Competency Mapping is a process of identifying key competencies for a company or institution and the jobs and functions within it. Competency mapping is important and is an essential exercise.

Every well managed firm should – have well defined roles and list of competencies required to perform each role effectively. Such list should be used for recruitment, performance management, promotions, placement and training needs identification.

Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Competency Mapping 2. Meaning of Competency Mapping 3. Concept 4. Need 5. Components 6. Objectives and Purpose 7. Approaches 8. Framework 9. Process 10. Assessment Centre as a Method of Competency Mapping 11. Models 12. Outcomes 13. Benefits.

Competency Mapping: Introduction, Meaning, Process, Objectives, Methods, Models, Approaches, Benefits, Need and More…

Introduction to Competency Mapping

Competency mapping is a way of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a worker or organization. It is about identifying a person’s job skills and strengths in areas like teamwork, leadership and decision making. Thus, it is about identifying a person’s job skills and strengths in the areas like teamwork, leadership and decision-making.


Many competency mapping models break down strengths in to two major areas- functional and behavioral. Functional skills include practical knowledge that a person needs to perform a job. For e.g. functional requirements for a secretary might include familiarity with computer systems and office machinery as well as bookkeeping knowledge. These skills are generally easy to measure through skill tests and can define whether a worker is capable of carrying out his or her responsibilities.

Competency Mapping is a process of identifying key competencies for a company or institution and the jobs and functions within it. Competency mapping is important and is an essential exercise. Every well managed firm should – have well defined roles and list of competencies required to perform each role effectively. Such list should be used for recruitment, performance management, promotions, placement and training needs identification.

The competency framework serves as the bedrock for all HR applications. As a result or competency mapping, all the HR processes like talent induction, management development, appraisals and training yield much better results.

Behavioral assessment is more difficult to quantify and is the focus of most competency studies. It examines personal skills such as leadership, active listening, teamwork and morale. This type of testing is important for getting a complete picture of an individual’s skill set.


The use of Competencies can include: assessment during recruitment through specific work-based exercises and relevant, validated, psychometric tests; assessment of further development; as a profile during assessment to guide future development needs; succession planning and promotion; organisational development analysis.

Techniques used to map Competencies include Critical Incident Analysis and Repertory Grid.

Competency mapping is an approach that has the objective of helping an organization align individual development with the strategic objectives of the company.

Competency Mapping Meaning

The term ‘competency mapping’ has gained a wider circulation and importance among academicians and businesses in recent times. In a competitive business scenario, organizations have felt the utmost need for procuring and retaining competent employees and developing distinct competencies. Most of the jobs contain some critical elements or parts.


To perform or fulfill these parts, it is important for the employees to have special competencies. It is also natural that some people perform a particular job more effectively than others. This difference exists because a particular individual may have certain competencies that other individuals might lack. This might help him/her to have an edge over the other in a particular job.

An organization examines every job to ascertain the component parts and the work environment in which it is performed. The process of examining a job is termed as job analysis. Job analysis com­prises two functions, namely, job description and job specification. These are interrelated, interactive, and interdependent. Job description comprises job orientation, whereas job specification is oriented towards the jobholder.

In other words, job description is a broad statement, which consists of the pur­pose, duties, and responsibilities of a job, all taken together. Job specification, on the other hand, is also a broad statement, which specifies only the qualities required for a job holder.

It is evidenced that in earlier days, people in an organization were convinced that technical skills of the people in the research and development team was primarily responsible for the increased performance/ output. On further exploration and extended study, it was revealed much to their surprise, that one of the most important differentiators between top performers and all others was their presentation skills.


The key to validate these competencies is to determine the competencies (technical or interpersonal skills) and differentiate the best from the rest. Otherwise, one ends up with a very subjective data.

Let us recall the saying, ‘Winners do not do different things, they do things differently’. Past experi­ence shows that exceptional performers use a variety of approaches to get their job done. These approaches and behaviour chosen by these exceptional performers differ from those who perform at specified levels.

If one thinks about the teachers and doctors who are renowned in their fields, it can be observed that sound technical knowledge and skills are not the only basis of their distinctive competence. It is also their behaviour that has made them excellent, exceptional, and distinguished in their respective areas.

One definitely believes that a doctor who cured an ailing relative is ‘next to God’. Competencies provide a means of looking at the behaviour that differentiates the best from the rest, and a common language for talking about critical on-the-job behaviour.


In today’s business scenario, which is characterized by mergers, acquisitions, growing competition constant threats, and high degrees of uncertainties, most managers constantly face stressful situations. One must agree that a manager has to cope with all these challenges and yet, perform well. A complex combination of competencies comes into play to achieve success.

