Introducing Competency Mapping and its Models

Imagine the following situation: it is your first day in office and you have been assigned a project that requires you to meet clients, communicate with stake holders at a regular basis and along-side also lead a team. Now something about you. You are more of an introvert person, have moderate communication skills and prefer working alone than in a team. Moreover, you are not a strategic planner and prefer to work on tasks as it comes. Given this situation do you think you will be able to successfully complete the project you have been assigned into?

Now let us imagine another situation. You have been recruited for a new job role but before that the company took special efforts to understand what you are competent of. Based on your competency framework they assign you to a task which is an individual role, needs you to do research and document files, develop contents and the like. You need to mainly execute tasks and not plan and delegate. You just have to report to your supervisor on a weekly basis in order to get a feedback on your work. Now in this situation, do you think you will be able to succeed on the job with your personal characteristics described above? Most probably yes. If not succeed, you would definitely do better than in the first situation. This is what competency mapping all about.

Competency Mapping is a process of identifying the key competencies required to be a part of an organization and to perform the job role, which in turn is mapped with the competencies of the employee in order to evaluate his or her fitment in the organization at large and the job role specifically. This is not the same as measuring one’s performance. Performance can be measured only after the task is completed by the employee. Whereas, competency mapping provides a path to perform successfully. If competency mapping is done accurately, the performance is also higher.

With the advent of smart generation and even smarter technology, organizations have started viewing competencies as foundational in recruitment, selection, setting performance expectations, talent management, training and development, career planning and personal development and all fundamental decision-making areas. Every organization that believes in transforming their functioning system into being more competency-based follows a tailor-made competency model that suits their needs and available resources.

A competency mapping model is a framework used by organizations in order to gather information about the various behavioral attributes, knowledge, and skills most required in each job role to be able to produce good quality work. These identified attributes are those that are observable and differentiate a high performer from an average performer in the organization. If organizational goals and strategies planned are the “what” for the organization, competency models describes the “how” part. Therefore, competency models are nothing but strategic imperatives in workforce management today.

Having understood the meaning of competency models, the next question is how do we create these competency mapping models. According to researcher Mirabile (1997) competency mapping models can be created using information gathered from job analysis interviews and focus group interviews. Therefore, employees belonging to same or similar job roles can be assembled and a group discussion may be conducted that would help accumulate information about the functions and responsibilities of that job role. An up-to-date job description is also a very useful document when creating competency mapping models. It is left to the discretion of the management to decide the amount of detailing and content in order to describe the competencies that would be included in the model.

The steps to creating competency mapping framework does not end here. After a qualitative analysis and generation of detailed information about the job role, the next step is to quantify the competency framework. This may be done using a rating system wherein the top competencies are ranked and rated based on most important to least important. This increases the objectivity and the accuracy of the information gathered establishing a fair basis of decision-making and increasing the validity and reliability of the competency mapping procedure.

Looking at the general benefits of the competency mapping models we observe that it is not just limited to enhancing individual performance. Rather, the outcome of a well-planned and precisely implemented competency mapping model is cumulative across the organization. When these models are aligned and integrated with different HR practices, it builds a strong organizational climate and leads the organization towards an upward-growth in the market graph.

To summarize, we may say that competency mapping and its models have become an integral part of the present organizational system. Although the basic structure and content remains similar, what differentiates one competency mapping model from another is the way the structure and content is obtained and applied. Each has a unique function and the overall competency model helps to build on the organization’s performance.