Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Service Gm Hr
1st November 2005
Generic competencies are the competencies required across all functions (& sometimes all levels of hierarchy). e.g could be communication, teamwork.
functional competencies are the competencies required to excel in a particular function at a particular level. (E.g. could be knowledge in JAVA programming for a software programmer)
Assessment centres & development centres are based on the competencies mapped for a particular position in an organization. generally these competencies are a mix of generic & function specific competencies. the Competency Framework is defined for each competency on 1-5 scale in which characteristics of each level are defined in detail. based on this framework, the participants are assessed using different tools such as Role Plays, Business Presentations, Behavioural Event Interviews, GDs etc by the asessors. With the observations, a participant is mapped with the desired Vs Actual level of competencies.
when these observations are purely used to rank the participants for promotions etc this exercise is called Assessment Centre. when these observations are used to identify the training & development needs for the participant this exercise is called Development Centre.
13th May 2006 From India, Mumbai
Competency has two relevant meanings- First, addresses the ability of an individual to perform effectively and Second is a definition of what is required of an individual, for effective performance.
When the competencies can be used?
The use of competencies can include: assement during recruitment, through specific work-based exercises and relevant, validated, psychometric tests; assement during further development; as a profile during assessment to guide future development needs; succession planning and promotion; organisational development analysis etc.
A competency model is a set of success factors, often called competencies that include the key behaviors required for excellent performance in a particular role. Excellent performers on-the-job demonstrates these behaviors much more consistently than average or poor performers.
Competencies include behaviors that demonstrates excellent performance. They do not include knowledge, but they do include "applied" knowledge or the behavioral application of knowledge that produces success. Also, the competencies include the manifestation of skills that produce success. Competencies are not work motives, they include observable behaviors, related to motives.
The competency model is important because it provides a "road map" for the range of behaviors that produce excellent performance. It helps companies to "raise the bar" of performance expectations; teams and individuals align their behavior with key organisational strategies; and each employee understands how to achieve expected performance standards.
Competency model can be developed through a process of clarifying the business strategy and determining how the models would be used ( e.g. recruitment and selection, assessment, performance management, training and development, and career development). Then, data is gathered by structured interviews. Then, data is analyzed and used to develop models of success criteria. THen, validation surveys are administered and models refined based on feedback. Finally, models are finalized and translated into appropriate, end-user tools and applications.
1st March 2008 From India, Mumbai
Competency mapping is important and is an essential exercise. Every well managed firm should: have well defined roles and list of competencies required to perform each role effectively.
The competency framework serves as the bedrock for all HR applications. As a result of competency mapping, all the HR processes like talent induction, management development, appraisals and training yield much better results.
1.2. Meanings and Definitions
1.2.1. What is a competency? Competency as a cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, skills and other personal characteristics that: -
• Affects a major part of one’s job
• Correlates with performance on the job
• Can be measured against well-accepted standards
• Can be improved via training and development
(Source: Scott Parry 1998, Project Management Competency Development Framework, PMI)
Competencies in organizations tend to fall into two broad categories:
Personal Functioning Competencies: These competencies include broad success factors not tied to a specific work function or industry (often focusing on leadership or emotional intelligence behaviors).
- Functional/Technical Competencies: These competencies include specific success factors within a given work function or industry.
1.2.2. Competency Profiling and Competency Mapping
What is Competency Profiling?
Competency profiling is the process of identifying the knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and judgment required for effective performance in a particular occupation or profession.
Competency profiling is business/company specific.
What is competency mapping?
Competency mapping is the process of identification of the competencies required to perform successfully a given job or role or a set of tasks at a given point of time. It consists of breaking a given role or job into its constituent tasks or activities and
identifying the competencies (technical, managerial, behavioral, conceptual knowledge, an attitudes, skills, etc.) needed to perform the same successfully
Definition by “McClelland”
“Competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to criterion referenced effective and/or superior performance in a job or a situation.”
1.2.3. What is a Competency Model?
A competency model is an organizing framework that lists the competencies required for
effective performance in a specific job, job family (e.g., group of related jobs), organization, function, or process. Individual competencies are organized into competency models to enable people in an organization or profession to understand, discuss, and apply the competencies to workforce performance.
The competencies in a model may be organized in a variety of formats. No one approach is inherently best; organizational needs will determine the optimal framework. A common approach is to identify several competencies that are essential for all employees and then identify several additional categories of competencies that apply only to specific subgroups. Some competency models are organized according to the type of competency, such as leadership, personal effectiveness, or technical capacity. Other models may employ a framework based on job level, with a basic set of competencies for a given job family and additional competencies added cumulatively for each higher job level within the job family.
