10 Jul

As a full-service HR firm, we had the internal capabilities to navigate the organization through the reorganization and then to design the competencies and capabilities required for future “Mission Moments.”


Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana, RMHCCIN, had experienced high turnover after two leadership transitions.  When a new team arrived, they found that the organization lacked clarity on how to interview, what to look for in candidates, and how to ensure success in a new role. In addition, and in the height of the pandemic, they had drifted away from their core service offerings. The organization needed to eliminate programs that were not fundamental to their mission to focus on delivering the best service in their two main programs. To do this, a restructuring of their entire organization was needed. 

Phase 1: Restructure and Realign 

Up until the pandemic the organization had run with about 20 staff members and a couple hundred volunteers.  When the volunteers could no longer come in, special events had to be cancelled. The organization realized it had been splintered and it needed to concentrate on its two main areas and focus on doing these two things well. To do this, the organization needed to restructure. 

Deep End Talent Strategies examined what skill sets were needed in the new structure. Changing the way programming was administered meant roles needed to be redefined and the alignment of responsibilities needed to change. After a thoughtful analysis, two new roles were created, and two positions were eliminated. 

Phase 2: Competencies and Capabilities for the Future 

With the structure reset and redefined, Deep End Talent Strategies then began identifying the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) required for each new and remaining role, as well as the competencies required for success. Organizational values were and remain well known and understood. Part of our mission was to complement those with competencies and capabilities and work to bring the same keen awareness to the behaviors that will drive future success. Phase 2 would have implications for selection, learning and development, performance management, career advancement, and total rewards. A change of this magnitude has far reaching impact on culture and engagement, then directly impacts the guest experience and mission. 


The Director of Operations position was vacant and selected as a pilot for our approach to Naming, Framing, Aiming, and Claiming approach.


We crafted a critical role profile to understand the expectations for the Director of Operations role as perceived by leadership, Board members, “customers” at Riley Hospital for Children, volunteers, donors, peers, direct reports, and individual contributors in other departments. Some stakeholders were interviewed for their input, and others completed an online survey where we gathered: 

  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Soft skills expectations
  • Upstream and downstream impacts
  • What it should feel like to work with someone in this role

Seven key competencies emerged because of the stakeholder analysis; those competencies were then defined/framed. 


Next, we crafted an updated job description including the seven identified competencies. The critical element of Framing is to define the competencies with specific, observable behaviors that can be translated into situational behavioral interviewing questions, performance management conversation, development planning content, and learning goals. 


With each of the required competencies defined and a new job description, an engaging job ad was placed to recruit for this vacant position. In parallel, the Deep End Talent Strategies team wrote situational and behavioral interview questions and conducted interviewing training with the leadership team participating in the recruitment process to ensure the selection was directly aligned with the newly named and framed success factors. We call this Aiming when all parties know and agree on the knowledge, skills, abilities, and capabilities that candidates need to demonstrate in the interviewing process and to be successful in the role. 


The new Director of Operations was also the first application of our new self-assessment to gauge current proficiency in the required competencies and areas for focused training and development planning. We call this stage Claiming by which the employee accepts accountability for their expectations and shared responsibility for development and continual improvement. 

Phase 3: Institutionalize the Approach 

The pilot was successful, and work began to repeat the process for all other roles on the new organizational chart (from Phase 1). To avoid survey fatigue, we were quite judicious in determining who should weigh in on the requirements and what success looks like in each of the remaining positions. A workshop scenario is a great alterative approach to a survey where all stakeholders can be available to collaborate. In this case, participants were internal and external across different shifts, making in-person feedback gathering challenging. Once surveys were complete, we met with each department head to review our findings and recommendations. 

The synthesis of our work across all positions resulting in a competency model of 9 possible competencies defined generally for Individual Contributors, Managers, and Directors. All employees have expectations defined for 5 core competencies. Some Individual Contributors have expectations around a 6th or 7th competency. Managers and Directors have 6-9 competencies by role. With the framework complete, the work was carried forward into the following deliverables. We also partnered with the leadership team to conduct an organizational rollout meeting and written materials. 

  • Updated Job Descriptions
  • With competency definitions
  • Bank of over 200 interview questions by competency and skill set
  • Interview Guide Template
  • Competency Self-Assessment
  • Competency Development Job Aids
  • Individual Development Plan Template

Phase 4: Revamp Performance Management 

The organization was using an annual performance review process, on paper, with a rating scale that did not tie into compensation directly nor did it align with the new competency model. The Deep End team led the leadership team through a series of workshops to revamp the performance review process. As a result, the organization moved to three less formal check-ins each year with a conversation (no ratings) on goals and competencies – an even, two-way dialogue on WHAT the employee is doing and HOW they are achieving their goals. There are no ratings in the program. Instead, we coached the leadership team through how to calibrate performance, merit increases, and bonus allocations seeking consistency across the organization. 

By continuing to talk about how employees are displaying the new competencies, they are deepening everyone’s understanding of the competencies, keeping behaviors and capabilities top of mind, finding consistency across the organization, and driving equity in total rewards.

Phase 5: Learning and Development 

Without performance ratings, employees and managers aren’t arguing over percentage points and are instead having real conversations about areas for growth and development. The competency self-assessment is used by all new hires and existing employees at least annually. The Deep End team built a job aid for each competency with a variety of suggested books for self or group study, online learning content, publicly available videos, formal training, and on the job activities. 

In addition, we gathered all the competency assessments and found themes that informed training and development budgets, external/formal training, technical training, and internal workshops or knowledge sharing. 

RMHCCIN has asked Deep End Talent Strategies to continue consolidating and reviewing annual competency assessments to prepare learning and development strategies that will lead to more Mission Moments for years to come. 

Read more Case Studies of our the Deep End team has partnered with organizations for HR and talent management efforts.