Tuesday 18 October 2011

Competencies From a Non-HR Point of View

I’m a retired military officer, not an HR professional. Hence, I share your perspective as a newcomer to competencies. When I first heard of them, my first question was- what if you did not possess the competencies for your job? Were you incompetent? But that was before I learned that when properly used, competencies are a very powerful and significant way to ensure that an organization is performing at maximum productivity. In fact, I believe that competency-based organizations have a major advantage over their competition.

Competencies are the basis for the proper management of your workforce, but it takes commitment from the people, and guts and determination at the top, to maintain the aim and purpose for using them. A simple definition of competencies can help start you on the right track.

Generally speaking, ‘competencies’ are the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed for success in a job. It is the job that is paramount and the proper selection of those KSAs for that job that makes the difference in whether they are successfully applied or not. The knowledge and skill elements are somewhat easier to determine than the abilities, but it is in this last area where the benefits of competency-based systems are proven most valuable. Nevertheless, it takes an expert to accurately determine what abilities are appropriate for the jobs under consideration.

The proper definition and application of competencies can take the strategic vision and plan of your organization and transform it into reality. How can competencies do all that? First of all, it is people that have to execute your plan and that requires that the right people are in the right place doing the right things with the right tools. Competencies are the way to ensure that is done correctly.

Think of it this way. If you know, and I mean know, all of the KSAs required for each job in your organization, then you can develop a means of hiring people who have the proper KSAs for the jobs. You can assess and evaluate people for promotion. You can develop performance measures and assessments for development. You can develop training programs to meet specific KSA gaps and needs. You can match people to jobs, you can develop succession systems and you can have a high degree of assurance that your decisions on people are the right decisions.

This post is based on content from 'Competencies from a non-HR Point of View' by Bill Cowperthwaite

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