Com­pe­tency Map­ping: A strate­gic Ap­proach in Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment

Economic Challenger - - CONTENTS - −K. Gir­ija


Or­ga­ni­za­tions in the present days are un­der­go­ing heavy con­ver­sion in the stir of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and glob­al­iza­tion. Here, Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment prac­tices are re­ceiv­ing wider recog­ni­tion in the devel­op­men­tal and trans­for­ma­tional pro­ce­dure. Or­ga­ni­za­tion man­age­ment is giv­ing more force in un­der­stand­ing and de­vel­op­ing the com­pe­tency of em­ploy­ees and makes use of the tool com­pe­tency map­ping, for the im­prove­ment of pro­duc­tiv­ity and main­tain­ing a pos­i­tive work civ­i­liza­tion. This ap­pli­ca­tion of the com­pe­tence ap­proach cov­ers the op­er­a­tional ar­eas of hu­man re­source man­age­ment in the or­ga­ni­za­tion viz., se­lec­tion, re­mu­ner­a­tion, vocational train­ing, eval­u­a­tion and pro­mo­tion. The com­pe­tency map­ping works at the en­ter­prise level rather than the out­side realms. The ob­jec­tive be­hind this ef­fort is to iden­tify the best, bet­ter and good and av­er­age ef­fort on the part of the in­di­vid­ual work­ers and sup­port the best ef­fort, en­cour­age the bet­ter ef­fort, em­power the good ef­fort and train the av­er­age ef­fort of the work­ers to­wards the best per­for­mance. Com­pe­tency map­ping is gain­ing much more im­por­tance and or­ga­ni­za­tions are aware of hav­ing good hu­man re­sources or putting the right peo­ple on right job.


Com­pe­tence is a stan­dard­ized re­quire­ment for an in­di­vid­ual to prop­erly per­form a spe­cific job. It en­com­passes a com­bi­na­tion of knowl­edge, skills and be­hav­ior to be uti­lized to im­prove per­for­mance. More gen­er­ally, com­pe­tence is the state or qual­ity of be­ing ad­e­quately or well qual­i­fied, hav­ing the abil­ity to per­form a spe­cific role per­fectly.

For in­stance, man­age­ment com­pe­tency in­cludes the traits of sys­tems ´ think­ing and emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, and skills in in­flu­ence and ne­go­ti­a­tion. A per­son pos­sesses a com­pe­tence as long as the skills, abil­i­ties, and knowl­edge that con­sti­tute the com­pe­tence en­abling the per­son to per­form ef­fec­tively within a cer­tain work­place en­vi­ron­ment. There­fore, one might not lose knowl­edge, a skill, or an abil­ity, but still lose a com­pe­tence if what is needed to do a job changes.


Com­pe­tence refers to the char­ac­ter­is­tics re­quired by an in­di­vid­ual to per­form a given role, task or an ac­tiv­ity suc­cess­fully. In sim­ple terms, it refers to a per­son’s fit­ness to his or her job.

The com­pe­ten­cies have five char­ac­ter­is­tics, namely: Knowl­edge: in­for­ma­tion ac­cu­mu­lated in a par­tic­u­lar area of ex­per­tise (e.g., ac­count­ing, sell­ing, ser­vic­ing, and man­age­ment) Skills: the demon­stra­tion of ex­per­tise (e.g., the abil­ity to make ef­fec­tive pre­sen­ta­tions, or to ne­go­ti­ate suc­cess­fully) Mo­tive: re­cur­rent thoughts driv­ing be­hav­iors (e.g., drive for achieve­ment, af­fil­i­a­tion) At­ti­tude: self−con­cept, val­ues and self−im­age Traits: a gen­eral dis­po­si­tion to be­have in cer­tain ways (e.g., flex­i­bil­ity)


The com­pe­ten­cies are iden­ti­fied us­ing com­pe­tency map­ping meth­ods such as In­ter­views Ques­tion­naire Group work Task anal­y­sis work­shop Use of Job de­scrip­tions Per­for­mance Ap­praisal For­mat etc.

