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Development of Competency Models

The importance of competency models in an organization is the following:

- it provides a structured mechanism to implement a career map for the employees
- it provides a transparent system empowering employees to scale new heights
- enables the human resources management function to assess employees in a scientific manner

The development of competency models is based on the goals and objectives of the organization, and the business that the organization is in. In a broad sense the competencies can be divided into two types, viz. core competency and role specific competency. The core competencies are those that are needed by all employees. For instance, initiative and drive might by a core competency for each employee in the organization.

While doing a competency modelling for an organization, key stakeholders are invited to participate in brainstorming sessions. Typically the lead to define competencies is taken by the human resources department. The strategic marketing provides inputs on the competencies that would provide the organization a competitive edge. The delivery team provides inputs on the gaps they experience during project execution. The brainstorming and debate session helps in crystallizing the competencies that the stakeholders perceive to be important.

The competency model defines the core and specific competencies required for the role that the employee is performing. The competencies thus defined are further classified as mandatory or primary competency areas. Each competency defines the behavioural aspects that demonstrate the level of competency in the individual.

The primary competency areas are those which are considered mandatory to performing the job. In additional to primary competencies, an employee can adopt additional competencies for the next role in her career plan. Each competency is normally associated with a threshold level for each job. For instance, a competency called communication skills can have different expectations for different roles. The skills required by a member of the executive management as compared to a middle level management is very likely to be different, even thought the competency area remains the same. Thus while developing a competency model it is essential to have different levels according to the role performed.

Like any process, the competency model needs to be evolved through implementation, feedback and incorporating changes. Therefore it is important to measure employees’ performance depending upon the competencies identified for their role. The feedback on the system itself should be taken by the supervisors and managers who are the practitioners of the system. An integral part of the system is also to ensure that the model changes with changing times. Periodically, task forces should be set up to evaluate and conclude on the relevance of the competencies identified.

Competency modelling is the first step in implementing a transparent and fair system for employee evaluation and progression. A good competency modelling is critical for doing an effective employee evaluation and for doing a career planning for the employees. The defined competencies and threshold levels when communicated to the employees, it empowers them. The top performers relish the fact that they have control over their career in the organization and that the system is fair and transparent. Thus it motivates them to go the extra mile.

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