Case study of L&T - 1
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Presented By: Guruprasad Shetti Roll No : 96 Batch : MMM II
Introduction : A lot is going on in recent times on the issue of competency mapping. A lot of resource is spent and consultants are invited to do competency mapping. Competency mapping is gaining much more importance and organizations are aware of having good human resources or putting the right people on right job. 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, placements and training needs identification. In performing or carrying out work, it is essential that the required job skills first be articulated. This information not only helps to identify individuals who have the matching skills for doing the work but also the skills that will enhance the successful performance of the work. Yet often to perform well, it is not enough just to have these skills. It is also critical to complement the skills with the necessary knowledge and attitudes. For e.g. the necessary knowledge will enable an individual to apply the right skills for any work situation that will arise while having the right attitude will motivate him to give his best efforts. These skills, knowledge and attitudes required for the work are usually collectively referred as competencies. How Is Competency Defined in the Context of This Article? Many definitions of the term competencies have arisen over the past decade. The definition that I most prefer is as follows: Competencies include the collection of success factors necessary for achieving important results in a specific job or work role in a particular organization. Success factors are combinations of knowledge, skills, and attributes (more historically called KSAs) that are described in terms of specific behaviors, and are demonstrated by superior performers in those jobs or work roles. Attributes include: personal characteristics, traits, motives, values or ways of thinking that impact an individuals behavior. *Figure 1 illustrates this definition. Competencies in organizations tend to fall into two broad categories: - Personal Functioning Competencies. These competencies include2
broad success factors not tied to a specific work function or industry (often focusing on leadership or emotional intelligence behaviors). - Functional/Technical Competencies. These competencies include specific success factors within a given work function or industry. The emphasis of this article will be on how both types of competencies impact the ways career professionals can advise their clients to use competencies in their personal career management efforts. In this article, however, the predominant focus will be on practitioners and clients work on personal functioning competencies, since they tend to differentiate success over time more often than do workers functional/technical competencies. Three other definitions are needed: Competency Map. A competency map is a list of an individuals competencies that represent the factors most critical to success in given jobs, departments, organizations, or industries that are part of the individuals current career plan. Competency Mapping. Competency mapping is a process an individual uses to identify and describe competencies that are the most critical to success in a work situation or work role. Top Competencies. Top competencies are the vital few competencies (four to seven, on average) that are the most important to an individual in their ongoing career management process. Importance to the individual is an intuitive decision based on a combination of three factors: past demonstrated excellence in using the competency, inner passion for using the competency, and the current or likely future demand for the competency in the individuals current position or targeted career field. Although the definition above for competency mapping refers to individual employees, organizations also map competencies, but from a different perspective. Organizations describe, or map, competencies using one or more of the following four strategies: 1. Organization-Wide (often called core competencies or those required-for-organization-success) 2.Job Family or Business Unit Competency Sets 3.Position-SpecificCompetencySets 4. Competency Sets Defined Relative to the Level of Employee Contribution (i.e. Individual Contributor, Manager, or Organizational Leader) This article will not go into depth about the differences among the four mapping strategies. Instead, the focus here will be on ways that3
individuals need to present or demonstrate the use of the various kinds of competencies when interacting with organizations. Research is ongoing about the nature of competencies that are important for success across many organizations. There are a number of sources that describe some very common personal functioning competencies found to be important for employees at all levels across organizations. One good quote in this area is from Michael Zwell (2000, pgs. 53-55), the author of Creating A Culture of Competence when he says, From the body of competency research to date, a basic set of 6 competencies would differentiate the top quartile of performers from the rest in most positions in an organization: Initiative, Influence, Results Orientation, Teamwork, Service Orientation, and, Concern for Quality. In addition, research on the importance of emotional intelligence to organization success is starting to identify a number of emotional intelligence competencies. In particular, Daniel Golemans work describes four categories of emotional intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. (Goleman, 2002) A companion article in this journal issue by Kivland and Nass includes further information on this topic. Although not included in the information above, the definition of a competency includes three elements: 1.A-title 2.A-brief-high-level-definition 3. One or more key behavioral statements Below is a sample definition for one competency that has a connection to Zwells above list of differentiators and also to emotional intelligence. Motivating Others is an example of an important organization competency at a sales promotion agency that was my earlier client. Motivating Others: Facilitating increased commitment, effort and results from others. Key Behaviors [Behavioral Indicators]: Empowers others by inviting input to decisions and requesting appropriate assistance. Acknowledges the effort, achievements and contributions of others. Uses active listening skills regularly. Assesses each persons hot buttons and adjusts style to get the best out of them. Encourages others to set challenging goals, give their best efforts4
and work to their potential. Helps others to feel important and respected. Notice that the behavioral statements all begin with an action verb worded in present tense. This format is important for completing the implied-but-not-written beginning to each statement, The superior performer. What is Competency? Competency is an underlying characteristic required to perform a given task, activity, or role can be considered as competency. Competency has the following forms: Knowledge Skills Attitude These three factors are important for identifying competency in a person. Different individual requires different competency for e.g. a person working in a manufacturing unit may require different competency than a person working in an IT sector. Competency difference from industry to industry. According to Harvard Business Review Daniel Katz grouped competency into three areas which later expanded in to the following four: Technical Managerial Human Conceptual
In competency mapping all details of the behaviors (observable, specific, measurable etc) to be shown by the person occupying that role are specified. Components of Competency There are four major components of competency: 1. Skill: capabilities acquired through practice. It can be a financial skill such as budgeting, or a verbal skill such as making a presentation.5
2. Knowledge: understanding acquired through learning. This refers
to a body of information relevant to job performance. It is what people have to know to be able to perform a job, such as knowledge of policies and procedures for a recruitment process. 3. Personal attributes: inherent characteristics which are brought to the job, representing the essential foundation upon which knowledge and skill can be developed. 4. Behavior: The observable demonstration of some competency, skill, knowledge and personal attributes. It is an essentially definitive expression of a competency in that it is a set of action that, presumably, can be observed, taught, learned, and measured. Based on the above definition, it can be said competency only include behaviors that demonstrate excellent performance. Therefore, they do not include knowledge per se, but do include applied knowledge or the behavioral application of knowledge that produces success. In addition, competencies do include skills, but only the manifestation of skills that produce success. Finally, competencies are not personal work motives, but do include observable behaviors related to motives. See figure below for an illustration of these key points.
Figure 1. Competency Components Competencies: Competency:6
Position a new product introduction so that it is clearly differentiated in the market
Uses an understanding of market pricing dynamics to develop pricing models
Knowledge: Understand market pricing dynamics
Skill: Set up new product introduction project
Competency: Meets all commitments in a timely manner
Personal Motives: Achievement wants to do an excellent job
Looking at the above figure, we could depict competency causal flow model as follows : Personal Attributes/Motives7
Type of Competency There are four types of competency: 1. Employee Core Competency Competency that relate to organizations values, mission and strategy; these are competencies that reflect organizational core capabilities and should be possessed by all employees regardless of their function. Example: Customer satisfaction; quality orientation 2. Managerial Competency Competencies that relate to skills needed to perform managerial work and process; it deals with the interaction process either with individual or group of people. Typically generic in nature, these competencies are common skills sets required by most companies; are not necessarily industry specific, and are not confined to managerial positions. In typical organizations, managerial competencies will play greater emphasis as the position progresses within the organization. In general, managerial competency could be divided into two categories: Human Competency8
An ability to work with, understand, and motivate other people as individuals or in group. It relates to the individuals expertise in interacting with others in a way that will enhance the successful completion of the task at hand. Examples: interpersonal skills; developing people. Conceptual Competency An ability to understand the degree of complexity in a given situation and to reduce that complexity to a level at which specific courses of action can be derived. Example : problem solving and decision making 3. Technical/Functional Competency Competencies that pertains to specific bodies of knowledge and skills required to perform the defined activities in an industry, function or job. It include the abilities to use the procedures, techniques and knowledge of a specialized field. Example: sales ability, behavior interview technique. 4. Personal Attribute Competencies that relate to inherent personal characteristics (e.g. motives, self image, self concept, etc.) and potentially affect work attitude and performance. Example tolerance for stress; achievement motivation. Differences Between Job Description and Competency Model. Job descriptions are lists of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. Typically, they also include to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the position, etc. Job descriptions are usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. Competency model, on the other hand, is a set of competencies that include the key behaviors required for excellence performance in a particular role.
