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Competency System

Introduction

Terrace Safety strives to fit the right health and safety professionals to the right position with our clients. We endeavour to facilitate a mutualistic relationship that benefits both the professional and the client. For the professional: we produce a position that fits their abilities and yet offers professional growth. For the clients: we offer a professional that fits the job demands, fits the organizational culture and aids the organization in achieving their goals.

Consistent with our cornerstone values, we set out to develop a system that gives transparency, solutions and addresses competence in a new way. We strive to offer simplicity on the far side of competency complexity.

Welcome to Terrace Safety's competency system. This program exisits to create a clear language between employers, professionals, and service providers for the sake of candidate selection, competency assessment, and professional development.


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Architecture

The first step in an intelligent competency system is to define the competencies that have relevance for the job class. Generally speaking, there are three criteria for selecting valid competencies. First, the competencies must be aligned with the skills a professional needs to ensure an organization or a profession can achieve its goals, both short term and long term. Second, the competencies must support all intended applications including; candidate selection, professional development, performance management, and multisource feedback. Finally, it must be easy to use by all stakeholders.

With this understanding, we set out to create a formal arrangement of the specific competencies identified as important to a health and safety professional. This is known as the Health and Safety Professional Competency Architecture. With the hard skills in mind, we created the parent sections for Health & Safety Technical and Industry competencies. Moving toward the less quantifiable, we created parent sections for Leadership and Communication. On the soft side, we created sections for Interpersonal and Self-Discipline to give us a total of six competency parent sections.


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Type of Assessment

There is no fully-objective method for measuring a particular competency. There are several tools that can be used collectively to assess, but each by itself is limited. The best way to overcome the problems associated with each type of assessment strategies is to use as many high quality techniques as possible. When we add more assessment inputs from the professional, we gain more competency outputs for a more reliable overall measurement.

We weighed many different assessment techniques and chose the following four mechanisms for a well-rounded approach to testing competencies: Educational Accomplishment, Experiential Background, Tested Understanding and Multisource Feedback.


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Levels of Achievement

Competency systems typically include incremental proficiency scales as part of the overall competency structure. These scales reflect the amount of proficiency required by the organization or profession within a competency area. Incremental proficiency scales with consistent outputs serve two purposes: to facilitate planning and development for improvement within jobs/roles, and they allow for an accurate comparison between candidates. This is not only in terms of the competencies required, but also the proficiency levels needed.

The Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in students' understanding of subjects. The model consists of five levels of understanding:

  • Level 1: Pre-structural - The task is not undertaken withe the appropriate knowledge; the student has not really understood the concept. At this level the action an individual will take is to learn the subject.

  • Level 2: Uni-structural - The student's response only focuses on one relevant aspect. The corresponding action taken through Bloom's Taxonomy is remembering information.

  • Level 3: Multi-structural - The student's response focuses on several relevant aspects, but ther are treated independently and additively. Assessment of this level is primarily quantitative. An individual begins to understand and apply knowledge.

  • Level 4: Relational - The different aspects have become integrated into a coherent whole. At this level, an individual begins to evaluate and analyze information.

  • Level 5: Extended Abstract - The previous integrated whole may be conceptualized at a higher level of abstraction and generalised to a new topic or area. This is the level corresponding to the ability to create in Bloom's model.


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Scoring

A competency score is a piece of numeric data that conveys the proficiency level of a professional, making use of all the competency assessment techniques relative to each distinct tested competency. It is imperative that the scoring mechanism be consistent and accuratly reflect each of the domains that are being measured.

Report cards are provided for each assessed individual initially after two assessments are completed, and then updated as the individual completed each other assessment. A competency report card provides a simple view of the blended averages between assessment methods for each competency and parent group. These report cards aid in cadidate selection, personal development and career progression.


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Professional Development

Professional development is the process of improving and increasinf capabilities through education, training, mentorss, and other tools. Professional development is aided by competency based management through providing clear objectives where a professional has opportunities to develop further.

