Why Map Competencies?

From its evolution, competency mapping has been given due importance and has become the need of the hour in different organizations. When companies have cut-throat competition in the market, it is the competencies of the employees that come to the rescue and help the companies to create a differentiator.

Competencies are the underlying characteristics of the employee and a combination of their skills, knowledge, attitudes and other behaviors. When a competency mapping framework is chosen, it identifies the degree of fit of the employee to the job role and the organization. Such a measure helps to gauge the level of performance that may be expected. The greater the fit, the better the performance expected from the individual. And the higher the contribution from each job role, higher is the company’s productivity. It all holds a directly proportional relationship with one another.

Studies conducted in this domain have highlighted the importance of competency mapping especially in recruitment and selection.

For instance, a study conducted by Chandekar and Khatod in 2015 highlighted that by mapping the competencies of the top performers in a job role, a competency report may be created. This can serve as a role directory that would help in the selection process of new employees for that role. If the role directory includes leadership and effective communication as the important competencies for the job role, the selection process would be looking for these competencies in the potential candidates. Such a report would also form a basis of performance appraisal. The report would also establish expectations for performance excellence and help employees align their behaviors according to those expectations.

Similarly, competency mapping has been found to be useful for other human resource processes as well. talent induction, management development, appraisals and training are the key processes in which competency mapping has shown desirable results (Velayudhan & Maran, 2009).

Competency mapping has also been found to be beneficial in gap analysis and designing interventions to bridge that gap. Competency mapping highlights the gap between what is the expected level of competency required for the role and the actual level of competency present in the employee. Based on this gap analysis, training interventions and programs can be designed to help the employees enhance their level of competency. When training modules are designed based on gap analysis reports, it makes the training more cost-effective, goal-oriented and productive. However, the usual trend in the market is to provide training without any need analysis just to meet the yearly goals. This does not serve the purpose of the organization and is therefore, inefficient.

Gap analysis also helps in internal mobility which is a dynamic process for moving talent from one role to another, at leadership, professional and operational levels. That is, if an employee’s competency is not matching a particular job role he or she was assigned earlier, the employee may be promoted or shifted to another job role or department altogether which makes optimum use of the employee’s existing competency. This would reduce the probability of wasting talent and also decrease turnover.

A major contribution of competency mapping is in increasing the self-awareness of the employees. The employees from their respective competency mapping report gain an insight about their existing strengths and weaknesses. They can eventually direct their energy towards either using those strengths or developing and converting their weakness to strengths by acquiring training. By knowing one’s competency, one can ascertain where career development efforts need to be maximum (Yuvaraj, 2011). Therefore, the competency mapping framework may be used for career management and directing career paths.

By combining what has been discussed, we get a comprehensive understanding on why organizations should map competencies. Competency mapping has several benefits and for this reason is becoming more and more popular among organizations. All these benefits direct towards developing a Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that may help in monitoring manpower planning, recruitment, identification of training needs and other HRD interventions. A competency-based HR system can give way to newer developments and success.