Competency modeling

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Competency modeling is a process which describes a required competency. The description of required competencies may concern a single workplace, the whole department or a job category. Therefore, some kind of models are created. They describe individual tasks in the workplace, how the employee should behave and the characteristics required of them (W.J. Rothwell 2004, p. 34). That is why competency modeling is mainly used when selecting candidates for a specific job position, planning further employee development and planning changes in the structure and strategy of the company (B. Gaddis, B. Ferrel 2018, p. 30). There are two types of competency modeling. One of them is defined and described as individual competencies like skills, abilities and knowledge which are required of each employee. The second type is defined and described competencies which dependent on the organizational culture of the entire company. Individual competency requirements must be combined with the company's broader goals (E. Biech 2011, p. 181). 7 steps or stages can be distinguished in the process of competency modeling. There are (A.F. Marrelli, J. Tondora, M.A. Hoge 2005, p. 539-558):

  • defining goals - the objectives should be described clearly and in detail. Each competency should also be defined, as it can be a single skill, personality trait, knowledge or a group of two or more factors,
  • finding a sponsor - the sponsor, in this case, maybe the general manager, department manager or the general board. It is important that it has an impact on the right units and can provide the necessary support by engaging various types of resources,
  • elaborating and implementing plans of communication and education - everyone involved in this plan must be convinced that they will benefit. Therefore, people should be kept informed of actions taken and their effects,
  • planning the methodology - should be selected by the group of people on whom the methods are to be used on a later stage of the task. They will provide important information for the project,
  • identifying competencies and creating the Competency Model - matching competencies in groups based on various criteria and creating a model,
  • applying the Competency Model - the model should be used in all aspects of management for objective assessment,
  • evaluating and updating the Competency Model - assessment and possible correction of the model.

Differences between competency modeling and traditional job analysis

Competency modeling is sometimes considered as an identical concept or development of traditional work analysis. However, there are some differences between them. They concern, among others (J.I. Sanchez, E.L. Levine 2009, p. 54):

  • reason - in traditional job analysis behaviour is described, while in competency modeling behaviour is influenced,
  • view of the job - traditional job analysis is aimed at describing an external object, competency modeling - a role,
  • time orientation - traditional job analysis focuses on what was in the past, competency modeling focuses on, what will happen in the future,
  • performance level - traditional job analysis focuses on typical capabilities, norms, in turn, competency modeling focuses on maximum possibilities.

Traditional work analysis also focuses on the work itself and the tasks it performs. He mainly takes into account hard skills and focuses on the differences that exist between individual positions. Competency modeling, in turn, focuses mainly on employees. Soft skills and personality traits of employees that are taken into account here. Competency modeling also looks for similarities between tasks at individual workplaces (C. Cooper, S. Cartwright 2008, p. 156).

Examples of Competency modeling

  1. Define the competency: Identifying the core competencies that are necessary for an individual or group to perform a job successfully.
  2. Assess the competency: Assessing existing competency gaps and needs in order to determine what skills and knowledge must be developed or acquired.
  3. Develop a competency profile: Creating a competency profile that outlines the required competencies and associated behaviors.
  4. Design a competency framework: Developing a framework that defines the competencies and associated behaviors needed to achieve organizational objectives.
  5. Evaluate the results: Evaluating the results to ensure that the competency model is effective and that desired outcomes are achieved.
  6. Implement the competency model: Implementing the competency model, including training, development and performance management processes.
  7. Monitor and review: Monitoring and reviewing the competency model to ensure that it is up-to-date and meeting the needs of the organization.

For example, a company that specializes in customer service may use competency modeling to identify the skills and knowledge needed for employees to provide excellent customer service. The company might identify customer service competencies such as communication skills, problem-solving skills, and a commitment to customer satisfaction. It might also identify customer service behaviors such as being polite and courteous, being able to quickly identify customer needs, and being able to respond to customer requests in a timely manner. The company could then use this competency model to evaluate job applicants, provide customer service training, and develop performance management processes.

Advantages of Competency modeling

Competency modeling has numerous advantages. It enables employers to identify the skills and capabilities that are necessary for a particular role or job. Furthermore, it helps to match employees to available positions and develop a succession plan for future positions. Additionally, it helps to identify potential training needs and career paths for employees. Furthermore, it can be used as an effective tool in recruitment and selection process. Last but not least, it helps to enhance the overall performance of the organization.

  • It enables employers to identify the skills and capabilities that are necessary for a particular role or job.
  • It helps to match employees to available positions and develop a succession plan for future positions.
  • It helps to identify potential training needs and career paths for employees.
  • It can be used as an effective tool in recruitment and selection process.
  • It helps to enhance the overall performance of the organization.

Limitations of Competency modeling

Competency modeling is a useful tool for developing staff and selecting the right candidates for a certain job position, but it is not without its limitations. The following are some of the potential drawbacks of competency modeling:

  • Lack of context: Competency models may be too narrowly focused on the individual tasks and behaviors without considering the broader context in which they occur.
  • Subjective perspective: Competency models often reflect a particular view of the world, which may be at odds with the reality of the workplace.
  • Unpredictable results: Competency models can be difficult to predict, as the skills and behaviours of individuals can change over time.
  • Difficulty in implementation: Implementing competency models can be difficult, as it requires not only the right people but also the right resources and processes.
  • Expense: Competency models can be expensive to develop and implement, as they require time, resources and expertise.

Other approaches related to Competency modeling

  • In addition to the main process of competency modeling, there are other approaches related to it. These include:
  • Identification of Competencies - This involves assessing the skills, knowledge and abilities that are required to perform a particular job. It is important to identify the skill gaps and develop training programs to bridge them.
  • Performance Management - This involves setting performance goals and measuring the employee's progress against those goals. It helps to ensure that employees are on track for success.
  • Leadership Development - This involves developing leadership skills in employees, such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and delegation.
  • Change Management - This involves managing the transition from one state to another in a structured and planned way. It helps to ensure that employees are able to adapt quickly to the changes.
  • Strategic Planning - This involves developing a plan for the future of the organization. It helps to ensure that the organization is able to achieve its goals.

In summary, competency modeling is a process which describes the required competencies for a particular job or organizational role. In addition to the main process of competency modeling, there are other related approaches such as identification of competencies, performance management, leadership development, change management, and strategic planning. All of these approaches help to ensure that the employees are well-equipped to meet the demands of their job and the organization.

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Author: Paulina Jurusik, Justyna Niemiec, Aleksandra Marcinkowska