1.3. History of Competencies
David McClelland the famous Harvard Psychologist has pioneered the competency movement across the world. His classic books on "Talent and Society", "Achievement Motive", "The Achieving Society", "Motivating Economic Achievement" and "Power the Inner Experience" brought out several new dimensions of the competencies. These competencies exposed by McClelland dealt with the affective domain in Bloom's terminology. The turning point for competency movement is the article published in American Psychologist in 1973 by McClelland titled where in he presented data that traditional achievement and intelligence scores may not be able to predict job success and what is required is to profile the exact competencies required to perform a given job effectively and measure them using a variety of tests. This article combined with the work done by Douglas Brey and his associates at AT&T in the US where in they presented evidence that competencies can be assessed through assessment centers an on the job success can be predicted to
some extent by the same has laid foundation for popularization of the competency movement.
Latter McBer a Consulting Firm founded by David McClelland and his associate Berlew have specialized in mapping the competencies of entrepreneurs and managers across the world. They even developed a new and yet simple methodology called the Behavior Event Interviewing (BEI) to map the competencies. With increased recognition of the limitations performance appraisal in predicting future performance potential appraisal got focused. And Assessment centers became popular in seventies. The setting up an Assessment center was in integral part of the HRD plan given to L&T by the IIMA professors as early as in 1975. L&T did competency mapping and could not start assessment centers until much latter as it was not perceived as a priority area.
1.4. What Methodology is used?
The following methods are used in combination for competency profiling:
1.4.1. Literature Review
A preliminary approach to defining job content and identifying required competencies is to conduct a review of the literature to learn about previous studies of the job or similar jobs. Quite often, no previous studies have been conducted. However, if they do exist, they can be extremely helpful in providing an introduction to the job and a preliminary list of competencies to consider. The literature review supplements, but does not replace, other data collection methods. It simply provides a quick overview. Sources of published literature include books, professional journals, association magazines, theses, and dissertations. Unpublished studies may be available from professional associations, consulting firms, colleges and universities that offer training programs for your target job, and through the Internet. The quality of these studies will vary widely and they need to be critically evaluated before use.
1.4.2. Focus Groups
In focus groups, a facilitator works with a small group of job incumbents, their managers,supervisees, clients, or others to define the job content or to identify the competencies they believe are essential for performance. A series of focus groups is often conducted to allow many people in the organization to provide input.
There are different approaches to conducting focus groups. Typically, the facilitator willuse a prepared protocol of questions to guide a structured discussion.
Expert panels are a special type of focus group in which persons who are considered highly knowledgeable about the job and its requirements meet to develop a list of the
competencies required for success. The members of expert panels are typically persons who write about or do research in the relevant discipline, such as published academics.
1.4.3. Structured Interviews
In structured interviews, carefully planned questions are asked individually of job
incumbents, their managers, or others familiar with the job. Benchmarking interviews with other organizations are especially useful in achieving a broader view of the job or determining which competencies are more universally deemed necessary for a particular job. However, it is important to be cautious in applying the information collected from other organizations. There are many variables such as work environment, culture, and differences in job responsibilities that may limit the relevance of the information.
1.4.4. Behavioral Event Interviews
In behavioral event interviews (BEI), top performers are interviewed individually about
what they did, thought, said, and felt in challenging or difficult situations. The competencies that were instrumental in their success are extrapolated from their stories. Often, average and low performers are also interviewed to provide a comparison. The interviewer will ask questions such as: “Tell me about a time when you had an extremely challenging client” or “Give me an example of a situation at work in which you had to make a difficult decision.”
In surveys, job incumbents, their supervisors, and perhaps senior managers complete a questionnaire administered either in print or electronically. The survey content is based on previous data collection efforts such as interviews, focus groups, or literature reviews. The respondents are typically asked to assign ratings to each listed job element or competency. For example, respondents may be asked how critical a competency is to effective job performance, how frequently the competency is used on the job, the degree to which the competency differentiates superior from average performers, and if the competency is needed on entry to the job or can be developed over time. Survey respondents are usually asked to provide in writing any additional information that they feel is important.
In this data collection method, the research team visits high performing incumbents and observes them at work. The more complex the job and the greater the variety in job tasks, the more time is required for an observation. For a very routine job in which the same task is repeated over and over throughout the day, an observation of a couple hours might suffice. For very complex jobs, observation of a week or more may be required. If the job changes based on work cycles, seasons, or other factors, the observations may have to be conducted over a period of weeks or months. The observation process may include asking employees to explain what they are doing and why. Sometimes observations of average and low performers are also conducted
to establish a basis for comparison. The competencies required for effective performance are then inferred from the observations by persons who are experts in competency identification.
1.4.7. Job Description
Job descriptions are a basic human resources management tool that can help to increase individual and organizational effectiveness..