To some extent, competencies are also believed to be a result of academic training and experience. Learning and development takes place at three separate levels – knowledge, skill, and competency. Sanghi (2004) elucidates the conceptual difference among the three with the following example.

Knowledge comes through reading (a person understands the meaning of driving a car). Skill develops through practicing (the person is shown how to drive a car and is allowed to practice in a non-traffic area). Competence refers to applying the skill (the person exhibits the ability to drive in traffic).

Concept of Competency Mapping

Competency Mapping is processes of identifying key competencies for an organisation and/or a job and incorporating those competencies throughout the various processes (i.e., job evaluation, training, recruitment) of the organisation. It generally examines two areas – emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ), and strengths of the individual in areas like team structure, leadership, and decision-making.


Large organisations frequently employ some form of competency mapping to understand how to most effectively employ the competencies of strengths of workers. Competency mapping can also be done for contract or freelance workers, or for those seeking employment to emphasise the specific skills which would make them valuable to a potential employer. These kinds of skills can be determined, when one is ready to do the work.

Boyatzis(1980) – “A capacity that exists in a person that leads to behaviour that meets the job demands within parameters of organisational environment, and that, in turn brings about desired results”.

Competency mapping consists of breaking a given role or job into constituent tasks or activities and identifying the competencies (technical, managerial, behavioural, conceptual knowledge, attitudes, skills, etc.) needed to perform the same successfully.

The entire process right from identifying competencies (different sets of competencies – for specific jobs as well as for entire organizations) to defining them, standardizing them on a rating scale along with behavioural indicators for measurement, selecting ways of measuring those competencies and linking it up to other HR systems such as training and performance management, is called competency management. Most companies develop competency models to capture the essence of their competency management framework.


Job-competency profiles, sometimes referred to as job-competency models, are created by identifying the competencies required for someone to be successful in a role and specifying the degree of proficiency required for each one. The number of competencies identified for a job-competency profile depends on a number of factors, but often a superior role performer sets the benchmarks.

Competency mapping places competencies as the pillar of talent management. Defining competencies in a standardized manner helps define the organization’s talent management framework, because the competencies act as a common foundation. Standardizing a competency is crucial for organizational success as it implies that employees understand what is meant by a certain competency term.

Need for Competency Mapping

Competency mapping has gained commonness, momentum, and popularity. The old maxim, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ has lost its validity in view of the fast changing business environment. In order to cope with the changing world economy and keeping in view that the world is becoming a global vil­lage, companies have become more aware of the need for having competent employees and developing distinguished competencies for every organization.

In terms of quality of people, organizations need fast and consistent manpower. As such, in the sharper focus of management, competency mapping is engaged in the collection and constellation of information about the appropriate talent in various levels.

The needs for competency mapping are enumerated here:

1. The cost of manpower is becoming increasingly high.


2. Realization of the truth that people can transform an organization.

3. Getting more from the people rather than getting more people.

4. Increased customer focus; identifying and fulfilling implied customer needs and expectations.

5. Recognizing the fact that the right kind of human resources can monitor and manage the technology, finance, market, customers, customer relationship, processes, procedures, and the system effectively.

6. Importance of role performer vis-a-vis time management.

In the era of competitive business, hunting for talent and managing them properly is a crucial task for HR professionals. As a result, the top management and HRD directors or managers are paying atten­tion to competencies of the workforce. Hence, competency and competency mapping are important and essential exercises.

5 Key Components of Competency Mapping Identification of Competencies, Competency Models, Employee Competency Assessment and Many More…

Competency mapping is the process of modelling the right set of competencies at the required proficiency levels for specific roles in an organization. The competency framework developed by an organization either internally or with the help of external HR consultants or through readily available off-the-shelf models, acts as a basis for this process.


Key components of competency mapping are:

1. Identification of Competencies:

Various competencies such as workplace competencies, core competencies, and threshold competencies, differentiating competencies, technical and behavioural competencies have to be identified by the organization. The competency framework must not just identify job specific competencies but also define those competencies that are essential for superior performance on the job.

2. Competency Models:

An organization can use an existing competency model often referred to as ‘Off-the-shelf’ ready to use models or can develop its own models. A popular approach is to customize an existing one as per organization’s needs.


The competency framework must also draw synergies between various HR systems such as using the competency framework for selecting the most competent candidates (both internally and externally), training them on the gaps in competencies, measuring their on-the-job performance through competency based objectives, and lastly and most importantly, linking the competency framework to the career management systems in the organization.