Th­ese com­pe­ten­cies are iden­ti­fied by Ex­perts, Psy­chol­o­gists, HR Spe­cial­ists, Job An­a­lysts, Su­per­vi­sors, In­dus­trial Engi­neers, Re­port­ing and Re­view­ing of­fi­cers and oth­ers. Af­ter the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the core com­pe­ten­cies there should be a core com­pe­tency ac­qui­si­tion agenda. Con­tin­u­ous learn­ing should be pro­vided for build­ing core com­pe­tency and later it should be de­ployed to at­tain and max­i­mize com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage. Fi­nally, there should be a proac­tive busi­ness plan through which core com­pe­tency skills are pro­tected and de­fended.

In this new econ­omy, ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion should per­form con­sis­tently to re­main suc­cess­ful; this can be achieved by multi− skilled, pos­sess­ing high self−es­teem work−force, who is highly com­pe­tent. The ab­sence of th­ese com­pe­ten­cies would lead to in­creased pre­mi­ums and un­de­sir­able re­sults.


A com­pe­tency is some­thing that de­scribes what, where, how and when a job is to be done as per the re­quire­ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tional ob­jec­tives. Com­pe­tency map­ping is a process of iden­ti­fy­ing key com­pe­ten­cies for a par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion in an or­gan­i­sa­tion, and then us­ing it for job−eval­u­a­tion, re­cruit­ment, train­ing and devel­op­ment, per­for­mance man­age­ment, suc­ces­sion plan­ning, etc. Com­pe­tency map­ping process is de­signed to con­sis­tently mea­sure and as­sess in­di­vid­ual and group per­for­mance to ac­com­plish the ob­jec­tives of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and it fur­ther helps to ful­fill the ex­pec­ta­tions of cus­tomers.

It is used to iden­tify key at­tributes (knowl­edge, skills, and be­hav­ior at­tributes) that are re­quired to per­form ef­fec­tively in a job clas­si­fi­ca­tion or an iden­ti­fied process. Com­pe­tency map­ping in­volves two sets of ac­tiv­i­ties. One is re­lated to the work ac­tiv­i­ties and work process and the other is re­lated to the in­di­vid­ual and group per­for­mance. It is about iden­ti­fy­ing pre­ferred be­hav­iors and per­sonal skills, which dis­tin­guish ex­cel­lent and out­stand­ing per­for­mance from the av­er­age.


The fol­low­ing steps may be fol­lowed in com­pe­tency Map­ping:

1. De­cide the po­si­tions for which the com­pe­ten­cies need to be mapped. 2. Iden­tify the lo­ca­tion of the po­si­tions in the or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture. This needs the clar­ity of or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture, defin­ing the po­si­tion re­la­tion­ships (re­port­ing author­ity, sub­or­di­nates, peers etc.). 3. Iden­tify the ob­jec­tives of the func­tion or the de­part­ment or the unit or sec­tion where the po­si­tion is lo­cated. 4. Iden­tify the ob­jec­tives of the role. Why does the po­si­tion ex­ist? What are the main pur­poses of the role etc. 5. Col­lect the Key Per­for­mance Ar­eas (or KPAs, Tasks, etc.) of the po­si­tion holder for the last two to three years from the per­for­mance ap­praisal records. Al­ter­nately, col­lect the job de­scrip­tions of any of the po­si­tion to make a list of all tasks and ac­tiv­i­ties to be per­formed by that po­si­tion holder. 6. In­ter­view the po­si­tion holder to list the Tasks and ac­tiv­i­ties ex­pected to be per­formed by the In­di­vid­ual. Group them into a set of tasks. The tasks in the list may be as many as 15 to 20 for some po­si­tions as Com­pe­tency map­ping a few and five to six for other po­si­tions. There is no rigid rule about the num­ber of tasks. It de­pends on how com­plex the po­si­tion is. It is use­ful to start with as many tasks as pos­si­ble. 7. In­ter­view the po­si­tion holder to list the ac­tual knowl­edge, at­ti­tude, skills, and other com­pe­ten­cies re­quired for per­form­ing the task ef­fec­tively. The po­si­tion holder should be asked ques­tions like: "If you are to re­cruit some one to per­form this task what qual­i­ties or com­pe­ten­cies would you look for in him/ her? What com­pe­ten­cies do you think are re­quired to per­form this well? 8. Re­peat the process with all the po­si­tion set mem­bers. 9. Con­sol­i­date the list of com­pe­ten­cies from all the po­si­tion hold­ers’ by each task. 10. Edit and fi­nal­ize. Present it to the su­per­vi­sors of the po­si­tion holder for ap­proval and fi­nal­iza­tion.