Based on the above definition, we could conclude that main differences between job description and competency model lie in the unit of analysis: job description looks at what, whereas competency model focuses on how. In other words, traditional job description analysis looks at elements of the jobs and defines the job into sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job; while competency studies the people who do the job well, and defines the job in terms of the characteristics and behaviors of these people.
Competency Model Competency model is a set of competencies that include the key behaviors required for excellent performance in a particular role. Competency model development is driven by the organizations strategy (see figure below). Figure 2. Competency Model Framework Vision & Mission Core capabilities Stakeholder requirements Market realities
Success Factors Behaviors
Skill Knowledge Attributes
Design Decision As shown in the picture, in term of grand design, competency model should be guided by firms strategy which is shaped by four factors:
vision & mission, stakeholder requirements, market realities and core capabilities of the firm. In a more technical design, competency model development should be determined in the process of design decision. In this stage, we should discuss the design of the model with clients, based on their specific needs and expected outcomes of the competency model. The following are some factors that need to be considered in deciding the design of the competency model. 1. Context Competencies are actually context bound. They answer the question What does a superior performer look like in a specific setting? In other words, effective competencies are linked to a particular organizational target or goal. Therefore, depending on the context, the design of models may be geared toward: the total organization (e.g., core competencies or values) an entire function (e.g., finance, human resources) a specific role (e.g., HR generalist) a specific job (e.g., compensation analyst) 2. Level of Orientation This factor deals with the level of orientation of the model: will the model reflect future or current job requirements. The degree of future orientation depends on how the organization plans to apply the model and the pace and nature of changes occurring within the organization. If an organization decides that their model will be based on future requirements, they might use future performance needs (i.e., benchmark data; best practices) to create competencies. 3. Level of Complexity Two other critical factors should be considered in developing competencies the length of models and the degree of complexity and detail described in behavioral indicators. Frequently, competency initiatives fail because models are too long and too detailed or because organizations spend too much time and too many resources researching and editing behaviors. Consequently, organizations fail to provide a simple framework to users in a timely manner. Models
that work best follow the 80-20 rule. They provide the 20% of behaviors that drive 80% of excellent performance. To guide the process of design decision and to determine the context, level of orientation and level of complexity of the model, we might need to consider the following factors : 4.The model should be linked to strategy Effective competency models support and contribute to the company's and the function's strategy and goals. For instance, if a goal of the company is to transcend functional barriers, the model needs to describe the behaviors that demonstrate that competency. Likewise, if a goal is ensuring that all employees communicate and work together effectively, the model should describe the behaviors that demonstrate that competency. 5. The model should be company-specific Unlike many job descriptions, competency models are not easily transferable among companies. Competencies needed for a company are determined by the company's unique characteristics, such as culture, strategy, size, and industry. This is true even of the competencies needed for a position common to many companies, such as the job of a financial analyst. The competencies required of a financial analyst at an automobile manufacturer are vastly different from those required of a financial analyst at a health care company, for instance. 6. The developed model should be flexible A good competency model functions as a performance management tool. It provides enough detail to distinguish between employees who are operating at different levels of proficiency. It also helps a company articulate why an employee is at the current level and the competencies needed to advance. In this sense, a competency model is prescriptive, yet it must not be too binding. It needs to be flexible enough to accommodate differing approaches to success, simple enough to be easily understood, and readily adaptable to changing business environments. 7. The model should be future-oriented Competency models with a forward-looking perspective stimulate organizational change. Rather than defining competencies in the con13 1
text of "tasks," or how a job has traditionally been carried out, useful competencies articulate how the job is evolving and will best be performed in the future. Not only does this approach increase a model's shelf life, it ensures that employees have enough time to understand what the required competencies are and to develop them. 1. Link between Firm Core Competence and Employee Core Competencies Core competence of the firm is the term originally invented by Prahalad and Hammel, 1990) and provide an impetus to create competency modeling beyond the realm of individual performance and into the realm of organizational performance. Core competence of the firm is basically an indication of a strategic strength, the essence of what makes one firm competitive in its environment. A core competency represents the fruits of the collective learning of an organization, especially how it coordinates diverse production skills. To qualify as core competencies, they should be meeting the following criteria: Customer Value: It must make a disproportionate contribution to customer perceived value. Core competencies are the skills that enable a firm to deliver a fundamental customer benefit. Competitor Differentiation: A core competence must also be competitively unique and not easily copied by competitors. Extendability: Core competencies should also be gateways to tomorrows market. In practical matters, in defining core competencies, the leaders should configure how the competence might be applied in new product arenas. The examples of core competence are as follows. Mc Donalds core competencies, for instance, consist of two key elements : production and delivery speed.; while Microsofts core competence is making user friendly software. To make it useful for the competitiveness of a firm, core competencies then should be translated into employee or group of individual competencies. Thus, for example, of MC Donald has determined that their core competencies are production and delivery speed, then all Mc Donald employees should generate competencies14 1
that provide the firm with the right mix of talent to reflect those core competencies. In that process, core competencies should be used as a guide to determine types of employee core competencies. On the other hand, the development of employee core competencies should simultaneously be directed to enhance and broaden the quality of core competencies. Here, group of individual or employee competencies should collectively turn into organizational core competence. Benefits of Using Competency Model There are some useful benefits of using competency model for the company, managers, and employees as well. For the company, these benefits are: reinforce corporate strategy, culture, and vision. establish expectations for performance excellence, resulting in a systematic approach to professional development, improved job satisfaction, and better employee retention. increase the effectiveness of training and professional development programs by linking them to the success criteria (i.e., behavioral standards of excellence). provide a common framework and language for discussing how to implement and communicate key strategies. provide a common understanding of the scope and requirements of a specific role. provide common, organization-wide standards for career levels that enable employees to move across business boundaries. For Managers, the benefits are: identify performance criteria to improve the accuracy and ease of the hiring and selection process. provide more objective performance standards. clarify standards of excellence for easier communication of performance expectations to direct reports.