3. Employee Competency Assessment:

The competency framework should also extend itself in developing the behavioral indicators for each of the identified competency so that observation and measurement of the identified competencies becomes possible. The HR department would create ways of measuring competencies so that the model can be actually put to use. Some methods include assessment centers, potential appraisals, 360 degree feedback, etc.

4. Competency Development:

The surest way of developing talent in any organization is by developing competencies of workforce. This has to be a continuous process and not a sporadic event or even series of events.

5. Linking Competency Framework to Other HR Systems:


A competency management framework should be synergized with other HR systems for optimal utilization of the same.

Objectives and Purpose of Competency Mapping

The concept of competency mapping now exists in organizations with well-developed HR practices. HR directors and their top management have always paid attention to consider competencies and incorporated them in the appraisal forms in order to improve the performance management system. Companies such as Larsen & Toubro, National Dairy Development Board, Life Insurance Corpora­tion of India, Hindustan Lever Ltd (presently Hindustan Unilever Ltd), NOCIL Ltd, Bharat Petroleum, and so on, have felt the utmost need for management of competencies and revised their performance appraisal systems.

Some of their objec­tives while performing their competency mapping are as follows:

1. Identifying the key success factors

2. Pinpointing triggers for each role

3. Laying direction for superior performance


4. Setting defined expectations from employees

5. Serving means for communicating performance expectations

6. Ensuring that the employees obtain greater transparency about their roles

7. Providing opportunities for development

8. Creating a more empowered workforce

9. Employing the workforce effectively

Therefore, from the discussion, it is clear that competency mapping is important.


The main purpose of competency mapping is to ensure effectiveness of an organization in terms of having a clear idea regarding the summation of the required competencies.

This facilitates further:

1. Gap analysis in competencies

2. Role clarity

3. Selection, potential identification, growth plans.

4. Succession planning.

5. Restructuring

6. Inventory of competencies for future planning.

6 Important Approaches to Competency Mapping Expert Opinion, Structured Interviews, Workshops, Critical Incident Techniques, Repertory Grid Analysis and More

Competency analysis is concerned with behavioural dimensions of roles while competence analysis considers what people have to do to perform well. In an organisation a tailor-made competency schedule is carried out by specialists or management consultants or both. Line managers may be consulted but the frameworks are issued to them in accordance with procedures laid down for such processes laid down for such processes as performance management. Although the first draft may be developed in-house but when practiced the suggested changes can improve it further.

There are 6 approaches to competence analysis:

1. Expert Opinion

2. Structured Interviews

3. Workshops

4. Critical Incident Techniques

5. Repertory Grid Analysis

6. Job Competency Assessment

Approach # 1. Expert Opinion:

This method involves an expert member of the HR dept. possibly discussing with the other experts and referring to the published list to draw up “What counts”. The major drawback of this method is that it lacks detailed analysis and the line managers have not been involved at any step so it may be unacceptable.

Approach # 2. Structured Interviews:

Here we require the list of competences prepared by experts and the job-holders. The key result areas of a particular are identified to analyse the behavioural characteristics, which distinguish performers at different levels of competence.

The positive and negative indicators required for achieving high levels of performance can be analysed as:

i. Personal drive (achievement motivation)

ii. Analytical power

iii. Creative thinking

iv. Team Management

v. Interpersonal skills

vi. Communication skills

This approach relies too much on the experts.

Approach # 3. Workshops:

A team of experts (knowledge and experience holders), managers, job-holders along with a facilitator (not from personnel department) or a consultant work together in a workshop. The activities of workshop initiate with defining job related competence area. Then the members of the group develop examples of effective and less effective behaviour recorded on flipcharts. The facilitators’ job is to help the group to analyse its findings and assist generally to set competency dimensions which can be identified by behaviour.

Approach # 4. Critical Incident Technique:

This is a means of eliciting data about effective or less effective behaviour related to actual events- critical incidents.

The technique is used with groups of job holders, their managers and expert in following ways:

i. Explain what the technique is and what are its uses. This helps to gather the real information regarding the behaviours constituting good or poor performance

ii. Listing the key areas of responsibilities for a particular job.

iii. Each area of job can be discussed and relating to critical incidents

iv. Collect information about the critical incidents under the following headings-

a. What were the circumstances?

b. What did an individual do?

c. What was the outcome of the efforts of the individual?

v. Same process is repeated for each area of responsibility and various critical incidents are recorded.

vi. On referring to the flipchart, analysing the critical incidents, the recorded behaviour is marked on a scale from one to five.

vii. These ratings are discussed and re-discussed for reducing errors.

viii. Final analysis-It lists the desired competence, performance indicators for each principal accountability or main task.