For each employee, a good, up-to-date job description helps the incumbent to understand:
• their duties and responsibilities;
• the relative importance of the duties; and,
• how their position contributes to the mission, goals, and objectives of the organization.
For the organization, good job descriptions contribute to organizational effectiveness by:
• ensuring that the work carried out by staff is aligned with the organizations mission; and,
• helping management clearly identify the most appropriate employee for new duties and realigning work loads.
1.4.8. Work Logs
In the work log method of data collection, job incumbents enter into logs or diaries their daily work activities with stop and start times for each activity. Depending on the complexity and variety of the job, incumbents may be asked to make log entries for several days, weeks, or months.
1.5. Area of Implementation
Figure No. 4 (a)
Recruitment and selection
Choosing the right people to join and progress in an organization.
Competencies can be used to construct a template for using in recruitment and selection. Information on the level of a competency required for effective performance would be used to determine the competency levels that new hires should possess.
Depending upon the accepted definition , competency data may take the form of behaviors, skills , abilities and other characteristics that have been associated with effective
Training and Development
Identifying gaps and helping employees develop in the right direction.
Knowing the competency profile for a position allows individuals to compare their own competencies to those required by the position or the career path. Training or development plans could focus on those competencies needing improvement. Additionally education and development curricula would be linked to improving competency levels to the needed levels needed for effective performance.
Career and succession planning
Assessing employees’ readiness or potential to take on new challenges
Determining a person job fit can be based on matching the competency profile of an individual to the set of competencies required for excellence within a profession. Individuals would know the competencies required for a particular position and therefore would have an opportunity to decide if they have the potential to pursue that position.
Rewards and Recognition
Competency based pay is compensation for individual characteristics for skills and competencies over and above the pay a job or organizational role itself commands. Individual characteristics that merit higher pay may come in the form of competencies (experience, initiative, loyalty and memory portability).
One old fashioned way of improving employee performance is by recognizing and rewarding effort. Competency pay is the best way to do so. Rewarding employees for their ability to make the best use of their skills and competencies in accordance with the organization’s needs was the logic behind this once popular HR tool.
Source: The Hindu, “Are you being paid for your competencies?”, January 29,2003
Performance Management System
Competencies are critical behaviors demonstrated on the job and, as such, are often included as part of performance management. Performance management is about achieving results in a manner that is consistent with organizational expectations and desired behaviors. Competencies provide expectations for “how” the job is performed, not just “what” gets done. Assessing competencies as a part of performance management is an important means of assisting employees in understanding performance expectations and enhancing competencies on-the-job. Most departments have their own performance management systems. Competencies may play an important role in these systems.
1.6. Benefits and Criticism of competency Profiling
• Employees have a set of objectives to work towards and are clear about how they are expected to perform their jobs.
• The appraisal and recruitment systems are fairer and more open.
• There is a link between organizational and personal objectives.
• Processes are measurable and standardized across organizational and geographical boundaries.
• It gives a clear insight in the necessary qualifications for a job and therefore;
• Provides a common language for discussing job requirements and/or individuals' capabilities;
• Increases identifying the best resources to fill a given role
• Provides a tool to help an employee, manager or organization assess its competencies and identify its future needs;
• Ensures the link between business strategy and Human Resource functions;
• Allows strategic-level tracking of the collective strengths and areas of expertise within an organization.
• It can be over-elaborate and bureaucratic.
• It is difficult to strike the right balance between reviewing the competencies often enough for them to remain relevant but not so often as to become confusing.
• If too much emphasis is placed on 'inputs' at the expense of 'outputs', there is a risk that it will favor employees who are good in theory but not in practice and will fail to achieve the results that make a business successful.
• They can become out of date very quickly due to the fast pace of change in organizations and it can therefore be expensive and time consuming to keep them up-to-date. .
• Some behavioral competencies are basically personality traits which an individual may be unable (or unwilling) to change and it is not reasonable to judge someone on these rather than what he or she actually achieves.
2. RESEARCH DESIGN
2.1. Methodology Adopted
Figure No.5 (a)
Step 1 : Identify departments for competency profiling
Here we have to decide and select the departments within the organization which we would like to include into our study. It is to e noted that departments should be chosen based on their criticality and importance to the organization.
At the Torrent Research and Development Center there are 10 departments
For this project all departments have been considered except the four support functions namely being the information management department, human resource department, engineering department and Purchase Department functions.
Step 2 :Identifying hierarchy within the organization and selection of levels
Study the organization hierarchy across each of the selected departments. For Torrents Research Centers hierarchy please look at Figure No.2(a). For the purpose of the study at Torrent Research Center we have selected Senior Management(Assistant General Manager), Middle Management(Group leader/Research Associate/Manager) and Junior Management (Scientist II Executive).
Step 3 :Obtain the job descriptions.
