Competency of an individual
A Competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual, which is causally related to
effective performance. Competencies are a set of observable behaviour statements rather than skills or abilities (such as communication, leadership and customer responsiveness). Each job family has 3 sets of competencies:
-- Competency set related to the organization mission / vision / strategy.
-- Competency set related to Internal and External Customer Expectations.
-- Competency set related to departmental focus areas.
Difference between Competencies and Skills
Competence is ability plus positive attitude whereas skill is only ability. Competency is made up of two components: Knowledge & Skill. We acquire Knowledge and store it in our mind to be retrieved later. Knowledge is acquired from learning or from experience. Knowledge provides us with the necessary theory, rationale and background to allow us to tackle a task.
Skill on the other hand is the talent that we have, which enables us to execute what is in our
mind. The greater our skill the greater is the ability to convert the theory into practice. Skill
is our ability to do; it is practical, it produces results and consequences, which can be seen. Skills can be learnt, practised, and then stored away to be called upon when required. Both knowledge and skill are equally important. As they grow together so grows the competency of the individual.
How are competencies mapped for an individual?
Competencies needed for a job family are identified and are defined concisely in order to reduce misinterpretation. These competencies are divided into Vital, Essential and Desirable competencies for each job family and the calibrations in the measurement scale of each competency are defined. Each position is profiled in terms of: 1. Vital, Essential and Desirable Competencies. 2. The expected calibration on the measurement scale of each competency.
Each person is profiled in terms of level of knowledge application and attitudes on the measurement scale of each competency. The superimposing of the Person profile on the Position profile has wide ranging ramifications. The gaps between the position profile and the person profile give birth to training needs.
How are individuals measured on competencies?
Individuals are assessed in assessment centres and are subject to various tests and games such as psychological tests, interviews, group sessions, simulated role-play, and presentations. Specialists assess behavioural performance in these tests.
What are the generally desired competencies?
In addition to job specific competencies, some of the generally desired competencies include individual competencies (personal traits such as flexibility, determination, drive, autonomy, risk taking, personal integrity), managerial competencies (achievement Orientation, developing others, empowerment, planning, team leadership), analytical competencies (problem solving skills, logic, innovation, analytical skills, numerical skills, practical learning, aware of the detail), Interpersonal competencies (communication skills, expressiveness, openness), Motivational competencies (spirit, energy, motivation, perseverance) among others.
How will improving individual's rating on a competency assist him/her on job?
Competencies are vital as they provide a clear picture of what is expected of the employees to achieve excellent performance. Improving employee competencies is important because organisations in this time and age have a competitive advantage only when employees' performance is excellent. Quality performance can be achieved only when attention is paid to how the employees go about their tasks and then how these are developed. This excellent performance leads to the overall improvement in the performance of the organisation.
Competency mapping is the complete understanding of an individual's organisational, managerial, and behavioural competencies-and not just in terms of skills, abilities, or intelligence. For a manager, competence is a compendium of skills, behavioural traits, beliefs, motives, social roles, and self-image. Competency mapping helps the companies to respond to economy, industry, and customer dynamics in a fast-changing world. It helps a company to bridge the gap between vision and implementation.
The ultimate objective of the technique is to create an organisational-design based on a set of competencies that is in-sync with the requirements of the business, and is able to drive the company's policies on recruitment, performance-management, training, and compensation. The commonly used 4 models of competency mapping include the job-competency model, the role-competency model, the functional-competency model, and the core-competency model.
A combination of these models allows the company to map the functional, managerial, and behavioural attributes that are required for each position in the organisation. Apart from ensuring a perfect fit, this also facilitates cross-functional moves and succession planning.
Mapping For Recruitment:
A company that uses competency mapping as a recruitment tool has a clear understanding of who, why, and what it is looking for. This ensures that it hires the best-possible people, thereby maximising its return on recruitment. To optimise its employee costs, for instance, PepsiCo India uses competency mapping across 4 key areas: sales, marketing, customer development, and finance.
Every year, PepsiCo analyses every position in the company in terms of its organisational relevance and the required competencies. A set of them-ranging from lateral thinking to strategising-defines each position; the extent to which a particular competency is required is, of course, a function of the level: junior, middle, or senior. Interestingly, PepsiCo's model also tracks the competencies defining each position over a 3-year period to ensure that the person being hired not only possesses them at that point of time, but also has the ability to acquire those that are most likely to define the position in future.
Mapping For Performance:
In a sense, the similarities between competency mapping and benchmarking are obvious. By comparing the desired with the existing, companies can focus on acquiring competencies-both at the level of the organisation as well as at that of the individual. E.g., Modi Xerox uses an organisational competency model to highlight the gaps in competencies, and provides its employees the training they need to bridge them.
First, the company created competency centres in each of its functional areas-sales, service, finance, manufacturing, and management development-which define the specific competencies for each positions, and create opportunities for knowledge-transfer
Mapping For Development:
As any CEO who decides to use competency mapping will realise, the technique, invariably, results in a hierarchy of competencies. Companies wishing to use it as a development tool merely link this to their career-development model. Aligned with HR inputs like training, this approach can serve as a comprehensive developmental framework.
That's why Hughes Escorts defines each position in the organisation in terms of 23 competencies, categorised into 4 groups: attitude-based, knowledge-driven, skill-based, and value-based. While attitude- and value-based competencies are the same across the organisation, skill- and knowledge-based competencies vary across positions. For instance, financial acumen, a skill-based competency, is assigned a higher weightage for positions either in the finance function or senior management.
While continuing to adapt its model, Hughes Escorts provides training inputs that will help its employees move up the hierarchy. In the process, the company hopes to maximise productivity.
Mapping For Appraisal:
Like any other technique, which can compare what is with what should be, competency mapping can easily serve as a tool for appraisal. After all, it allows employees to be appraised not only on their performance, but also on their ability to acquire the competencies, which are required for their jobs.
Tobacco major ITC, for instance, uses the technique to quantify performance-measurement. This ensures that the appraisal is result-oriented, with the performance of the employee being measured against specific functional and behavioural competencies. Thus, a senior manager's appraisal includes not only a measure of business results, but also behavioural competencies-like ethical standards, teamwork, leadership, and the development of subordinates. However, while competency mapping can serve as an objective appraisal tool, companies should ensure that they provide their employees with adequate opportunities to develop the required competencies before evaluating their
ability, or inability to meet their objectives.
Mapping For Rewards:
A structured organisation, built around clear hierarchies and rigid roles, can co-exist with a
traditional job-focused rewards system. But companies designed around processes or projects, where career-progression has as much a chance of being lateral as vertical, would do better to use a competency-based rewards system. This is especially true in knowledge-intensive industries like software. E.g., Hughes Software Systems has a rewards system based on a role-competency model. This requires the company to profile a particular position in terms of its role in achieving the greater objectives of the organisation, and to evaluate if an employee is ready for the next role. Thus, instead of paying for experience or qualifications, the company can pay for competencies.
Mapping For Change:
Everyone knows that the people aspect of change-management is more difficult than the business aspect. Competency mapping can address this issue by helping them create a stimulating work-environment, with sufficient opportunities for growth. ITC uses competency mapping as a change management tool in this way.
While charting its future, apart from identifying the new competencies that will be required, the company also analyses the impact of a change in the desired competency-profile on the careers of its employees.
Competency mapping is a technique that requires substantial investments in terms of time, money, and commitment. There are some businesses where competency mapping is more effective than others. This is a function of 3 factors: the nature of the industry that a company operates in, the stage of the life cycle it is in, and the depth of the talent-pool it can hire from. 11th January 2008 From India, New Delhi