provide a clear foundation for dialogue to occur between the manager and employee about performance, development, and career-related issues. For Employees, the benefits are: identify the success criteria (i.e., behavioral standards of performance excellence) required to be successful in their role. support a more specific and objective assessment of their strengths and specify targeted areas for professional development. provide development tools and methods for enhancing their skills. provide the basis for a more objective dialogue with their manager or team about performance, development, and career related issues. Section 3 Developing Competency Catalogue The following section will explore detailed activity for each step in developing competency catalogue and competency profile. Specifically, there are four stages that should be done to develop competency catalogue and profile as shown in diagram:
Stage 1 Conducting Competency Workshop
Stage 2 Identifying Competency Components
Sta ge 3Developing
Stage 4: Developing Competency Profile
2. Stage 1 Conducting Competency Workshop Description of activity:
Stage 1: Conducting Competency Workshop
This activity is held to introduce the concept of competency. This workshop is also intended at deciding the scope of competency project that will be undertaken. Key activity: Conduct Competency workshop o In addition to providing an understanding of competency concepts and application, this workshop will also clarify the scope of the competency project: Is the focus on the organizational level, function or specific roles? What are the needs, outcomes and expected impact of the competency project? These issues should be addressed and clarified with key stakeholders in this workshop (detail description about competency workshop is in the Appendix 1). Input/Tools: Competency workshop materials o The section that discusses about Theory and Concept of Competency (see section 2 & 3) could be used as materials for competency workshop. Output: An understanding of competency concepts and application Scope and objectives of competency projectStage 2 Identifying Competency Components
Stage 2 Identifying Competency Components
There are two main phases in this second stage. The first is to identify employee core competencies and the second one is to identify job relevant competencies. The following section will describe these two phases in detail. Stage 2a Identifying Employee Core Competencies17 1
Description of activity: This activity is conducted to identify employee core competencies or competencies that should be possessed by all employees regardless of their functions. Key activities: Review business vision and strategy o This review is done to clarify business strategies and visions. The results of this review then will be used as a basis to determine core competencies. Identify Employee Core Competencies o As mentioned above, these types of competency will be defined for the whole organization, regardless of function. As such, the core competencies should strongly reflect and link to corporate vision and strategies. o Aside from employee core competencies, there are other types of competencies that should typically be possessed by all employees regardless of their functions, i.e.: personal attributes and industry knowledge. The identification of these two types of competencies could also be done in this phase. Inputs/Tools: Business Strategy and Vision documents Core Competence Workshop (detail description about this workshop can be seen in the Appendix 2). Output: List of core competencies of the employee o The following core competencies lists which are taken from our previous competency project could be used as a reference. 1. Company A Corporate Values a. Teamwork b. Professionalism c. Customer Intimacy
2. Company B Core Competency a. Integrity b. Productivity & Efficiency c. Professionalism d. Sustainability 3. Company C Core Values a. Continues Quality Improvement b. Customer Satisfaction c. Innovation d. Integrity e. Leadership f. Learning & Knowledge Sharing g. Teamwork with Partnership Spirit 4. Company D Core Competencies a. Business Process Knowledge b. Change Management c. Self Development d. Customer Satisfaction Orientation e. Quality Orientation f. Team Development 5. Company E Core Competencies a. Focusing Customers b. Understanding of Business Environment c. Improving Department Performance Continuously d. Developing Self e. Developing People f. Fostering Effective Communication g. Committing to Quality Stage 2b Identifying Job Relevant Competencies Description of activity
This stage is conducted to identify types of competencies which relevant with each of existing function/job/role within the organization. Key activities Determine and understand the nature of the job/role/position to be analyzed o Select the job to be analyzed; and identify other jobs that have similar elements of tasks (i.e. job family) and thus may have a similar set of competencies. We might use a job/position or a group of similar jobs (job family) as a basis for discussion. o Conduct desk study to review existing organizational structure and job description documents. This study is done to get a better feel of the jobs to be analyzed and thus be able to pre-determine some logical competencies that should be included. It will also be helpful to already list down some competencies and try to validate them during the interview
Conduct focus group discussion (detail description about FGD process can bee seen in the appendix 3).
Input/Tools: Organizational structure and job description documents Focus group discussion Output: List of job relevant competencies
Stage 3 Developing Competency Catalogue
Description of activity: Once we have identified list of competencies, we then should develop competency catalogue. This catalogue documents key behaviors indicators of each identified competency.20 2
Key Activities Conduct behavioral event interview to identify behavior indicators of competency to be analyzed. Define the competency with a description which includes the previously identified behavior indicators Scale each identified behavior indicators into a clear progression from lower to higher levels of performance. This scale displays a logical accumulation of competencies as a person move to higher level. o There are four dimensions to be considered when creating progression levels of competencies: 1. Intensity of the intention involved or completeness of action taken to carry out an intention. 2. Complexity in taking more things, people, data, concepts or causes into account. 3. Time horizon in seeing further into the future, and planning or taking action based on anticipation of future situations 4. Breadth of impact on the number and position people affected; or the size of the problem addressed Another alternative to create competency catalogue is by 1) exploring list of behavior examples in each competency then 2) grouping the behavior list into key behavior indicators and finally 3) scaling the identified behavior list and key behavior indicators into progression matrix level. Thus, in this method we firstly explore behavior list and then grouping that list into behavior indicators. Validate and confirm the matrix of competency catalogue with key stakeholders to obtain agreement. Input/Tools: List of employee core competencies and job relevant competencies Behavioral Event Interview o To create behavior indicators and progression levels of competency, we use behavioral event interview tech21 2
niques to explore distinctive behaviors that distinguish a superior performer from an average performer (see Appendix 4 for detail explanation about behavioral event interview technique). Taxonomy of Behavior o To create progression levels of competency, we might use behavior taxonomy as a guide. The taxonomy can be seen in Appendix 5. To adapt to future requirements, behavior indicators used in the matrix of performance level might not necessarily be based on behavior interview which explicitly focus on past performance. In this case, we might use future performance needs as a basis for designing behavior indicators. Output: Competency catalogue o The examples of generic competencies catalogue that are taken from our previous competency project can be seen in Section 4. Stage 4 Developing Competency ProfileStage 4: Developing Competency
Description of activity This activity is intended to develop competency profile by using identified competency catalogue completed in the previous stage. Key Activities: Define number of positions to be reviewed Identify roles and responsibilities of each position Establish competency matrix: match the roles and responsibilities with the competencies Analyze the weight of the roles and responsibilities as a basis to decide the level of requirements/proficiencies for each competencies
Inputs/Tools: Job description, job grading and competency catalogue Focus group discussion
Who Identifies Competencies? Competencies can be identified by one of the following category of people: Experts HR Specialists Job analysts Psychologists Industrial Engineers
What Methodology is used? The following methods are used in combination for competency mapping: Interview Group work Task Forces Task Analysis workshops Questionnaire Use of Job descriptions Performance Appraisal Formats etc.
How to Identify Competency? The process of identification is not very complex. Some of the methods are given below: 1. Simply ask each person who is currently performing the role to list the tasks to be performed by him one by one, and identify the knowledge, attitudes and skills required to perform each of these jobs. Consolidate the list and present it to a role set group or a special task force constituted for that role. 2. Appoint a task force for each role.
