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Competency Approach to Human Resource Management

What do we mean when we say COMPETENCY ?
A Competency is an underlying characteristic of a person which enables him /her to deliver superior performance in a given job, role or a situation.
Competencies are seen mainly as inputs.
They consist of clusters of knowledge, attitudes and skills that affect an individual s ability to perform.
Hayes (1979)
Competencies are generic knowledge motive, trait, social role or a skill of a person linked to superior performance on the job.
Albanese (1989)
Competencies are personal characteristics that contribute to effective managerial performance.
UNIDO (2002)-
A Competency is a set of skills, related knowledge and attributes that allow an individual to successfully perform a task or an activity within a specific function or job.
What is Common in the definitions?
underlying characteristic of a person s inputs.
clusters of knowledge, attitudes and skills
generic knowledge motive, trait, social role or a skill
personal characteristics
set of skills, related knowledge and attributes
Behaviour Indicators
A Competency is described in terms of key behaviours that enables recognition of that competency at the work place.
These behaviors are demonstrated by excellent performers on-the-job much more consistently than average or poor performers. These characteristics generally follow the 80-20 rule in that they include the key behaviors that primarily drive excellent performance.
Example of a Competency
Analytical Thinking
The ability to break problems into component parts and consider or organize parts in a systematic way; the process of looking for underlying causes or thinking through the consequence of different courses of action.
Key Behaviour Indicators
Independently researches for information and solutions to issues
Ability to know what needs to be done or find out (research) and take steps to get it done
Ask questions when not sure of what the problem is or to gain more information.
Able to identify the underlying or main problem.
Shows willingness to experiment with new things.
Develops a list of decision making guidelines to help arrive at logical solutions.
What is a Competency Model?
Competency Model
A competency model is a valid, observable, and measurable list of the knowledge, skills, and attributes demonstrated through behavior that results in outstanding performance in a particular work context.
Typically A competency model includes
Competency titles
Definitions of those titles
Key Behaviour indicators
Competency - Broad Categories
Generic Competencies
Competencies which are considered essential for all employees regardless of their function or level. - Communication, initiative, listening etc.
Managerial Competencies
Competencies which are considered essential for employees with managerial or supervisory responsibility in any functional area including directors and senior posts.
Competency - Broad Categories
Technical / Functional
Specific competencies which are considered essential to perform any job in the organisation within a defined technical or functional area of work.
e.g.: Finance, environmental management,etc
Traditional Job Analysis Vs Competency Approach
Job Analysis leads to
long lists of tasks and the skills / knowledge required to perform each of those tasks
Data generation from subject matter experts; job incumbents
Effective Performance
Competency model leads to
A Distilled set of underlying personal characteristics
Data generation from outstanding performers in addition to subject matter experts and other job incumbents
Outstanding Performance
Distinguish Superior From Merely Satisfactory Performance
The approach allows executives and angers to make a distinction between a person's ability to do specific tasks at the minimum acceptable level and the ability to do the whole job in an outstanding fashion
Behaviour Indicators Based upon what outstanding individuals actually do
The competency definitions are based upon outstanding current performance in the organization.
These competencies do not reflect someone's management theory or an academic idea of what it takes to do the job well, but rather are based on what works within the organization and most directly contributes to top performance.
The Competencies are Behaviour Specific
It is one thing, for example, to ask whether an employee "takes initiative," a very general concept, open to interpretation, but it is quite another to ask, "Was it typical of this manager to carry out tasks without your having to request that they be done?," a question which has only two answers, "Yes" and "No".
Holistic Application
Help companies raise the bar of performance expectations.
Help teams and individuals align their behaviours with key organisational strategy.
Each employee understand how to achieve expectations.
Alignment of HR systems
Competency based recruitment
Competency based interviews reduce the risk of making a costly hiring mistake and increase the likelihood of identifying and selecting the right person for the right job
Competency based Performance Appraisal
Competencies Enable
Establishment of clear high performance standards.
Collection and proper analysis of factual data against the set standards.
Conduct of objective feedback meetings.
Direction with regard to specific areas of improvement.
Competency based Training
Competency based appraisal process leading to effective identification of training needs.
Opportunity to identify/ develop specific training programmes - Focused training investment.
Focused Training enabling improvement in specific technical and managerial competencies
Competency based Development
Contribute to the understanding of what development really mean, giving the individual the tools to take responsibility for their own development.
Give the line managers a tool to empower them to develop people
Competency based Pay
Provide an incentive for employees to grow and enhance their capabilities.
Steps in Model Building
Background information about the organisation
Decide on the Occupation / Job Position(s) that require competency Model(s)
Discuss the application of the competency model
Select a data collection method and plan the approach
Organize Data collected
Identify main themes or patterns
Build the model - Defining specific behaviour Indicators
Review the model
Data Collection Methods
Resource / Expert Panels
Structured process to get the participants (Job holders, managers HR / training staff) to think systematically about the job, skills and personal characteristics needed for success.
Critical Event Interviews
Structured interviews with superior performers which involves in-depth probing of a large number of events and experiences.
Data Collection Methods
Generic competency Dictionaries
Conceptual frameworks of commonly encountered competencies and behaviour indicators.
Serve as a starting point to the model building team.
Can be used in resource panel by asking the participants to select a set of generic competencies related to the job and rate the importance
Competency model building
A detailed approach
A Detailed Approach
Info about the company.
Decision on the job position(s) .
Discussion on the CM application.
Basic data collection on the job responsibilities(using customized menu)
Focus group
Review job description
understand performance criteria
Discuss specific behaviours
List top ten competencies
A Detailed Approach
Critical incident technique - interviewing top performers
incidents that lead to effective performance
incidents that lead to in effective performance
Discuss specific behaviours
List behaviours
List competencies
A Detailed Approach
Content Analysis
Group behaviours
Match behaviours to competencies using competency dictionary as a guideline
Evolve new set of competencies if any
Match behaviour indicators identified through CIT to the top 10 competencies identified by the focus group
Review the model and make corrections

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