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Guidelines to Developing A Competence Model

Editorial Team
10/01/2020 5:13 PM

Competency Profiling is a method of breaking the job into its constituent parts and identify specified skills, knowledge, personalities and behaviours needed to perform the same successfully. Competency profiling determines the extent to which the various competencies related to a job are possessed by an employee. A competency Model is a  set of competencies and includes associated behaviours that link directly to overall strategic priorities and the work that needs to be done to achieve them, as well as to levels of proficiency for each behaviour. According to Roe (2002), competencies are a set of personality traits, knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviours that an employee applies in performing his/her work and are the key employee-related levers for achieving results that are relevant to the organisation’s business strategies.

Why is it important for you to have a Competency Framework?

  • It gives you guidance on how to assess, plan, and manage the development of your employees.
  • It provides a means to translate your organisations’ vision and goals into expected employee behaviour.
  • It Identifies  areas for employee development that are directly linked to desired outcomes and organisational objectives
  • It provides a platform for an objective dialogue between managers and their subordinates about performance, development and career-related issues.
  • It provides an assessment process that allows you to identify the strengths and development needs of your employees within the competency framework

What are the objectives of Competency Profiling?

  • To align your competency framework to the vision, mission, values, and strategy of your organisation
  • To create the  job families in your organisation
  • To identify  organisational, functional and job-specific competencies
  • To define proficiency levels for each competency cluster
  • To classify the competencies into clusters and sub-clusters
  • To measure the gap in the required and existing level of competencies and recommend solutions to develop them. 
  • To develop personal competency development paths for your employees
  • To map your competency framework to your human resources processes and systems
  • To validate  the competency framework for your organisation

What are the Key Deliverables of Competency Profiling?

  • Synchronization  of your vision, mission, values, and strategy with your competency model
  • Creation of job families
  • Identification of organisational, functional and job-specific competencies
  • Definition of proficiency levels for different competency clusters
  • Classification of competencies into clusters and sub-clusters
  • Assessment of competencies among your staff
  • Calculation of competency gaps among your staff
  • Development of personal competency development paths
  • Mapping of your competency model to your human resources systems and processes
  • Validation of your Competency Framework

Tentative Phases for Developing and Validating your Competency Framework

Step 1: Organisational Context Review

This stage involves the review and assessment  of all the factors that influence the employee behaviors the model is trying to improve and these include among other things:

  • Organisational culture
  • Organisational structure
  • Organisational processes and systems
  • Customers
  • Employee relations

Step 2: Definition of your  Business Goals and  Objectives

This step involves the review of your vision, mission, values, strategy, and  identification of your organisation’s  goals and breaking them into your competencies.

Stage 3: Creation of Job Families

A job family is a collection of related jobs that require employees having similar knowledge, skills and abilities at different levels. Thus, a job family has jobs at progressing levels defining a career path for an individual, with an incremental requirement of similar knowledge, skills and abilities. All jobs in a given job profile require a similar educational background, experience, competences, and market value. This phase involves the identification and classification of jobs into families based on the following criteria:

  •  similar knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • have a continuum of knowledge, skills, and abilities that represent a career path from the lowest to the highest level job
  • possess associated and related key behaviors
  • have similar market competitive pay characteristics and conditions

The classification of jobs into families allows your organisation among other things to:

  • determine whether it has the capabilities needed to achieve maximum impact and to locate where those capabilities are found
  • set job requirements at the corporate level for similar jobs
  • view potential matches and bridges for in-house mobility
  • provide corporate learning opportunities
  • design structured career development  programmes

Stage 4: Identification of    Competencies

This stage involves theidentification and specification of competencies at organisational, business unit, team and job level. The competencies will be further decomposed into core competencies, job family competencies, technical competencies, and leadership competencies and behavioural indicators.

Organisation specific -competencies reflect the core values of the organization and are usually specified by the founders. People are the face of the organization. They are expected to exhibit a set of competencies and behaviors that reflect organizational character to certain standards that are non-negotiable and these include  among others ethical conduct and integrity. Core Competencies are those competencies that contribute the most towards achieving strategic results. Technical/Functional Competencies are job-specific competencies needed to perform a particular position. They are determined by responsibilities and the accountability levels of that role. Leadership Competencies are related to managing an organisation or department and leading people. Behavioural Indicators describe the actions required to demonstrate a particular competency.

 The following methods will be used for gathering the data.

  • Strategic Job Analysis
  • Key Expert  Interviews
  • Focus Group discussions

Stage 5: Classification of Competencies

Having identified the various competencies, they need to be categorised into competency type, sub- competency cluster, competency definitions, competency level and appropriate behavioural indicators which are categorised in a logical structure

Step 6: Define levels  of  Proficiency on Competencies

The levels of competency mastery will be defined to reflect the progression of the level of expertise. Each competency level will be associated with a  specific set of indicators to describe the behavior and skills required at that particular level. The level of mastery expected for a given competency increase as the responsibility and scope of the position dictate.  Both core and functional competencies are therefore further differentiated by levels to account for these differences in scope, breadth and depth of responsibilities. However, it is important to note that competencies are cumulative i.e. the basic behavioral indicators at lower levels also apply to all subsequent levels. Below is an illustration of how we are going to differentiate the different competence proficiency levels for each functional area.

Step 7:  Assessment of Competencies

The purpose of the assessment is to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses to determine how further development could improve competence and results. At this stage, all the affected employees will be assessed against performance competencies and personal competencies. This   will be done by administering scientifically validated instruments to the employees that are outlined below:

  • Psychometric Tests 
  • Assessment Centres
  • 360-degree feedback
  • Personality Tests

Step 8:  Establishment and Calculation of Competency Gaps

Competency Gap is the difference between the current competency level of your employees and the required competency level. This will be calculated using a mathematical formula.

Step 9: Development of Personal Competency Development Paths

 This stage involves the development of personal competency development plans to bridge the competency gaps determined at step 8. The plans will prescribe activities that seek to bridge the competency gaps that will have been identified in stage 4.

Step 10: Validation of the Competency Model

Having identified the distinguishing characteristics of superior performers, the model should be validated.

  • Concurrent cross-validation: This involves collecting data from a second criterion sample of superstars and average performers. Scores from this group can then be used to see if the competency model based on the first study predicts the superior and average performers in the second sample
    • Development of tests: Tests can be designed to measure the competencies described in the model and used to test people in a second criterion sample of superior and average performers
    • Predictive validity: Given that the primary objective of a competency model is to predict performance, the most powerful way of validating the model is to train people in using the competencies and see if these people actually perform better in the future

Stage 10: Mapping the Competency Model  to Human Resources Processes and Systems

Competency Mapping is the process of identifying critical competencies and incorporating them in all people management processes like training, performance management, succession planning, recruitment and selection. Competency mapping is integral to competency management.

Stage 11: Develop a Competency Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

It is the process by which individual competencies are assessed periodically with respect to required skills, their competency gaps and changes are monitored, and suitable actions are taken to address them.

Why Competency Tracking is Necessary?

  • Competency tracking validates—or reveals the shortcomings in a company’s workforce training and development efforts.
    • Competency tracking can help in predicting productivity. A competency management system can assist in matching employee competencies to role requirements and predict productivity by using information about the number of years of experience of an employee.
    • It helps to keep up with advances in technology, enabling the development of a wider range of capabilities.

Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +0784 597343 or email: newturn@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

Editorial Team

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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