Who can do competency mapping? Competency mapping is a task which can be done by many people. Now days all Management schools and those specializing in HR train the students in competency mapping. Any Masters in Management or Social Sciences or an Employee with Equivalent Experience and training can develop these competencies. Some Tips on How to do Competency Mapping? Pick up a job or role that is relatively well understood by all individuals in the company. For e.g. Sales Executive, Assistant HR Manager, Receptionist, PR Manager etc. are known to all and easy to profile. Work out competencies for this role if necessary with the help of job analysis specialist or an internal member who has knowledge of competency mapping. ADC & AC are used to identify Competencies? Assessment Centers are centers set up by an organization for periodic or continuous assessment of competencies required to perform current, future likely or higher level jobs/roles/tasks. They are increasingly used to identify high fliers and develop leaders/ competencies for the future. They are also being used for recruitment purposes to assess the suitability of the candidate for entry level as well as for senior levels positions. Assessment Centers use multiple methods like in-basket presentations, role plays, simulation exercise, leadership group discussions, case studies etc. They are also called as development centers or ADCs in the recent. Role of Competency in Recruitment & Retention Competency mapping can play a significant role in recruitment and retaining people as it gives a more accurate analysis of the job requirements, the candidates capability, of the difference between the two, and the development and training needs to bridge the gaps. As far as individuals career aspirations are concerned, once the organization gives an employee the perspective of what is required
from him to reach a particular position. It drives him to develop the competencies for the same. Competencies enable individual to identify and articulate what they offer-regardless of the job they happen to have at the time so that their organization can see, value and utilize what capability is actually available. How Do Competencies Relate to Individual Career Development? First and foremost, competencies must be demonstrated by individuals. Perhaps the most common place where they are demonstrated is within the scope of a particular job or project involvement. However, competencies are also developed and demonstrated by individuals in the following settings: volunteer roles in the community, professional associations, school projects, sports participation settings, and even within ones own home life. One of the first encounters with competencies for most individuals is in securing employment with a new organization. Organizations that are purposefully using cutting-edge methods to choose talent for positions or project roles are engaging in what is called competencybased interviewing and selection. These interviewing and selection methods are being used not only for hiring external applicants, but also for staffing internal roles, as described later in this article. Many organizations that use competency-based interviewing and selection are also later using the same competencies to assess performance, to encourage future development plans from individuals, and to plan for succession in the organization. Therefore, the individual employees in such an organization will have an ongoing need to use and map their competencies. Up to this point, Ive implied that the main need for identifying and mapping competencies is for individuals who may be pursuing fulltime employment with an organization. However, the need for mapping of competencies also extends to independent contractors seeking project work with those organizations that broker their services. Take the example of The Fulcrum Network, an organizational development consulting brokerage organization. Fulcrum recently released a manual entitled How to Hire the Right Consultant, in which it identified 18 factors that can be used to evaluate consultants. (Fulcrum Network, 2002, pg. 10) Most of the 18 factors would be considered competencies, according to the definition included earlier in this article. (Note that the process for mapping competencies will not differ25 2
significantly for self-employed individuals from the process explained in a later section of this article.) Why Should Individual Employees Map Their Competencies? A list of compelling reasons includes, at a minimum, the following. An individual: Gains a clearer sense of true marketability in todays job market; once the individual knows how his/her competencies compare to those that are asked for by the job market in key positions of interest. Projects an appearance as a cutting-edge and well-prepared candidate, who has taken the time to learn about competencies, investigate those in demand, and map his/her own competencies prior to interviewing. Demonstrates self-confidence that comes from knowing ones competitive advantages more convincingly, and from being able to articulate those advantages in specific language. Secures essential input to resume development - a set of important terms to use in describing expertise derived from prior career experience. Gains advanced preparation for interviews, many of which may be delivered using a competency-based approach called structured behavioral interviewing or behavioral event interviewing. (See the section below titled How Does Competency-Based Interviewing and Selection Work?) Develops the capability to compare ones actual competencies to an organization or positions required/preferred competencies, in order to create an Individual Development Plan. Many organizations today are using the process of 360 degree feedback to compare an individuals self assessment of his/her own performance against key position and organization competencies to the assessment of key stakeholders that the individual interacts regularly with. The 360 feedback received is then used as input to the Individual Development plan. David McClelland takes the position that definitions for various competencies, which contain real-life examples of more competent behavior, provide specific guideposts as to how to develop the competency. The feedback information also provides a basis for career counseling or explaining why a person should or should not be promoted. (McClelland, 1994, p. 10) Claudette Nowell-Philipp, organizational career consultant, offers strong philosophical argument for the importance of an individual26 2
knowing and mapping his/her competencies as part of ongoing career planning inside an organization. Nowell-Philipp says that in todays organizations, especially those going through fundamentalchange, it is essential to be able to articulate your value-add and who you are, as a person and as a professional, in language that is common and accepted in the organization (Nowell-Philipp, 2002). That prerogative implies the importance of competency-based self presentation: in ones resume, in interviews, and in public functions where introductions and credibility are important. But what about individuals who work in organizations (or have their own businesses) that do not hire, appraise or develop employees using competencies? There are several reasons for these individuals to map their competencies, as well: 1. If the individual ever has a desire to leave the current organization, it is very possible that competencies may be a part of the HR practices used by the next employer. 2. The true factors for success dont really vary that much in most organizations. This is another way of saying that competencies tend to be valid across a wide range of jobs, work roles, organizations, industries, and professions. Therefore, even if competencies are not officially being used, they do indeed have a lot to do with success in most organizations. So an individual who is prepared with insight into his/her own competencies will probably be able to use them in service of success in the organization anyway. 3. If the individual is self-employed, then self-presentation of strategically-targeted competencies will be an essential every-day practice in order to develop new business. (Remember the Fulcrum Network earlier example in this article.) Based upon the above description of the benefits of competency mapping, and the likely organizational and self-employed applications of ones competency map, it is probably clear by now that an individual needs to become very familiar with his/her own competencies and examples of when they have been demonstrated in the past. Therefore, individuals need to build some time into their career management efforts to do the following: Research (likely through informational interviews with key contacts) which competencies are in demand in their target organizations as a whole, and in particular positions of interest. Map their current competencies, giving emphasis to those which appear to be in the most demand.27 2
Integrate key current competencies into their resume, along with behavioral examples and key outcomes or results obtained. Practice describing their competencies, complete with behavioral examples of past use. Map their future development needs for additional competencies, based on their future career goals and the results of the informational interviewing noted above. One caution here: The Gallup Organization has recently presented the results of relevant research in their best-selling books First Break All the Rules, and later, Now, Discover Your Strengths. (Buckingham & Clifton, 1999) They caution that Strengths (talents, to which one has added knowledge and skills) may not be developable in many cases, and may need to be built into up-front hiring criteria as a result. So the caution with using competencies for development planning is this - be careful of spending too much time trying to develop a missing competency into a strength. Sometimes the implication may be for the individual to find a position that better matches his/her current strengths.