For all three levels at every department we obtained each role’s job description and in cases where they were not available we conducted a detailed interview to derive a job description.
Step 4 Preparation of semi structured interview
As on of the tools for collecting information we prepared a list of questions that
would make up a semi structured interview. These questions would be put forth
employees at all three management levels .
Step 5: Scheduling of interviews
Obtain a list of employees from respective department heads and accordingly schedule interviews. A minimum of 5 candidates are to be interviewed at each level in each department.
Step 6: Conducting of interviews
We would have to arrange for the semi structured interviews to be carried out at a convenient time and comfortable location as per the candidate’s convenience. Please Refer to Annexure XI for Sample Set of questions.
Step 7 Recording of interview details
The candidate’s answers and opinions have to be recorded in as much detail as possible for further reference during the project.
Step 8: Preparation of a list of Skills
As per the interview and the details that were generated from the candidate, we will generate a list of skills observed for the job. Thereon from which a list of identified competencies should be drawn for each interviewed candidate.
Step 9: Repeat for next levels and functions.
The interviews and appropriate recording of answers should be done at all remaining levels and other departments within the Torrent Research Center.
Step 10: Make the list of the competencies required for the department for each level and each function giving behavioral indicators.
For each position at each department a list of competencies observed from both the job description and the semi structured interview (list of skills) should be drawn up.
Each competency should be given a name and an appropriate definition that clearly indicates its meaning and essence.
Step 11: Indicate proficiency levels
Take one competency at a time and indicate different proficiency levels. For the project four levels of proficiency had to be defined for every competency. Each proficiency level was defined in term of behavioral indicators.
Step 12 Validate identified competencies and proficiency levels with Head of Departments.
Confirm competency definitions with respective Head Of Department’s and obtain from the required proficiency levels of each competency that is ideal for each role. Also locate any missing competencies.
Step 13 Preparation of competency matrix
Prepare a matrix defining competencies required and corresponding proficiency levels for each level across all departments.
Step 14 Mapping of competencies
Mapping of competencies of selected employees against the competency matrix as per their employee level and department. Here an employee’s actual proficiency level of a particular competency would be mapped against the target proficiency level.
1st March 2008 From India, Tirunelveli
I working in a automotive comopany..where i am handling competency mapping Project..
50 % of the work is done..Ie Identifcation of competency, defing competency, competency martix etc..but i am facing problem in assessing competencies and there are technical competencies ie specific to job..
please tell me how to assess those.
31st March 2008 From United States, Ogden
You have identified the competencies which are nothing but knowledge and skill described in "behavioral terms". Now you may need to define the levels of these competencies:
Level 1 : Displays the behavior at individual level
Level 2: Displays the behavior at individual level and influences others to
display the behavior
Level 3: Displays model behavior at individual level and creates
mechanisms/systems to promote the behavior in others
For each individual based on his level in the organization( grade) you will need to define what is desired level of the competency.
For example for a General Manager we can define as below:
Competency 1 : Desired Level 3
Competency 2 : Desired Level 2
Competency 3 : Desired Level 2 etc.
Now we need to develop tools for assessing the actual level for these competencies. The development of such tools is a specialists job and you may need help from consultants who have validated tools for such competency assessment.
Based on assessment you will be able to identify the gaps in the individuals and then you can prepare developmental plan.
31st March 2008 From United States, Greensboro
I am newly join in Manufacturing unit office as a HR Executive where i don;t have HR Manager for guidance, because of whichi am confused about my job profile, I need a help in that regard.
I have experience in consultancy recuritment and payroll. As i am not aware of industrual.
Plz send me Job responsibilities in this regard.
19th July 2008 From India, Mumbai
Thank you for posting
Kindly go to <link no longer exists - removed> where you have a 142 page document. I am sure a study of that will help you.
It is advisable to search citeHR before posting, as there are two other threads with similar themes. In one I had posted the above message.
It would also be beneficial if you give more information such as
what course you are on, the aim and objectives of your project, where you are doing your course, etc. You could write details, if you wish, to me at
I am a retired academic who is guiding a number of MBA students, in India, by e-mail.
Wish you all the best
19th July 2008 From United Kingdom
I am also in the process of mapping competencies for our staff and i am struggling to define the levels for each comeptency. I am planning on having 4 levels for each comeptency. If it is not a problem Will you be able to send me some levels for the competencies that you have identified for your staff. It would be a great help for me if you could send it. I have idneitifed 5 technical and 5 general competencies. We are going to do the mapping department wise.
17th August 2008 From Sri Lanka, Colombo
I have to prepare skill matrix of my technical employees. Was trying to search if an online survey can be o help. Please let me know if you are aware of any such survey where I can map employee's below listed skills:
Team Work/Team Building
Analytical/Problem Solving ability
11th February 2019 From India, Kolkata