Re­cruit­ment & Se­lec­tion Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Sys­tem Train­ing Devel­op­ment Com­pen­sa­tion Man­age­ment

1. Re­cruit­ment & Se­lec­tion:

Com­pe­tency−based re­cruit­ment is a process based on the abil­ity of can­di­dates to pro­duce anec­dotes about their pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence which can be used as ev­i­dence that the can­di­date has a given com­pe­tency. Can­di­dates demon­strate com­pe­ten­cies on the ap­pli­ca­tion form, and then in the in­ter­view, which in this case is known as a com­pe­tency−based in­ter­view.

The process is in­tended to be fairer than other re­cruit­ment pro­cesses by clearly lay­ing down the re­quired com­pe­ten­cies and then test­ing them in such a way that the re­cruiter has lit­tle dis­cre­tion to favour one can­di­date over an­other; the process as­sumes high re­cruiter dis­cre­tion un­de­sir­able. As a re­sult of its per­ceived fair­ness, the process is pop­u­lar in pub­lic ser­vices. Com­pe­tency−based re­cruit­ment is highly fo­cused on the can­di­dates’ story−telling abil­i­ties as an in­di­ca­tion of com­pe­tency, and dis­fa­vors other indi­ca­tions of a can­di­date’s skills and po­ten­tials, such as ref­er­ences.

A com­pe­tency based ap­proach to re­cruit­ment and se­lec­tion of staff can help an or­ga­ni­za­tion, to make it an ef­fec­tive and suc­cess­ful in­vest­ment of time, money and ex­per­tise. Such an ap­proach will help en­sure that: i. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is clear re­gard­ing the com­pe­ten­cies and skill sets re­quired by the job; ii. Se­lec­tion pro­cesses en­cour­age a good fit be­tween in­di­vid­u­als and their jobs, man­agers and staff have the re­quired skills and com­pe­ten­cies; iii. In­di­vid­ual skills and abil­i­ties are matched to the re­quire­ments of the job and iv. Eval­u­a­tion of work de­mands and staffing are ac­cu­rate.

2. Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Sys­tem:

Per­for­mance man­age­ment is about achiev­ing re­sults in a man­ner that is con­sis­tent with or­ga­ni­za­tional ex­pec­ta­tions. In­te­grat­ing com­pe­ten­cies within the per­for­mance man­age­ment process sup­ports the pro­vi­sion of feed­back to em­ploy­ees not only on "what" they have ac­com­plished (i.e., per­for­mance goals), but also "how" the work was per­formed, us­ing com­pe­ten­cies for pro­vid­ing feed­back. In­te­grat­ing com­pe­tency with PMS will as­sist:− i. Em­ploy­ees in un­der­stand­ing per­for­mance ex­pec­ta­tions and en­hanc­ing com­pe­ten­cies. ii. To in­te­grate ca­pa­bil­i­ties with ex­ist­ing or new pro­cesses. iii. To pro­vide a mech­a­nism for pro­vid­ing pos­i­tive feed­back about an em­ployee’s train­ing achieve­ments and on−the−job per­for­mance iv. To pro­vide job stan­dards for per­for­mance ap­praisal v. To pro­vide clear di­rec­tion for learn­ing new job skills