How Does Competency-Based Interviewing and Selection Work? Competency-based interviewing and selection presupposes that a set of organization-wide, job family/department, or position-specific competencies have been identified by the organization. Interviewers are then trained in the art of Structured Behavioral Interviewing, which has several hallmarks: A structured set of questions is used to interview all candidates. Each question is designed to elicit behavioral examples from the candidate which demonstrate the use of one or more key behaviors underlying each competency that is accounted for in the interview. A team of interviewers is usually used and they typically divide the list of competencies among themselves so that each interviewer can focus on asking the related detailed behavioral questions and documenting candidate responses. Interviewers typically ask open-ended and situation-based questions such as, Think of a specific time when you faced ____________? How did you handle the situation? How did it turn out? Interviewers record evidence of behaviors that the candidate re28 2
lates, and they ask probing questions to gather complete behavioral evidence that includes details of the circumstance, the actions taken by the candidate, and the results achieved. This process is called the CAR (circumstance, action, results) Model. At the conclusion of the interview, all interviewers of a particular candidate meet and compare the behaviors they heard from the candidate that support the assertion that the candidate possesses a specific competency. If the candidate did not offer specific examples with relevant behaviors, after additional attempts at rephrasing the question or asking different but related questions, then the determination is made that the candidate does not possess the competency. (The underlying philosophy here is that the best predictor of future performance is past performance that was demonstrated by concrete, observable behavior. A final hiring decision is made based on the total strength of competencies demonstrated by each candidate, compared with those competencies that are considered essential for success in the position and in the organization, and as compared with the competency strengths of the remaining candidates for the same position. (A more in-depth description of the above may be found in another article by Simonsen and Smith that can found elsewhere in this issue of the Journal [CPaD Journal 18_4]). How is Competency Mapping Carried Out by Individuals? Individuals can complete their own competency mapping process by completing a series of logical steps, including: 1. Find and locate relevant competency resources. 2. Identify the individuals current competencies and then determine the top competencies. 3. Define the top competencies with a list of behaviors the individual has demonstrated in the past. 4. For each key behavior, identify past performance examples. 5. Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR Model. (Note: Completing this step of the process has considerable value for the individual. In addition to being used during interviews, situation examples will also be of great value when participating in a performance appraisal, in a proactive career networking situation, or in identifying future positions of interest either internal or external to the organization.) 6. Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to write or revise the individuals resume.29 2
These steps are described below. Step 1: Find and locate relevant competency resources. The first action here must be to identify what types of competencies the individual most needs to focus on. The individual may be employed by or seeking employment with an organization that uses any one of the four ways of categorizing competencies that were identified earlier in the article: Organization-Wide Core Competencies, Job Family or Business Unit, Position-Specific, or by Levels of Contribution (i.e. Individual Contributor, Manager, or Organizational Leader). Then, of course, the next action is to find a resource that covers the types of competencies the individual is focusing on. Some primary options for competency resources would include: 1. A variety of competency listings and corresponding materials such as card sorts, are immediately available on the Internet. (Competency card sorts are decks of cards with individual competencies described on each card. They are useful for individuals during the sorting process, in determining the competencies that are part of their map.) Some of these resources are in the public domain while others are not. Some are available at no charge, and some must be purchased from private consulting organizations. 2. Numerous books on the subject of competency identification, available on the Internet, directly from publishers, and sometimes at bookstores. On-line booksellers are an immediate source of these items. 3. Local career coaches who are experienced in identifying competencies. (Note: the International Association of Career Management Professionals has an Experts Section on its website, www.iacmp.org that would be a good resource.) 4. Informational interviews with known experts in an occupational field, and within key organizations the individual is targeting in his/her career search. In order to increase the effectiveness of discussing the individuals competencies during informational interviews, I do have one suggestion to make. Many subject-matter experts, both inside and outside of the human resource field, have little direct knowledge or experience with the language of competencies or behavioral science. Therefore, I have found that it is beneficial for the individual to take a sample list of easily understood competencies, including their own top competencies, to their informational interviews. Such a visual30 3
aid will provide an example of how the person being interviewed can best support meeting the individuals needs for information. Step 2: Identify ones competencies and determine their top competencies As noted in Step 1 above, the individual can identify current competencies directly by using a card sort. Competencies can also be identified with the assistance of an experienced coach, either organically through sample interview questions, standardized assessments, answer and writing exercises, or through the use of a 360-degree feedback process (i.e., a full-circle multi-rater evaluation) where one is assessed by ones supervisor, subordinates, peers, customers, clients, or others. No matter which method is used, the individual should do a quick validation of the list of competencies that emerge to establish their face validity - in other words, a reality check. (A validation of this sort need not be scientifically done to add important value to the process.) Next, the individual should identify the four to seven Top Competencies that they believe are the most important to success at this point in their career. As described in the definition of a Top Competency earlier in this article, importance from the individuals perspective is an intuitive decision based on a combination of three factors: (1) past demonstrated excellence in using the competency; (2) internal passion for using the competency; and, (3) the current or likely future demand for the competency in the individuals current position or targeted career field. Three primary ways of validating ones competencies, and then determining the top competencies, include: A review of the list by an experienced coach who knows the client well, in comparison to an established list of competencies. The inclusion of the individuals competencies in a 360-feedback or multi-rater evaluation process, if feedback is sought from others as part of the coaching process. Feedback from one or more trusted, experienced mentors. Step 3: Define the top competencies using behaviors the individual has demonstrated through past performance. Career or performance coaches who have expertise in resume writing often are ideally suited to assist with this task. It can be a somewhat time-intensive task, made easier by the use of competency development resource materials (see Step 1). One caution is to ensure that31 3
behaviors are worded to include specific, concrete action verbs (e.g. Helps others see the personal benefits of doing their job well) instead of vague, cliche-oriented wording (e.g. Inspires others to go the extra mile). Another suggestion is to limit the number of behaviors per competency to no more than seven, since the human mind starts to lose its focus once a list exceeds seven items in length. Step 4: List performance examples of each key behavior This is one of the most crucial steps in preparing individuals for competency-based self-presentation. In addition, its a step for which the individual owns the bulk of the initial responsibility, since the coach does not have easy access the individuals library of all past experiences. Individuals should compose a list of their prior work experiences, projects, and volunteer roles. Then, under each entry, they should spend quiet time thinking of one or two concrete behavioral examples - times when they had positive results from their effort. More recent examples are most advantageous, as they tend to have greater selling value. Most career coaches have probably encountered many scenarios where individuals state some difficulty and/or discomfort with coming up with specific examples of accomplishments for resume writing. A very useful technique for clients in envisioning their competency examples is to suggest categories of end results, and then ask the individual to brainstorm examples that fit under each catetory. *Figure 2 includes samples of end results. Step 5: Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR Model Many career development practitioners have had experience in preparing clients to develop and present CAR examples. Provided below are a few tips for coaching individuals to come up with examples when they are confronted with unexpected interview questions, or requests for unusual examples: Have written notes, with condensed CAR examples organized by competency, in ones portfolio during an interview or performance discussion. Take time to pause and think during the discussion - although silence at these times can be a painful experience to the candidate, when an example does not immediately come to mind. A quick glance at ones notes during these times will be a great help, as well. The pausing technique requires individuals to develop an inner reservoir of tolerance for silence. Becoming comfortable with these mo32 3