Approach # 5. Repertory Grid:

Repertory grid can be used to identify the dimensions that distinguish good from poor standards of performance. This technique is based on Kelly’s personal construct theory. Personal constructs are the ways in which we view the world. They are personal because they are highly individual and they influence the way we behave or view other people’s behaviour. The aspects of the job to which these ‘constructs’ or judgements apply are called ‘elements’.

A group of people concentrate on certain elements (work or task of job holder) and develop constructs for them. This helps to define the qualities which indicate the essential requirements for successful performance.

The procedure being followed by an ‘analyst’ is called ‘triadic’ method of elicitation and involves following steps:

a. Identify the elements of the job to be analysed.

b. List the tasks on cards.

c. Draw three cards randomly from the pack of cards and ask the group members to select the odd one out from the point of view of the qualities and characteristics needed to perform it.

d. Try to obtain more specific definitions of these qualities in the form of expected behaviour.

e. Again draw three cards from the pack and repeat step c&d. Repeat the process unless all the cards have been analysed.

f. List all the constructs and ask the group members to rate each task on every quality using a six or seven point scale.

g. Collect and analyse the scores in order to assess their relative importance.

The repertory-grid analysis helps people to articulate their views by reference to specific examples. It is easier to identify behavioural competences required in a job by limiting the area through the triadic technique. This method of analysis is quite detailed and time- consuming.

Approach # 6. Job Competency Assessment:

The job competency assessment method as described by Spencer & Spencer (1993) and offered by Hay/McBer, is based on David Mc Clelland’s research on what competency under six clusters-

i. Achievement Cluster

ii. Helping/Service

iii. Influence

iv. Managerial

v. Cognitive

vi. Personal Effectiveness

The competency assessment method is used to model the competencies for a generic role i.e. for a position which is similar to many job holders and basic accountabilities are same. The method begins with assembling a panel of expert managers to express their vision of the job, its duties, responsibilities, difficult job components, likely future changes to the role and the criteria against which the job-holders performance is measured. The members do nominate some members to be outstanding or satisfactory.

The next step is to conduct ‘behavioural event interview’ with nominated job-holders to focus upon the distinction between a person’s concept and what a person actually does. This employs a structured probe strategy rather than a standard set of questions. This investigative interview helps to gather most accurate performance data.

Following this analysis, differentiations can be made between superior and average performers in the form of the:

(a) Competencies possessed by superior performers

(b) Activities undertaken by average performers

(c) Competency and average criteria for both superior and average performers.

Competency Mapping Framework (How to Develop Competency Framework)

Competency framework refers to the conceptual structure in an organization relating to the behavioural elements of employees. It is an illustration of the softer skills that are essential for effective performance. The frameworks have slowly become broader and more ambitious in scope and include more technical competencies. This development has been given an even greater momentum by the use of personal computers and the intranet.

While designing a competency framework, care must be taken that only measurable components are included. It is advised to restrict the number and complexity of competencies in a framework, typically aiming for no more than 12 for any particular role (preferably less), and arranging them into clusters to make the framework more accessible to the users. The definitions and examples for each competency must also be provided.

When supporting talent management, the competency framework is an essential resource for understanding the current performance of the employees. Of course, it is a recognized fact that talent management is a future-focused activity, and it measures an individual’s future potential and motivation that are also embraced in the decision-making process.

Competency framework refers to a conceptual framework and it plays an important all aspects of talent management, including talent acquisition, talent development, performance management, and talent separation. For studying the use of competency framework in an organization, one would need to glance into the detailed aspects of these processes. However, there might be one area where the linkage between competency framework and a process is visible, partially, or fully.

Job descriptions are prepared considering the position in an organization, the associated nature of duty, and the competency framework developed for that particular position. We find job descriptions everywhere, in newspapers, on job search portals, and on a company’s website as well. Nowadays, one can search job openings on the company’s website by giving keywords, location, etc.

By adopting and applying a consistent competency framework across their organization, employ­ers can ensure that they recruit the most suitable candidates, identify high potentials at an early stage, promote the right individuals, and increase retention through structured performance management and career development planning.

The competency framework holds many separate competencies that may be arranged into five core clusters—thinking, relating, leading, self-managing, and achieving.

1. Thinking – cognitive and intellectual competencies. This cluster includes competency identification skill, business understanding skill, organization behaviour understanding skill, project management skill, electronic system skill, facilities selection skill, etc.

