Competency Mapping is a process used to identify key competencies for an organization or a job, and then incorporate these competencies into the various internal processes of an organization. A competency is defined as a behavior, or a set of behaviors (i.e. communication, leadership) rather than a skill or ability.
It conceives the required competencies and defines a competency framework by mapping the existing skills and competencies of the employees. It identifies gaps and then develops the competencies thereby providing an informed, systematic and measurable method for developing organizational capability.
The process allows us to articulate and evaluate what every employee brings to the table. This process greatly contributes toward job evaluation, recruitment, training and development, performance management, internal mobility, and succession planning. It brings a great deal of value to the organization.
Importance of Competency Framework in an Organization
A competency framework is a comprehensive structure that provides an elaborate foundation to the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for people within an organization. Competency framework also maps the expected behaviours at various levels throughout the organization. Many successful organizations view competencies as a cornerstone for talent management and have categorized competency framework as an essential step in organizational success.
Several dynamic organizations use competency frameworks to:
- Facilitate the recruitment and selection process of employees with a strong fit to the role, as well as the organization
- Set performance expectations and evaluate employee contributions objectively
- Expedite employees to enhance their performance and increase their level of work satisfaction
- Map an employee’s professional development and further career planning
- Assess ‘competency gaps’ in individuals and teams and provide effective inputs for creating modules for increased development and training resources
Developing a competency framework can take a lot of effort in order to make it relevant to the organization that will be using it. There are two critical principles at work when designing a competency framework:
- Involve the people doing the work – These frameworks should not be entirely developed by the HR department, as they don’t always know what a particular job entails. Hence, to understand the nitty gritty of the role fully, one needs to go to the source directly and involve the people already doing the job, as well as getting an array of inputs from the managers and team leaders about what makes someone successful in that particular job provides a vast overview of the job role.
- Use relevant competencies – It is essential to ensure that the competencies included apply to all roles covered by the framework. This is a critical because if irrelevant competencies are included, individuals may face difficulties in relating to the framework in general. For example, if a framework is created keeping the entire organization in mind, several departments within the organization would not be included unless every individual has to demonstrate the particular skill. Instead, a framework developed separately for each department within the organization would yield more promising outcome.
The underlying objectives of Competency Framework include:
- To decipher relevant competencies and prepare a ‘Competency Dictionary’
- Identify individuals with high potential and optimize their efficacy and growth opportunities to increase their productivity
- Recommend relevant developmental steps as well as training needs for the employees
- Formulate organizational interventions on the basis of the distinct psychometric assessment results to regulate the growth process
Psychometric testing plays a crucial role in the development of a competency framework. The purpose of psychometric testing for competency framework are:
- Determine a list of competencies for each level/ department/ division within the organization
- Assess competence on the basis of performance and performance criteria established under each element of competency
- Propose developmental strategies and training modules for bridging the gaps between acquired and the desired levels of competencies of each individual employee
A Competency Framework enables Achieving an Organization’s Strategic Goals:
An effective framework consists of competencies which are in tangent with the objectives of the organization. It is essential to define and build the competency dictionary for an organization that consists of a list, definition and indicators of all core, functional and leadership competencies required by all the employees to perform according to their specific job description. When an organization constructs a well-planned competency framework in recruitment, selection, appraisal and rewarding employees, the employees’ competency set remains aligned with the description of the job role and thus, with the organization. This further, facilitates a direction towards common goals.
A Competency Framework improves Recruitment & Selection, Training and Performance Management:
Once an organization develops a well thought competency framework, it becomes easier for it to recruit and select employees who possess the required competency set. The competency framework becomes the guiding criterion for the entire recruitment process. This also saves the organization from investing essential resources on recruiting individuals who do not demonstrate the right skills for the job. A competency framework also assesses an employee’s performance through a performance measurement process which gives a more consistent and reliable results of the employee’s performance. This would also help in identifying the gaps in the competency of the employee. Thus, as a result, the training and development needs could be distinguished more effectively based on the competency gaps identified.
A Competency Framework helps Improve Productivity
As the framework is directed towards improving training and development in a strategic aligned construct, the organizational productivity will be enhanced as the developmental strategy is accurately aligned to the employees’ competencies.
Competency Based Training Solutions: Path to Productivity
Competency Based Training has been a widely accepted concept since decades, but it has been gained mainstream attention recently because of its effectiveness. Top performing organization realized that their efficiency depends totally on the competency of the employee, and they are much aware that formal education doesn’t contribute much when it comes to making individuals skilled for the workplace. Hence competency-based training solutions it the necessity in order to meet the specific requirements of the organization. It is developed around the competency standard that have been identified for the job. Many organizations have claimed to take up the competency approach but because of the significant time and resources required to develop and maintain a fully functioning competency-based training the reality is that only very few have really taken it forward.
According to the National Skills Centre of Australia, “competency-based training is a structured approach to training and assessment that is directed toward achieving specific outcomes. It is about assisting individuals to acquire skills and knowledge so they are able to perform a task to a specified standard under certain conditions”. Hence for the competency-based training solutions, the trainer should be well aware about the areas which has to be focused in order to uplift the standard of working and it should be clearly stated so that the learners know exactly what is expected from them. Hence it gives clarity to both the employer and the employee. As once the learner is clear about the competencies assigned to learn, the trainer will also know the precise training and learning that is required for a desired level of competency.
Competency-based training program benefits both the employer and the employee, by minimizing the personal judgement and subjectivity creating the workplace eco-system more cohesive and positive. Hence it gives a clarity on workforce planning, performance standards, performance assessments and succession plans. Organizations should be ready to invest on their employees to attain the maximum result. Usually, they don’t invest because of reasons like it being too costly, being ineffective or too time consuming. But competency-based training solutions align training program with professional competency assessments to ensure the resources and time doesn’t go in vain and the training are tailor made focusing on the areas where the organizations want to work.
The competency-based training should be motivational, empowering and most importantly it should be fun to achieve the attention of the employees, rather making them feel more burdened by the training. It should be focused towards the needs of the organization and employees by making a tailor-made program specifically for the organization. Competency based training solutions ensure not just the training to be cost effective but also be productive, goal-oriented and customised for the target audience. It further has advantages for the employers s it improves the communication between them and employees, develops and promotes the agenda of the organization, reduces cost overruns caused by poor performance or miscommunication of job expectations and minimizes the job mis-fit. It works as a mechanism to understand or recognise ones’ abilities and gives a clear direction for leaning.