ments of silence requires practice on the part of the individual. Our mainstream Western culture does not tend to reward silence, as does Eastern thinking and culture. Ask the questioner to rephrase the question, if the meaning is at all unclear. This allows the individual more time to think, and may also result in a more clearly worded question from the questioner. The following is a CAR example for the competency Motivating Others that might be used by a person conducting an interview for a new position. (Note that the example is based on the second behavior for Motivating Others that was listed earlier in this article.) Interview Question: Tell me about a specific time when you intentionally recognized the achievement or contribution of someone else, when it would have been perfectly acceptable to take the credit yourself or not mention the achievement at all. Circumstance: I was leading a project team tasked with writing 40 job descriptions inside a division of the large telecommunications company that I had been employed by for 8 years. Our project team had been through a series of planning meetings to put together a project plan that spanned several months. It was time for us to give a status update to the Senior VP of Human Resources, before we began interviewing position incumbents and writing job descriptions. Actions: I invited the rest of the project team (three other colleagues) to join in on the meeting with the HR VP. As part of the status update, I asked each team member to report on their insights to the project plan we had completed. I made a point of praising the level of teamwork that we had developed as a group, thus far in the project. In particular, I thanked one team member who had brought his MS Project expertise to bear in drafting the format of the plan we presented to the HR VP. Results: The HR VP commented later that she was pleased to see the whole project team so engaged and involved. The other members of the team talked pointedly about their enthusiasm for the plan that lay ahead, and their excitement about our team-oriented way of proceeding. We even had some fun referring to our one team member as the MS Project guru, and he beamed from ear-to-ear. The project as a whole ended up being completed in a near-record three months of time, with numerous compliments around the organization about the quality of the final job descriptions. Step 6: Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to write or revise resumes33 3
I will comment only briefly on resume-writing here, as this is a topic for another article. But there are at least four areas where a competency-based approach to writing a resume has impact: 1. In writing a chronological resume, the competency titles and some of the behavioral action verbs should be integrated into the descriptions of ongoing responsibilities for each position. 2. In writing a functional resume, the headings of the functional accomplishment sections should tie very directly into the titles of the individuals most important competencies. This is especially true for self-employed consultants, whose functional experience headings should correlate with their most important consulting service offerings. Those service offerings should be ones that incorporate the consultants top competencies. 3. In either version of a resume, accomplishment statements should form a solid core of information in the experience section. The verbal CAR statements previously developed can be condensed into ideal resume accomplishment statements. 4. The summary of qualifications section, usually found at the beginning of a resume, is an ideal place to list the titles of the individuals top competencies, almost verbatim. What Challenges Do Individuals Who Want to Map Their Competencies Face? Yes, there are some challenges that an individual will have to surmount in order to truly integrate competency mapping into his or her career management efforts. It is important to highlight some of those challenges here, and to make some suggestions for overcoming them. The first challenge has to do with the fact that effective competency mapping calls for some insight into the requisite competencies for success in the individuals career field and in key positions of interest. It is often difficult to find competency-based position descriptions, or organizational lists of key competencies with effectively-worded behavioral definitions. And many of the key contacts the individual might seek out for informational interviews will not be used to describing success in an organization or position in competency terminology. So, the individuals questions to their contacts about essential com34 3
petencies for success in a position or organization may not be answered well or accurately. These factors will require the individual to do some guessing as to the most desired or required competencies. This raises the second challenge. It will be a bit difficult for many individuals to create their own competency maps, given limited experience with competencies and their behavioral definitions, as well as some blind spots about their own prior accomplishments. The apparent solution is for the individual to find and hire an experienced career coach, as mentioned earlier. If this option is taken, the individual should use due diligence in selecting their coach by conducting thorough investigations of candidate coaches credentials and experience in working with the design, development and application of competencies in organizational settings. Many career coaches are experienced in working with their clients to identify knowledge and skills, but they may not be experienced in the more substantial practice of identifying competencies as they are used in organizations today. The major reason for this is that competencies include, in addition to knowledge and skills, other attributes such as traits, thought patterns, self-esteem, mindsets, and other characteristics that extend beyond ones knowledge and skills alone. (This would be a good time for the reader to pause and review my earlier definition of a competency.) A third challenge has been mentioned earlier. A common occurrence for many career consultants is encountering individuals who are less than comfortable putting the extra effort into (a) writing their CAR examples, and (b) focusing so much on accomplishments, since this activity often feels to them like self-congratulatory back-patting. The value of working with an experienced career coach to overcome these two barriers cannot be overestimated. Fourth and finally, there is an issue also mentioned earlier that, based on the Gallup Organizations research, many competencies may not be trainable or, can not be developed by an individual, no matter their level of personal effort. Suffice it to say here that a good career coach will do a great service to individual career clients by seriously focusing on the idea of position or career field fit in light of their current competencies, while advising them to be cautious about attempting to develop competencies that might not be developable. Summary The key purposes of this article were to: 1. Define and illustrate the use of the terms competencies, competency mapping and top competencies35 3
2. Describe how competencies relate to individual career development 3. Explain why individuals should go to the effort of mapping their competencies 4. Describe how competency-based interviewing and selection work 5. Recommend a series of steps for individuals to use in doing competency mapping, with the assistance of an experienced career coach or counselor 6. Highlight the challenges that will be faced by individuals who want to map their competencies The Six-Step Approach to Competency Mapping for Individuals was presented. The Approach includes the completion of the following steps: 1. Find and locate relevant competency resources. 2. Identify the individuals current competencies and determine their top competencies. 3. Define the top competencies using behaviors the individual has demonstrated in the past. 4. For each key behavior, list past performance examples. 5. Prepare verbal explanations of the examples, using the CAR Model. 6. Use the top competencies and key behavioral examples to write or revise resumes. A significant advantage of mapping ones competencies has to do with using them for future development planning. Development planning in organizations spans a continuum from not-done-at-all to very informal to very formal processes. Larger organizations that do practice the use of more formal development planning tend to have competency models and competency assessment tools, from which individuals and their managers craft future development plans. In some organizations, those development plans are part of the organizations performance management process. In other organizations, development plans are completed confidentially, separate from performance management, for the individuals own career development benefit. No matter how formal or informal and organizations practices are regarding development planning, the important idea for the individual is to map his or her top competencies that are important to their future career passion and success. From among those top competencies, the individual needs to identify their current competency strengths,36 3
and also their future competency development needs. Great care needs to be given to crafting a development plan that puts equal or greater weight on using ones competency strengths, rather than upon expending too many personal or other resources on trying to develop competency weaknesses into competency strengths. High levels of energy and motivation tend to surface for individuals who are focusing on better, more substantial uses of their competency strengths. Significant competency weaknesses do need to be managed around through the use of such methods as delegating, partnering, and some personal modification of behaviors. This will require some planning on the part of the individual, and can be a very valuable part of development discussions with ones manager, mentor, or career coach. But an approach that focuses on fixing weaknesses and building them into strengths tends to create a mindset of only grim determination, for both the individual and his/her manager/mentor/coach. This tends to sap energy from the individual that could otherwise be positively deployed in the arena of developing and/or better using current competency strengths. Competency mapping is a powerful and potent tool for making concrete and recognizable the employable assets that any individual brings into their career. Mapping ones competency strengths might be one of the most powerful self-marketing tools available to both individuals and organizational talent management professionals today.
Area of Implementation Recruitment and selection Competencies can be used to construct a template for using in recruitment and selection otherwise the organization may face attrition of man having market value, finding role misfit, the best example are the cases of recently recruited WS who are leaving every now and then. Information on the level of a competency required for effective performance would be used to determine the competency levels that new hires should possess depending upon the accepted definition, competency data may take the form of behaviors, skills, abilities and other characteristics that have been associated with effective performance. Training and Development Identifying gaps and helping employees develop in the right direction. Knowing the competency profile for a position allows individuals to compare their own competencies to those required by the position or the career path. Training or development plans could focus on those competencies needing improvement. By virtue of APS most of Meter Readers of yesteryears, shortly would be JM, if we have mapping and profiling they could have trained for proper utilization in a cost effective manner. Career and succession planning
Assessing employees readiness or potential to take on new challenges determining a person job fit can be based on matching the competency profile of an individual to the set of competencies required for excellence within a profession. Individuals would know the competencies required for a particular position and therefore would have an opportunity to decide if they have the potential to pursue that position. Additionally education and development curricula would be linked to improving competency levels to the needed levels needed for effective performance. JOA to AE even after 25 years with Substation operation is ridiculous when there is acute crisis of SM at GrES why cannot we train them for desired competency to match our business need.
