviews current practices and challenges what they should be in the future
  • Moves perception of operations beyond only transactional and emphasizes HR as trusting and strategic, too

Influence

  • Influences not only HR operations but assists in evolving other institution operations and practices
  • Interpreting data, leads innovative practices for present and future operations – for team and beyond
Sample Interview Questions
  • Describe your last job working in human resources. What was unique about your role?
  • Describe the last time working in a human resources team. What was unique about this team?
  • In what ways have past HR departments differed from this one? In what ways would you contribute to the overall operations of it?
  • In what ways has your role contributed to HR’s support of the institutional goals? How did you ensure that the HR goals were related to the institutional goals and were carried out successfully?
  • Describe how you’ve seen HR evolve over the past decade [two decades]. In what ways has it changed your view of HR? In what ways have you assisted in changing views of [other] leaders -within or outside of the HR department?
  • Describe what it means to be a trusted and strategic advisor.
  • Tell us about a time in which you helped other departments see HR as transformative and transactional? What was the result? And in looking back, what would you say or do differently?