2. Relating – social or interpersonal competencies. This cluster demands building bridges of relationship; creating networking and partnering.

3. Leading – managerial competencies (logical thinking, analytical thinking, stress management, leadership skills, planning and organizing skills, and problem analysis and decision-making). It comprises several skills—building a strong team of people, creating a learning environment, monitoring and reviewing business situations periodically, attracting talent, preventing attrition, recognizing innovative work done, sharing ideas regarding organizational growth, etc.

4. Self-managing – competencies relating to emotions, stimulation, motivation, driving forces, and reactions; the degree of influences on effectiveness and efficiency, and analysing how these influence effectiveness and efficiency.

5. Achieving – result-focused competencies relating to achievement of business goals. Negotiation skill, presentation skill, visioning skills, etc. are all essential to achieve business results.

Developing a Competency Framework:

An organization can develop its competency framework in different ways. Generally, companies draw their competency framework keeping in view their occupational standards. Frameworks developed in this way are often linked with progression towards recognized qualifications.

Many organizations develop their competency frameworks through an internal research programme for which they engage advisers from consultancy services. The method of developing a framework ranges from importing an existing and available package to developing the entire framework from scratch by departmental experts.

The best solution usually lies between these two extremes, namely, internally generating a framework that builds relevance in business and done by adapting the existing models that have already been widely used and have been proved successful.

It is evident that many organizations develop a competency/behaviour framework with a view to effectively manage performance and progression. However, many managers find it difficult to use the frameworks and as such, fail to achieve their individual goals. Thus, the goals of the organization remain unachieved. The most common reason for this failure is that people are not adequately trained and they do not see the benefit of the framework.

In addition to this, people must be clear about the framework. In fact, many frameworks are a mix of different concepts. There are not clear links as to what the business is aiming to achieve; many frameworks are a mix of different concepts, which makes them clumsy and cumbersome.

Competency Mapping Process (With Stages and Steps)

The competency mapping process does not fit the one-size-fits all formula. It has to be specific to the user organization. It is better to develop models that draw from but are not defined by existing research, using behavioural interview methods so that the organization creates a model that reflects its own strategy, its own market, its own customers, and the competencies that bring success in that specific context (including national culture).

Start with small, discrete groups or teams, ideally in two directions-a ‘horizontal slice’ across the business that takes in a multi-functional or multi-site group, more or less at the same organizational level, and a ‘vertical slice’ taking in one whole department or team from top to bottom. From that, the organization can learn about the process of competency modeling, and how potential alternative formats for the models may or may not fit the needs of the business.

It is important to focus on one or two key areas of implementation rather than the whole HRD agenda in one scoop. So if recruitment and selection or performance management are they key strategic needs of the business, and where the pain is being felt, then start there. It is advisable to being with a ‘horizontal’ slice of the management or senior-most team as the benefits will percolate down to the whole organization.

Competency mapping refers to the process of identifying the key skills required for accomplishing tasks at a particular position. On completion of this process, the map becomes an input for several other HR processes such as job-evaluation; recruitment; training and development; performance management; and succession planning.

The mapping process starts with the understanding of the vision and mission of the organization, followed by translating them into specific, measurable, and time-bound business goals. It then goes on to clearly outlining an organization’s structure, identifying various levels and positions, as well as reporting relationships obtained within the structure.

HR professionals initially draw a distinction between competencies and competences. Though these two terms are often used interchangeably, competency more precisely refers to employee behaviour whereas competence highlights on employee performances, skills, or their results.

The competency mapping process consists of the following stages:

Stage 1:

Designing the questionnaire for data collection.

While designing the questionnaire following factors are to be taken into consideration:

a. Knowing the Purpose of the job

b. Identifying the Critical Success Factors

c. Identifying the Key Result Areas

d. Breaking KRAs into Key Activities

Stage 2:

Data Collection:

a. Clarity of Organization Direction

b. Clarity of Organization Structure.

c. Interview Job Holder.

d. Interview Job Holder’s Reporting Officer.

e. Discuss with the Focus Group if the job are of the same family.

Stage 3:

This Stage Involves:

a. Rank Order of the list of competencies (Guided/Unguided)

b. Comparing good performer and average performer with selected list of competencies.

c. Use research data and assign competencies to positions.

Stage 4:

Finalize Role Descriptions and Competencies-Job Wise.