Recognition Competency based pay is compensation for individual characteristics for skills and competencies over and above the pay a job or organizational role itself commands. Individual characteristics that merit higher pay may come in the form of competencies (experience, initiative, loyalty and memory portability) are considered as the best practice. Performance Management System Performance management is about achieving results in a manner that is consistent with organizational expectations and desired behaviors. Competencies provide expectations for how the job is performed, not just what gets done. Assessing competencies as a part of performance management is an important means of assisting employees in understanding performance expectations and enhancing
competencies on-the-job rather than thrashing the SM/JM in every PRT meeting. Facilator - Internal or External? To develop Competency Framework organization better train its internal members of HR team having strong desire to take up the project with focused attention with support of specialist or hired services of consultant. Let the team prepare it in simple word as an illustration, explaining the purpose, circulate these to others and ask various departments to do it of their own. Circulate samples of competencies done by others. Illustrate knowledge, attitudes, skills, values etc. The process starts with simple interviewing the Role player to preparation of Competency Manual to framing Psychometric testing to creation of Assessment Centre and Development Centre to evaluation of their affectivity for required tuning, if any. . Traditional HR Manage- Competency-Based HR ment Management Foundation Work analysis and job de- Competencies are the traits scriptions form the founda- that individuals use for suction of traditional HR man- cessful and exemplary peragement. Work analysis formance. The identificabecomes the basis for re- tion, modeling, and assesscruiting, selecting, orient- ment of competencies form ing, training, rewarding, the foundation of compeappraising, and developing tency-based HR managepeople. The job description ment. The HR function delineates work activities. seeks to discover worker It does not state expected traits that lead to fully sucwork results in measurable cessful and exemplary peror observable terms. formance and configures HR activities around cultivating them. Chief reasons The approach is a known The approach stimulates for using the quantity and is geared to- productivity and uses huapproach ward achieving compli- man talent to the best comance. It categorizes indi- petitive advantage. It recviduals on organizational ognizes differences in indi40 4
Traditional HR Manage- Competency-Based HR ment Management charts so they can be as- vidual abilities to achieve signed identifiable tasks work results. Exemplary for which they are held ac- performers are significantly countable. U.S. college more productive than their textbooks on HR manage- fully successful counterment are devoted exclu- parts. If the organization sively to traditional HR finds or develops exemmanagement. plary performers, it could be more productive with the same size workforce. Major chal- Work changes rapid- The meaning of the lenges ly, and job descripterm competency is tions quickly become not clearly and conoutdated. sistently understood. The approach is Identifying the comrarely successful in petencies that distinproviding leader ship guish exemplary from on using human talfully successful perent to greatest adformers is laborintenvantage. sive and can be expensive and timeconsuming. Much inexpert competency work is being done in today's organizations. Role of HR Ensures compliance Takes the lead in function with laws, rules, regachieving breakulations, and organithrough competitive zational policies and advantage by selectprocedures. ing and developing more people who can achieve at the measurable productivity levels of exemplary performers. Continues to fulfill its41 4
Traditional HR Manage- Competency-Based HR ment Management compliance responsibilities in a competency-based environment. HR planning Concentrates on Concentrates on talsubsystem head count and HR ent and the value HR expenses. brings to the organi Makes forecasts zation. based on the as- Does not assume sumption that the futhat the future will be ture will be like the like the past or that past and that the the same head count same number of is needed to achieve people are needed to predictable results. achieve predictable, Favors the use of measurable work requalitative planning sults. methods. Favors quantitative methods for workforce planning. Employee re- Consults the usual Tries to identify patcruitment and external and internal terns that indicate selection sources. past sources of ex Finds candidates to emplary performers match the qualificaand recruits through tions outlined in job those or similar specifications. sources. Assumes that educa Makes selection decition, experience, and sions based on other qualifications demonstrated ability are equivalent to the to perform or eviability to perform asdence of results. signed work activi- Compares applicants' ties. talents to competency models that define the traits of fully successful or exemplary42 4
Traditional HR Manage- Competency-Based HR ment Management performers in their work areas. Employee Distinguishes train- Focuses attention on training subing needs from manroadblocks to individsystem agement needs. ual productivity that Builds employee are created by the orknowledge, skill, and ganization and manattitude to conform agement's responsiwith the organizability to eliminate tion's expectations. those obstacles. Builds individual competencies in line with measurable fully successful or exemplary performance. Performance Keeps costs at a Periodically assesses management minimum while proindividuals against subsystem viding performance competency models feedback to individufor their current work als. and their aspirations. Makes decisions Provides feedback to about pay raises, individuals to help promotions, and rethem move toward lated issues. exemplary performance. Employee re- Attracts and retains Attracts and retains ward processpeople who perform people whose meaes subsystem the work of the orgasurable contributions nization. demonstrate their ability to perform at an exemplary level. Employee de- Process is either Process is designed velopment vague or ambiguous. to help individuals to subsystem discover their own competencies, help the organization to
Traditional HR Manage- Competency-Based HR ment Management identify the talent it has available, and cultivate talent as work is being accomplished. Recognizes that 98% of all efforts to build competencies occurs through work experiences. Places equal emphasis on work results and on the work process as a means of building bench strength by exposing individuals to new experiences. 3. Implementing Competency-Based HR Management The implications of the six trends just described can be summarized in just a few words. HR practitioners must assume responsibility for leading the way in their organizations to add value. The use of competency-based HR management techniques provides the single most useful approach to position the HR function in a leadership position so they can provide this value. After a decision has been made to initiate one or more competencybased HR management applications, HR professionals must develop a conceptual plan to implement the application. The success of a competency project depends somewhat on its project plan. "An action plan is the primary tool to manage the workload, review and appraise project progress, and communicate with project team members and key stake-holders about the work to be done" (Lucia & Lepsinger, 1999, p. 56). It will also be a useful tool for identifying resource requirementspeople, time, money, and technological toolsneeded to complete the project (p. 57).
Figure 2 depicts a useful model for achieving that purpose. The steps are not intended to be rigid. Practitioners should use this model to plan at the macro level, rather than the micro level, regarding which competency-based HR management applications they will create later. We provide detailed implementation plans for each competencybased HR management application in other
Figure 3: A Model to Guide the Implementation of Strategic HR Management
Step 1: Identify organizational business objectives and HR customer needs Begin the process of implementing strategic HR leadership by determining the organization's business objectives and ensuring that they are communicated clearly to the customers of the HR function. A good place to start is to ask HR customers, such as line managers, to identify their goals for a competency-based HR management applicationfor example, improved employee retention, succession planning or management, or improved individual development. These goals should relate to the application results, and the results must be in line with business objectives. The customer may need to complete an operational analysis in order to pinpoint focal areas. An operational analysis is an assessment of the organization's environment, strategies, and resources. A set of written guidelines along with a brief example of the application in use are generally enough, but if the customer needs assistance, a collaborative effort works well. This first level of analysis must be completed before proceeding to meet a customer's need. Steps 2 and 3: Conduct environmental scanning and identify sectors of chief concern to the HR customer Environmental scanning is the process of identifying and assessing trends or issues in the organization's external environment that might suggest that the HR customer could possibly benefit from using a competency-based HR management approach. Environmental scanning, which focuses on the future, has numerous benefits. Assessing trends that affect the future of the customer's application can help decision makers to avoid costly investments in competency-based applications that are of limited use. The trends and issues discussed in chapters 1 and 2 are the primary references for environmental scanning work. Other valuable resources include information published by trade, professional, labor, or other organizations or available at Internet sites. Benchmarking, which addresses recent past and present approaches to solving or managing problems, contributes to identifying innovative, competency-based solutions with long-term value to the HR customer and the organization. It can also identify useful practices and the success factors that affect them.