To steer our professionals to competency-grounded development that is aligned with their career ambitions and informed by opportunities realized through the competency assessment techniques, we employ a three step process. First, a directed visualization of where the professional want to take their career in the short and long term future. Starting with the end in mind allows planning the most direct development route. Second, we utilize competency assessment data to track the most significant opportunities to address deficient competencies relative to where the professional aspires to be. Finally, we make a plan based on specific development options aligned with particular competency targets and help the professional make a SMART plan (specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and time-bound).


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Advantages of Development

Continuing professional development is important because it ensures professionals continue to be competent in their profession. It is an ongoing process throughout a professional’s career. Well-crafted and continuing professional development is important because it delivers benefits to the individual, their profession and the employer. Professional development is the personal responsibility of individuals. They should see the importance of keeping their knowledge and skills current so that they can deliver the high quality of service that safeguards the public and meets the expectations of clients and the requirements of their profession.

Approaches professional development and opportunities can range from a single workshop to a semester long academic course. It can include services offered by a medley of professional development providers and varies widely in philosophy, content and format of the learning experiences. Some examples of approaches to professional development include: journal clubs, vendor-sponsored, education, coaching & mentoring, self-study, online development, professional associations, formal education, workshops & seminars, professional designations, value-added work assignments.


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Systemized Competencies

Terrace Safety has developed this program and created a web-based application for effective, systemized usage. The system automates many functions, keeps valuable data safe and organized and provides a simple dashboard view for professionals. The principals, theories and concepts have been programmed into the system so they do not need to be manually applied.

Stakeholders

The three primary stakeholder groups for this system are Terrace Safety, our professionals and our clients. Our professionals are responsible to participate in the program, complete the assessments and drive their professional development. We strive to ensure our clients are active participants and able to steer the specific development that will bring value to their organization.

Usage

Professionals will create a profile with a user name and password. They have two 15 minute surveys to complete regarding their educational accomplishments and experiential background. Once complete, the first competency report card becomes available to them. At this point, the final two assessment methods become available to the professional. Tested understanding is administered in person, by a subject matter expert and takes approximately three hours to complete. The assessment administrator, records the responses within the system and this immediately affects the professionals’ competency score and report card. At any point, the professional can add feedback participants who are automatically emailed a perception survey to provide valuable competency-based feedback. The feedback information is fed directly back to the system and affects the competency score as soon as it is completed. The scoring algorithms are automated and produce real-time results to the professional through the report card.

Talent Management

Terrace provides talent management for our professionals. We seek to meet each of them to create specific and tangible development plans that will help steer them toward their career ambitions. The competency system helps to maintain focus in the areas required to realize these goals. his system provides an extremely clear and easy to use interface.

Program Cycle

It is recommended that new professionals immediately complete their educational and experiential surveys to obtain their first reports card. For Terrace professionals, the understanding test will be completed within the first 60 days of employment. During this time the feedback assessment should be performed giving the complete competency picture. A development plan is started by the professional and then Terrace’s talent manager will meet with the professional to ensure they have the direction, resources and connections they require to achieve their professional development goals.

External Professionals

Professionals that do not work for Terrace Safety are welcome to use our web-based competency system to affect their development through accurate competency assessment and targeted development objectives. While our ability to offer a hands-on approach to their assessment and development is limited in this case, there is still significant value for external professionals.

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Summary

We aligned this system with our cornerstone values of being transparently organized, offering solutions orientation and leading competence.

This system seamlessly connects the competency architecture to the four assessment techniques, each adding value, while addressing levels of proficiency. It provides scoring algorithms for consistent measurement and leads professionals to an honest self-account as well as further development. It offers employers transparency regarding the abilities of the professionals they hire and gives them opportunity to ensure they have the right fit now and in the future. This competency system improves on the existing HR practice of reviewing an individuals’ past only. It delivers a view of their past via resume, present via competency reports and future via development plans creating a more holistic and complete approach to candidate selection and development.

Still Curious?

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