3. Train­ing:

Com­pe­tency Based Train­ing fo­cuses on what the par­tic­i­pant is ex­pected to be able to do in the work­place as op­posed to just hav­ing the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge. An im­por­tant char­ac­ter­is­tic of Com­pe­tency Based Train­ing is that it is fo­cused not only on the ac­tual jobs that are re­quired in the work­place, but also the abil­ity to trans­fer and ap­ply skills, knowl­edge and at­ti­tudes to new sit­u­a­tions and en­vi­ron­ments. The em­pha­sis in com­pe­tency based train­ing is on " per­form­ing" rather than just "know­ing". Com­pe­tence−based pro­gram needs to fo­cus on build­ing the knowl­edge and skills needed in a par­tic­u­lar job. Com­pe­tence−based pro­grams are also used to in­crease em­ploy­ees’ cur­rent job per­for­mance, pre­pare them for chang­ing job re­quire­ments or in­tro­duce new tools or tech­nol­ogy in the work place. By hav­ing a well de­signed com­pe­tence− based train­ing and devel­op­ment pro­gram the or­ga­ni­za­tion will be able to en­sure it has the right peo­ple, with the right skills, at the right time, to ac­com­plish their busi­ness ob­jec­tives.

The ad­van­tages of com­pe­tency based train­ing (CBT) are:−

i. Par­tic­i­pants will achieve com­pe­ten­cies re­quired in the per­for­mance of their jobs.

ii. Par­tic­i­pants build con­fi­dence as they suc­ceed in mas­ter­ing spe­cific com­pe­ten­cies.

iii. Par­tic­i­pants re­ceive a tran­script or list of the com­pe­ten­cies they have achieved.

4. Devel­op­ment:

For or­ga­ni­za­tions to suc­ceed in to­day’s com­pet­i­tive set­ting, em­ploy­ees at all lev­els need to de­velop and demon­strate a set of be­hav­ior show­cas­ing his or her ca­pa­bil­i­ties, char­ac­ter­is­tics, knowl­edge, tal­ent as well as per­sonal qual­i­ties for ef­fec­tive per­for­mance at work.

All busi­nesses are based on some key com­pe­ten­cies. If any busi­ness ne­glects em­ployee com­pe­tency and its devel­op­ment, all growth and pro­duc­tiv­ity of an em­ployee, com­pany and prof­its will be af­fected. The main rea­son for an or­ga­ni­za­tion to cre­ate a com­pe­tency−based sys­tem that fo­cuses on hav­ing the right peo­ple with right skills at the right time is that it helps in ac­com­plish­ing busi­ness tar­gets. Com­pe­ten­cies are the need of the hour and de­sign­ing ap­pro­pri­ate com­pe­tency devel­op­ment models is a ne­ces­sity.

Ad­van­tages of com­pe­tency based devel­op­ment:−

i. Im­prove­ment in pro­duc­tiv­ity, per­for­mance and prof­itabil­ity

ii. Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of em­ployee’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties for an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fu­ture needs

iii. An­a­lyz­ing ca­pa­bil­ity gaps

5. Com­pen­sa­tion:

Com­pe­tency−based pay fits this new en­vi­ron­ment. It pro­vides an on­go­ing in­cen­tive to em­ploy­ees to en­hance their abil­ity to per­form their jobs. Em­ploy­ees are re­warded with salary in­creases when they add new knowl­edge or skills or when they demon­strate higher level com­pe­tence on ex­ist­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Ad­van­tages of com­pe­tency based com­pen­sa­tion:

i. Pro­vides a ba­sis of de­cid­ing on the com­pen­sa­tion.

ii. En­cour­ages em­ploy­ees to de­velop their com­pe­ten­cies fur­ther.

iii. Leads to a fo­cus on to­tal­ity of job rather than just what is achieved.

iv. This sys­tem fits ev­ery job.