Both environmental scanning and benchmarking help HR practitioners and their customers to determine which sectors will benefit from competency-based applications. It often is not necessary to focus on every sector. HR practitioners and their line management customers therefore should not hesitate to commit appropriate resources to the completion of Steps 2 and 3. Step 4: Align organizational business objectives with HR customer needs and define project objectives Aligning an organization's business objectives or strategies with HR customer needs might appear to be a complex or abstract process, but it is not. Competencies provide a means of characterizing an organization's human capital. Effectively selecting and rewarding the needed competencies in employees should have an impact on organizational success (Orr, 1998). Linking competency applications to strategic requirements is an important step in the model. Use a straightforward approach to establishing alignment between the organization's business objectives and the HR customer's project objectives. The process includes researching and verifying answers to several questions and then triangulating the answers to clarify how much and what kind of alignment is necessary. Here are some recommended questions: What are the expected or planned organizational outputs or results now and in the future? What are the planned outputs or results for the HR project? How are the outputs or results of the HR customer project related to those of the organization and the trends that affect the organization? What would be the impact on the organization if the planned project objectives are not met or the project is canceled? What would be the impact on the organization and its outputs or results if the HR project is not completed as planned? Objectives for the competency-based HR management application are defined as soon as both the customer and the HR practitioner see clearly that alignment exists. Outcomes for the application should be expressed in observable and measurable terms, as shown in the following example: The HR department and the marketing department will collaborate to design, develop, and pilot test a competency-based performance management system specific to the needs of the mar48 4
keting department; the pilot test will be completed and evaluated in at least two of the five branches of the marketing department within 1 year of inception of fully committed work on the project. The competency-based performance management system described earlier will be fully implemented and operational in at least two of the five branches of the marketing department within 2 years of inception of fully committed work on the project. Without clearly stated objectives for the projects, and without the understanding and agreement of all parties involved, difficulties can and most probably willarise. Steps 5 and 6: Ensure HR customer endorsement of the project objectives and decide on the next steps If the HR practitioner has been actively involved with his or her customer up to this point, obtaining customer endorsement should proceed smoothly for both parties. There are times, however, when the HR function, the customer, or both are unable to deliver all the envisioned results. Possible reasons include legal restrictions, limited time and resources, and constraints imposed by organizational or external environmental factors. In cases such as these, the HR practitioner must keep the customer informed and seek ways (sometimes with customer support) to remove the constraints when possible. After addressing the obstacles, the HR practitioner and the customer will have enough information to decide whether to complete the project as it was envisioned or to adopt a modified form of it. We refer to this as making a "go" or "no go" decision. Allowing major projects to remain in limbo for too long compromises the possibility of successful completion. It is very important that the HR practitioner avoid committing to completion of a competency-based HR management project under the following conditions: the decision-making time frame is extended excessively and without credible explanation; the customer is reluctant to accept project terms that are known to lead to success; the customer does not allocate the resources defined as necessary for use in implementing the project; the expertise within the HR function and within the customer's control is not sufficient to complete the project successfully; or the organization is in a state of turmoil that can be predicted to affect achievement of the project objectives. Other circumstances could be mentioned, but these are the primary ones that49 4
practitioners frequently encounter. Timely action by HR practitioners is an important factor in the success of all competency-based HR management projects. Step 7: Develop a project management plan to guide long-term implementation A project management plan is an essential requirement for a successful competency project. Several software tools that support the development and maintenance of project management plans are currently available. The choice of which tool to use is a matter of personal or organizational preference. In our experience, the following elements are a necessary part of every competency project management plan: A list of project deliverables, outputs, or results. These should be identified at the outset of the project management planning process and should include descriptions of deliverables for each project step. A roster of project participants that includes the employees or contract workers who will participate in the project. The roster should include the e-mail address and other contact information for each person. A list of tasks that must be completed in order to achieve the project deliverables, outputs, or results. The dependencies among the tasks should be made clear. The names and organization affiliations of the persons who will be responsible for completing each project task and any deliverable, output, or result of the task. A target date for completion of each deliverable, output, or result. Additional information may be required for successful use of certain software packages. Regardless of the software and its requirements, however, a less than perfect plan is better than no plan at all. Step 8: Implement the project management plan After a project management plan has been developed and endorsed by HR and the HR customer and adequate resources have been committed to the project, implementation can begin. We offer the following suggestions to increase the likelihood of successful implementation: Inform everyone involved in the project about its objectives, outputs, or results.
Provide information to others before and in the early stage of project implementation. The more information disseminated about competency-based HR management projects, the better the chance of buy-in. If the project has sweeping or broad implications within the organization or with its customers or clients, form an advisory panel of key persons to assist with design, evaluation, and implementation. Remember that change is the only constant. Obtain HR customer agreement to project plans that are flexible and suited to rapid or constant change. Ensure that employees who will be most affected by the project are involved in its design and in the implementation of results that will most affect them. Involvement leads to commitment. Keep senior managers informed through in-person, electronic, or printed briefings as the project moves toward implementation. Be honest and realistic in portraying project situations, outputs or results, and their impact. Do not oversell the project or its benefits. Avoid creating rising expectations for outcomes that may not be achievable, given the scope of the project. Step 9: Conduct formative and summative evaluations Astute managers know that evaluation of any project begins in the planning stage. Evaluations of competency-based HR management project inputs, processes, materials, and interim outputs are called formative evaluations and are made from the inception of the project usually through testing out the project through a small-scale pilot project. Every step, product, and process in a project should be subjected to rigorous evaluation. For example, learning about inappropriate data collection procedures early in the initial stages of a project provides the opportunity to correct deficiencies before they become problems. The effective use of formative evaluation is key to successful project development and implementation. Assuming the project underwent adequate formative evaluations and the changes made had a positive effect on outcomes, it is time for an evaluator to conduct a summative project evaluation. A summative evaluation assesses the overall results of a project after it is completed. The evaluator explores many fundamental issues. Did the project achieve its expected objectives? Were the objectives fully or only par
tially achieved? For what reasons? What were the effects of the results or outputs on the organization? Were these effects the desired ones? How did the outputs or results affect achievement of the organization's business objectives and business strategies? Were there unintended effects? Were they beneficial or detrimental? What could have been done differently during various project phases to improve the likelihood of successful results or inputs beyond the project objectives? Both formative and summative evaluations are essential for the longterm success of competency-based HR management projects. A formative evaluation is particularly useful in decision making, and a summative evaluation is helpful in assessing the overall results of a project and maintaining accountability. Competency-Based HR Planning 1. Overview Human resource planning is a necessary first step for aligning HR with the organization's strategic goals and objectives. HR planning assesses the supply of existing human talent, determines current needs, and forecasts future demand for talent in the organization. By comparing current supply to both current need and future demand, the HR professional can discern the gap between the organization's people and the competencies needed to achieve the organization's strategic goals and objectives in the present and the future. These gaps guide the development and performance of HR department activities as well as suggest the HR responsibilities of operating managers. This chapter provides an overview of HR planning and addresses the following key questions: What is HR planning? How is HR planning traditionally carried out? How can HR planning become competency based? What are the advantages and challenges of a competencybased approach to HR planning? When should HR planning be competency based, and when should it be handled traditionally? What model can guide competency-based HR planning, and how is it implemented? By addressing these questions, this chapter explains how traditional HR planning efforts can be transformed through a competency-based approach. Such an approach is not always appropriate, however, and52 5
we will review situations in which a change is suitable and what it involves. 2. HR Planning Defined HR planning has traditionally been defined as "the process of anticipating and making provision for the movement of people into, within, and out of an organization" (Sherman, Bohlander, & Snell, 1998, p. 124). The purpose of HR planning is to effectively utilize the resources represented by these people in order to realize the organization's goals. The traditional view of HR planning is that the organization should forecast, based on history, the head count needed to replace the people who leave the organization. HR planning as traditionally practiced focuses attention on quantity, the number of people, rather than the quality, or underlying characteristics (that is, the talents or competencies), of people. In a different sense, it is also possible to understand HR planning as the strategic business plan that guides the HR department or function, which clarifies the mission and purpose of the department or function, its goals and objectives, current strengths and weaknesses, possible threats and opportunities, and long-term strategy (Rothwell & Kazanas, 2003). HR planning serves as a guide for an organization's HR policies, programs, and procedures; it is an important part of the organization's overall business plan. Combining strategy and HR planning creates a greater capacity for change (Ulrich 1992). The challenge, however, as Brockbank (1999, in Kesler, 2000) pointed out, continues to be identifying ways in which to link HR plans and business strategy. Interest in HR planning has increased greatly in recent years. Rothwell and Sredl (2000) suggest reasons such as the importance of people and their competencies to an organization, challenges created as people affect plans that apply to them; and the wide effect of HR plans on th