The following is the step-by-step process for competency mapping:

Step I – Development of Core Competencies:

In this step, the leadership of the organization meets to brainstorm which core competencies the organization requires in order to achieve its objectives, goals, and vision. Examples of core competencies that are usually essential in organizations are problem-solving, team-building, decision-making, and communication skills.

Step 2 – Assessing Competency Levels Required Across Positions:

After the leadership decides which competencies are essential, it is necessary to determine the degree to which, and manner in which, these competencies are required in each type of position (i.e., Sales Manager, Receptionist, and CEO). This assessment can be made through interviews with incumbents of sample positions, using a Position Information Questionnaire (PIQ).

Step 3 – Developing Competency-Based Job Descriptions:

Following the interview process, job descriptions can be developed that include not only duties and reporting relationships but the core competency descriptions that are tailored to each position. The same competencies are included in each employee’s performance appraisal instrument so that he/she is evaluated on the same criteria that are specified in the job description.

Step 4 – Competency-Based Matrix:

For career development purposes, new employees (or potential employees) will be interested in career progression options available once they master different competency levels. As career options become more complex and sophisticated, the core competencies are elevated in terms of sophistication as well.

Step 5 – Individual Development Planning:

Using the job-descriptions and the performance appraisal process as a foundation, Human Resources can provide coaching for individuals based on their unique developmental needs. For example- if a sales representative is interested in a position as Sales Manager, Human Resources professional can counsel this person about current strengths and areas for improvement and point out the competency levels required for the higher level position.

Then the employee and the HR person can jointly map out a plan for the employee’s development (courses, workshops, mentoring, etc.)

Assessment Centre as a Method of Competency Mapping

“Assessment Centre” is a mechanism to identify the potential for growth. It is a procedure that uses a variety of techniques to evaluate employees for manpower purpose and decisions. It was initiated by American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1960. An essential feature of the assessment center is the use of situational test to observe specific job behaviour.

Since it is with reference to a job, elements related to the job are simulated through a variety of tests. The assessors observe the behaviour and make independent evaluation of what they have observed, which results in identifying strengths and weaknesses of the attributes being studied?

The International Personnel Management Association (IPMA) has identified the following elements, essential for a process to be considered as assessment center:

i. Job analysis of relevant behaviour to determine attributes, skills, etc., for effective job performance and what should be evaluated by assessment center.

ii. Techniques used must be validated to assess the dimensions of skills and abilities.

iii. Multiple assessment techniques must be used.

iv. Assessment techniques must include job related simulations.

v. Multiple assessors must be used for each assesse.

vi. Assessors must be thoroughly trained.

vii. Behavioural observations by assessors must be classified into some meaningful and relevant categories of attributes, skills and abilities, etc.

viii. Systematic procedures should be used to record observations.

ix. Assessors must prepare a report.

x. All information thus generated must be integrated either by discussion or application of statistical techniques.

Data thus generated can become extremely useful in identifying employees with potential for growth.

Competency Mapping Models

Before discussing competency models, it is desirable to understand the term ‘competency’. According to Morrelli et al., ‘A competency is a measurable human capability that is required for effective perfor­mance. A competency may be comprised of knowledge, a single skill or ability, a personal characteristic, or a cluster of two or more of these attributes’. This means that competencies facilitate and lead to supe­rior results.

So far as a competency model is concerned, it lists the competencies required for delivering. It is essen­tially a model built on the foundation of inherent talents, incorporating the types of skills and knowledge, that can be acquired through learning efforts and experience.

There are several competency models.

Some of the main ones are as follows:

1. Customised generic method – As per this method, organisations use a probable list of compe­tencies that are diagnosed internally to aid in their selection of a generic model and then vali­date it with the input of outstanding and average performers.

2. Job competence assessment method – This is generated using interviews and observations of outstanding and average performers to determine the competencies that differentiates between them in critical incidents.

3. Flexible job competency model method – This seeks to diagnose the competencies that will be required to perform effectively under different conditions in the future.

4. Accelerated competency system method – This lays emphasis on the competencies that spe­cifically support the production of output such as an organisation’s products, services or information.

5. Modified job competence assessment method – This also identifies such behavioural differ­ences as in the job competence assessment method, but to reduce costs, interviewees provide a written account of critical incidents.

6. Systems method – This method requires reflecting on not only what exemplary performers do now, or what they do overall, but also behaviours that may be important in the future.

Which model or approach or method should be chosen depends on the circumstances of the organisa­tion concerned, but it should be ensured that it should be practically implementable and that the behav­iours described in the model correlate with effectiveness on the job. In other words, it should be able to deliver the expected results.