There are some use­ful ben­e­fits of us­ing com­pe­tency model for the com­pany, man­agers, and em­ploy­ees as well.

For The Com­pany

Re­in­force cor­po­rate strat­egy, cul­ture, and vi­sion. Es­tab­lish ex­pec­ta­tions for per­for­mance ex­cel­lence, re­sult­ing in a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment, im­proved job sat­is­fac­tion, and bet­ter em­ployee re­ten­tion. In­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of train­ing and pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment pro­grams by link­ing them to the success cri­te­ria (i.e., be­hav­ioral stan­dards of ex­cel­lence). Pro­vide a com­mon frame­work and lan­guage for dis­cussing how to im­ple­ment and com­mu­ni­cate key strate­gies. Pro­vide a com­mon un­der­stand­ing of the scope and re­quire­ments of a spe­cific role. Pro­vide com­mon, or­ga­ni­za­tion−wide stan­dards for ca­reer lev­els that en­able em­ploy­ees to move across busi­ness bound­aries.

For man­agers:

Iden­tify per­for­mance cri­te­ria to im­prove the ac­cu­racy and ease of the hir­ing and se­lec­tion process. Pro­vide more ob­jec­tive per­for­mance stan­dards. Clar­ify stan­dards of ex­cel­lence for eas­ier com­mu­ni­ca­tion of per­for­mance ex­pec­ta­tions to di­rect re­ports.

Pro­vide a clear foun­da­tion for di­a­logue to oc­cur be­tween the man­ager and em­ployee about per­for­mance, devel­op­ment, and ca­reer−re­lated is­sues.

For em­ploy­ees:

Iden­tify the success cri­te­ria (i.e., be­hav­ioral stan­dards of per­for­mance ex­cel­lence) re­quired to be suc­cess­ful in their role. Sup­port a more spe­cific and ob­jec­tive as­sess­ment of their strengths and spec­ify tar­geted ar­eas for pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment. Pro­vide devel­op­ment tools and meth­ods for en­hanc­ing their skills.


Com­pe­tency−based HR is con­sid­ered the best HR. In In­dia how­ever com­pe­tency devel­op­ment and map­ping still re­mains an un­ex­plored process in most or­gan­i­sa­tions de­spite the grow­ing level of aware­ness. The un­der­ly­ing prin­ci­ple of com­pe­tency map­ping is not just about find­ing the right peo­ple for the right job. The is­sue is much more com­plex than it ap­pears, and most HR de­part­ments have been strug­gling to for­mu­late the right frame­work for their or­gan­i­sa­tion. Un­less man­age­ments and HR heads have holis­tic ex­pec­ta­tions from their HR de­part­ments, the com­pe­tency move­ment is un­likely to suc­ceed as it re­quires lot of time, ded­i­ca­tion and money.

Be­fore an or­gan­i­sa­tion em­barks on this jour­ney it has to be very clear about the busi­ness goals, ca­pa­bil­ity−build­ing im­per­a­tives and core com­pe­ten­cies of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The com­pe­tency map­ping process needs to be strongly in­te­grated with th­ese as­pects. Ex­perts agree that the com­pe­tency map­ping process does not fit the one−size−fits all for­mula. It has to be spe­cific to the user or­gan­i­sa­tion.

There is a need to de­velop models that draw from but are not de­fined by ex­ist­ing re­search, us­ing be­havioural in­ter­view meth­ods so that the or­gan­i­sa­tion cre­ates a model that re­flects its own strat­egy, its own mar­ket, its own cus­tomers, and the com­pe­ten­cies that bring success in that spe­cific con­text . It is im­por­tant to fo­cus on one or two key ar­eas of im­ple­men­ta­tion rather than the whole HRD agenda in one scoop. Com­pe­tency map­ping can be rather good at pro­vid­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional pain re­lief when ap­plied ef­fec­tively−and so mak­ing the case for ex­tend­ing it.


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