Friday 23 September 2011

Are Your Competencies Defensible?: More Key Questions to Consider

When considering whether your competencies are defensible, there are key questions you can ask:

Were the job / work content experts representative of the stakeholders who understand the work?In line with the need to have job / work content experts participating in the definition of the competency requirements, there is a need to ensure appropriate representation, especially when dealing with jobs, functions or work commonly performed across of the organization. This could be the case when there are many people performing one job, when a number of jobs contain common elements (e.g. management or supervisory responsibilities), or when identifying competencies that tend to be common or core to organizational areas or functions. Factors to consider in choosing expert participants include:

  • who understands or typifies the job and desired level of performance;
  • representation of different stakeholder interests; and,representation of the diversity of the role (geographically, functionally, culturally, size of operation, region vs. HQ)
Is the level of competence used as the standard in making the employment decision reflective of the level actually needed?

Organizations must consider very carefully the level of performance that the competency profile represents. Many providers of competency profiling services argue that because organizations are driven to excellence, the standard for the development of competency profiles should be the superior performer. Competencies that document superior performance may be appropriate as standards or targets for employees who are seeking to improve (e.g. training and development). However, competencies defined at this level may not be appropriate if used to support recruitment and staffing decisions, especially if it is recognized that employees need time, training and / or development after appointment to become ‘superior’ performers.

Organizations, therefore, need to consider carefully the level of competence that will be described in the competency profile relative to how the profile will be used within the organization (e.g. recruitment and selection; development once in the job; etc.). In some cases, organizations choose to set different standards depending on the competency application (e.g., one standard for entry into a job / role, another standard for fully effective performance once the employee has been oriented or trained for the job, and possibly a third standard that represents full mastery or excellence in the job / role).

This post is based on content from 'Are Your Competencies Defensible?' by Human Resource Systems Group, Ltd.

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