Desired Outcomes of Competency Mapping for Organisations and Employees

Competency-Based HR Practices – Desired Outcomes for Organizations:

1. Enhance the Marketing Position:

Competency-based applications can also improve the stature of an organization in terms of enhancing the employability brand of the organization.

2. Hiring Effectiveness:

Competency-based efforts can have a positive effect on hiring and turnover. Improved recruiting and selection processes deliver employees who are more qualified for their new jobs.

3. Better Internal Placement:

Similarly, positions can be filled more effectively with properly qualified internal candidates. Employees who are ready to move up can be readily identified and promoted. Employees who want to move up but are not qualified can be steered into necessary development activities. The result is more of the right people in the right jobs.

4. Training/Development Efficiencies:

Organizations that train employees by title or by workgroup may be wasting a lot of productive time. Thirty-year employees may not need to be sitting next to new hires in some training class mandated by management. The goal for developing employees is just-in- time, just-as-needed. The immediate result of individual assessments is an easy win.

5. Increased Productivity:

Productivity can be improved three ways. First, enhanced selection of employees results in better across-the-board performance on the job. Second, time wasted in unnecessary development activities is converted to productive work time. Third, existing employees receive the development they want and need to be more effective in their jobs.

6. Better Organizational Performance:

Competency-based HR applications can contribute to the overall performance of the organization, although they are hard to isolate as a direct cause. They can deliver extremely large paybacks by helping organizations identify people who can help capture market share, shorten time to market, raise the level of customer service, be more innovative, improve efficiencies and make better decisions.

Competency-Based HR Practices – Desired Outcomes for Employees:

1. Understanding position requirements – Competency applications require a thorough grasp of the processes and skills/knowledge required to meet position performance standards.

2. Needed training – Competency assessments let employees indicate, in a low-risk manner, where they need help in getting their job done. It also lets them establish where they meet qualifications and where they need not waste time in unnecessary development activities.

3. Easier to show qualifications – When targeted business goals are not being met, the question arises whether the problem is people, processes, or uncontrollable outside factors. Competency assessments, along with the appraisal system, make it easier to show whether individual employees are properly trained and qualified.

4. Ability to prepare for the new/next job – Performance appraisals require that an employee be in a job for a period of time before the review takes place.

5. More rational HR decisions – Using competency assessment information, recruitment, hiring, placement, and promotion decisions are made much more objectively. Employees are hired, assessed, developed, and promoted based upon objective competencies rather than subjective preferences or unrelated factors such as seniority.

6. Assessment of competence makes it easy for the qualified worker to stand out and difficult for the unqualified worker to hide. Competency-based HR applications help migrate the responsibility for employee qualifications from management down to the individual worker (talent volatility).

Methods of Competency-Based Training Needs Identification:

Because of highly competitive environment, it is becoming difficult for organisations to determine whether their employees have the capabilities required for success. Hence, a good number of companies are making use of competency models to help them identify knowledge, skills and personal characteris­tics needed for successful performance in a job. This, in turn, helps in identifying the training needs of the employees of the organisation.

First, identify the job or position to be analysed and identify if there are any changes in the business strategy of the organisation and whether such changes in the business strategy need new competencies or old competencies need to be altered.

The next step to follow is to identify effective and ineffective performers using the approaches such as analysing one or more ‘star’ performers, surveying people who are familiar with the job and investigating benchmark data of good performers in other companies. The final step involves validating the model, that is, whether the competencies included in the model are really effective in getting the desired results.

Significant Benefits of Competency Mapping

Competency maps have many potential benefits for students and teaching staff. Of course, because staff and students share many goals, these benefits are not entirely divisible, some aspects of competency mapping will benefit both staff and students. A partial list of potential uses for competency mapping follows. It is likely that more benefits will be discovered as the technique matures.

i. Benefits for Staff:

If competency mapping can actually give a picture of the structure of the course as the students experience it, teaching staff will be able to use that picture as the basis for course refinement. The identification of key concepts is the first step towards designing a syllabus. The information gained can also be published to the students, for example by including it in the subject information handout that students usually receive in their first lecture, or by putting it on the courseware web page.

Of course, it is quite possible that the structure revealed by analysis of student results does not match the lecturer’s idea of the conceptual structure of the course. In this case, the revealed structure may suggest ways in which the course can be improved. For example, if two competencies that should be revealed (for example, C pointers and passing by reference) are not clustered together, it could indicate a need to make the connection more explicit to the students.

