According to Gary Dessler, "competencies are demonstrable characteristics of a person that enable performance of a job". Competencies refer to abilities, attributes or skills that will leads to effective performance of a job (HR strategic pertners). Competency can apply at individual, team or organization. It is guidance for us to differentiate between the poor performance and good performance.
Generally, competencies are described in terms of behaviors. For instance, someone who serves the customers must always meet or exceed the customer's expectations and meet the changing customer needs at the same time.
Competencies emphasize not on what an employee can do but on what an employee can learn. Competencies can be developed with effort and support among the employees which will leads to effective performances. Competencies are not a tool for evaluating people for layoffs but for helping people to perform effectively and meeting job expectations.
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Competencies required for employees may differ from one another. Some examples of competencies are communication skills, interpersonal skills and leadership.
According to HR Strategic Partners, core competencies define the behaviors which are the keys for organization success. Core competencies are defined following the main goals and strategies of the organization. So, the company's goals, mission, vision and values must be fully understood first before defining the main competencies required. All employees must demonstrate all the skills and abilities defined in core competencies in order to achieve effective job performance as well as the organization's goal and objectives.
According to Jim Riley, core competencies are those capabilities that are very important for a business to be competitive in the market. We can know what competencies are expected to be possessed by the employees from the core competencies defined by the organization. The main purpose of the core competencies is to ensure the employees able to perform different tasks in different positions in the organization.
For instance, manufacturer of electronic equipment should be expert in designing the electronic components and circuits whereas the key areas of expertise for a ceramics manufacturer could be the routines and processes at the heart of the production process.
A core competency should enable a company accesses to a broad variety of markets and provides basic customer benefits and it should be hard for the competitors to simulate. This will ensure the company continues to grow and survive in the market.
Core competencies are not fixed and they need to be changed with the changes in the changes in organization's environment. So, core competencies have to be altered when the business grows and adapts to the new situation.
An organization should build up a competency model in order to benefits from competencies. A competency model is an organizing framework that states the competencies required for effective performance in a particular job. The competencies can be grouped into many types. Each type of competencies has their own importance at different application levels.
The first type of competencies is behavioral competencies. Behavioral competencies refer to the competencies which are required in the aspects of behavior. For instance, for an employee who works in a typing group in an organization, team working is the competency required by him. This is because when there is more works, he might need to help others in order to get the work done within the specified period.
The second type of competencies is threshold competencies. Threshold competencies refer to the quality needed by an individual to carry out a job. It is the minimum qualification needed to perform a job. For instance, for a typist, the threshold competency will be the knowledge about typing.
The third type of competencies is functional competencies. Functional competencies refer to the competencies which are required within specific functions. The functional competencies for different jobs are different. For instance, the competencies required for an accountant are distinct from the competencies required for the maintenance workers.
The fourth type of competencies is leadership competencies. Leadership competencies refer to the skills and characteristics of the leaders that we expect. For instance, the leader in an organization should be capable in managing execution.
Competency Iceberg Model
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The concept of competency can be explained with the help of an iceberg. Technical competencies which are visible such as knowledge and skill are above the surface whereas behavioral competencies such as self-image, trait and motive are hidden below the surface.
Knowledge is the information in the field of work that a person has either it is from education or experience. Skill is the ability of someone to do something well. Self-image is how a person views of himself, identity and worth. Trait is typical characteristics of a person. Motive is something that makes someone to behave in certain area such as need for achievement.
Technical competencies can be developed easily through training whereas behavioral competencies are harder to evaluate and develop. In order to get an employee best suit for a particular job, the company need to look into both visible components and hidden components of competencies as the behavioral competencies directly affect the usage of knowledge and skills to complete a job effectively.
Competency-based training is an approach to learning which focuses on what an employee can do in the workplace as a result of their training. Generally, competency-based training is based on the performance standards which have been set by the company. Employee who has the skills and knowledge required to carry out the activities and achieves the job performance expected in an organization can be considered as an employee who has successfully achieve competency.
Competency-based training system includes not only the training courses which are related to job performance but also identification of level of competences required for different job level in an organization. For instance, competency-based training system of bank determines the competencies needed for entry-level tellers and the competencies needed for managers of loan administrators.
Employees can try to develop themselves in order to achieve the professional development goals by looking at the competencies required for different job levels. For instance, an employee who wishes to be a manager would work harder to achieve the competencies required by a manager.
Job skills analysis is required in order to develop competency-based training. Looking into every job descriptions in an organization and identifying the knowledge and skills and level of competence required to perform a job. Training can only be organized to support performance at different levels such as entry level and upper management level after the competencies are defined. Meanwhile, the level of competence required for performance can be established as well.
Competency-based training system will help an organization achieve results.
Competency-based job analysis
Competency-based job analysis means describing a job in terms of measurable, observable, behavioral competencies that an employee doing the job must exhibit to do well. Competency-based job analysis emphasizes on what an employee can do instead of the duties that he has to carry out. Traditional job analysis is job focused as it focuses on what is accomplished on duties whereas competency-based job analysis is worker focused as it focuses on how an employee accomplishes the work and what an employee must be competent to do.
The competency-based job analysis is used in order to encourage the employees to be enthusiastic, work in a self-motivated way and rotate freely among the jobs. This is different from the traditional job analysis which lists down the duties that the employees must carry out. This cause the employees to do only their work and do not cares about others as they think that other jobs are not their jobs.
Besides, describing the job in terms of skills, knowledge and competencies the worker needs is more strategic. For instance, employees should develop themselves in miniaturization and precision manufacturing as these are the aspects that Canon emphasizes on.
Moreover, measurable skills, knowledge and competencies support the employer's performance management process. Employees must demonstrate certain skills and competencies in order to achieve firm's strategic goals. According to Gary Dessler, performance management means basing the employees' training, appraisals and rewards on fostering and rewarding the skills and competencies he needs to achieve his goals. We must first understand what are those competencies needed. Describing the job in terms of skills and competencies facilitates this.
Competency-based recruitment and selection
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Competency-based recruitment and selection emphasizes on finding the candidates with the characteristics that will leads to superior performance in the role that the company wants to fill.
In order to know better the suitability of candidate in a particular position in an organization, several references should be used instead of relying only one reference in recruiting and selecting candidates. For instance, the company recruits and selects the candidates based on their application form, work sample tasks and verbal comprehension test.
By applying competency-based recruitment and selection, this will avoid the company from selecting only the candidate who has similar background, personality and style which will lead to limited diversity and loss of innovative candidates in an organization. Besides, it is result-oriented. This will help the organization to achieve the business result. Performance levels of employees will be higher by using the competency-based recruitment and selection this method as the candidates recruited and selected will be those who have the competencies required to perform the jobs in an organization. So, competency-based recruitment and selection will be a good way for the organization to find the best suited employees and thus achieve the organization's goals.
Legal Issues in Job Analysis
According to Thompson and Thompson, job analysis must be carried out and it must be for the job for which the selection instrument is to be used. Secondly, analysis of the job should be in written format. The procedures involved for the job analysis should be described in detail by the job analysts.
Besides, job data should be gathered by knowledgeable job analysts from various current sources. In the job analysis, the tasks, duties and activities should be included. The most vital tasks should be represented in the selection device If a content validation model is followed, knowledge, skills and abilities should be stated clearly. Last but not least, for entry-level jobs, the competency levels of job performance should be stated clearly as well.