If the competency map uses all the coursework marks as input, this will not help the students of that year; however, it may well help teaching staff to refine the coursework for the next delivery of the course. It would also be useful to staff who are teaching follow-on courses, as they would gain a better idea of which topics need revision.

A competency map using only the marks for half of the course can be produced if staff wishes to refine the course on the fly, but care must be taken that the data are sufficient; if the only marks on record are the first six practical marks, it is unlikely that any useful conclusions can be drawn. It is not yet certain how many points are needed for competency mapping to be useful, but it is likely to depend on the amount and complexity of the course material.

These uses assume that competency mapping will educate the structure of the course. If, however, the technique does not do this, then there are still potential benefits; logically, we would expect that activities that test strongly related competencies should show correlation’s in their marks; if this is not the case there must be some reason. For example, written exam questions about linked lists might not correlate strongly with practical questions about linked lists if success in practical is more closely related to factors other than subject knowledge.

This could be the case if some students find their work environment operating system, compiler and editor-difficult to use. In this case, practical questions will tend to cluster much more strongly with other practical questions, and much less strongly with theory questions. The competency map can show that there is a problem, it is then up to the teaching staff to investigate that problem. Of course, competency mapping over subsequent years of the course will help the staff to know when they have ameliorated the problem.

In a University setting, competency mapping can be used to compare demographic subsets of students to students’ access to education, for example, if there is concern that students of non-English speaking background are finding a particular activity especially difficult because of the complex language used to explain it, then competency mapping can be applied separately to the results from students belonging to that group and the results compared to a competency map derived from the marks of the rest of the student body.

In this case, a problem with English would result in a distorted cluster arrangement; written-answer questions and questions with complex requirements would tend to cluster together. The technique may also be used to determine whether female students conceptualise the subject differently to male students. Again, if a problem is found, competency mapping over subsequent years will show staff whether the remedies are working.

ii. Benefits for Students:

The primary benefit of competency mapping for students is the increased understanding of the student viewpoint that the teaching staff will have, and resulting in likely course improvements. However, students should also benefit directly from it. A constructivist view of the teaching process suggests that students will assimilate new knowledge and gain new skills more readily if they can be made aware of how those new- competencies interrelate with knowledge and skills that are already mastered.

Of course, Lecturers know this, most new topics begin with an explanation is almost always exclusively verbal. Information about relationships is often best presented in visual form, especially if the relationships are multidimensional, but words are one-dimensional map of the course structure, may help students construct their understanding of the course material.

If it is possible to use competency mapping to break the subject down into components that are close to orthogonal, it should also be possible to design assessment on the basis of that break down. Once the components are known, assessment tasks can be designed that test them individually, or (since it is virtually impossible to test anything in isolation) as close to it as possible. Thus a test can be delivered to students that are quite small, but gives results that are interpretable in terms of the course’s competency map.

Because competency mapping measures correlation between task marks across students, it is obviously impossible to generate a competency map based on a single student’s data, however, numeric results can be presented alongside the group competency map for example, by shading regions that correspond to topics that the student needs to work on. In this way, a student may be able to use her test results to determine her own weaknesses, and then consult the map to see how they relate to the rest of the course; using this map and compass, she may find it easier to navigate through the material.

If she still has trouble understanding the material, she may ask a staff member for help. In this case, if the staff member has access to her test results, it would be easier to pinpoint the misconstruction that is at the heart of the problem. Experience shows that determining the problem is almost always harder and more time-consuming than solving it; figuring out what needs to be explained is more difficult than developing an explanation, especially considering that teachers can develop a set of explanations that work and reuse them.

This means that the student need not worry as much about coming to consultation, and (because consultation time can be used more effectively) the teaching staff are more likely to be free to help her.

To generate a concept map, cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling are applied to proximity data generated from the number of times, concepts were clustered together. Competency maps are generated in a similar way; after student marks, data is collected; cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling are applied to proximity data generated from the matrix of correlations between the marks.

Some Other Significant Benefits:

The advantages of having this kind of a competency management framework are manifold.

1. Provide competency based data on job specifications

2. Allowing organizations to use competency based interviewing technique as a selection methodology

3. Measuring employee performance based on pre-identified competencies

4. Permitting measurement of competencies for current and future job roles

5. Identifying learning needs based on competency gap

6. Developing the organizational leadership by constantly developing competencies of employees at managerial levels and above.

7. Introducing skill-based rewards to encourage competency development of employees

8. Managing employee career development initiatives by focusing on their competencies

9. Encouraging employees to initiate competency development plans to help them own and plan their career management

10. Competency development leads to talent development which benefits both employees and the employer