COMPETENCY MAPPING

Competency Mapping1Competency mapping is a process to identify key competencies for an organization and or job and incorporating those competencies throughout the various processes (i.e. job evaluation, training, recruitment) of the organization. A competency is defined as behavior rather than skill or ability. Competency approach to a job involves competency mapping.

The steps involved in competency mapping is presented below:

  1. Conduct a job analysis by taking incumbents to complete a Position Information Questionnaire (PIQ). This can be provided for incumbents to complete or used as a basis for conducting one-on-one interviews using the PIQ as a guide. The primary goals is to gather from incumbents what they feel are the key behavior necessary to perform their respective jobs.
  2. Using the results of job analysis, a competency based job description is developed.
  3. With a competency based job description, mapping the competencies can be done. The competencies of the respective job description become factor for assessment on the performance evaluation. Using competencies will help to perform more objective evaluations based on displayed or not displayed behavior.
  4. Taking the competency mapping one step further, one can use the results of one’s evaluation to identify in what competencies individuals need additional development or training. This will help in focusing on training needs required to achieve the goals of the position and company and help the employees develop toward the ultimate success of the organization.  

The benefits of Competency approach : 

  1. Increased productivity.
  2. Improved work performance
  3. Training that is focused on organizational objectives.
  4. employee know up front what is expected of them.
  5. Employees are empowered to become partners in their own performance development

Competency approach to job analysis :

Competency is a skill requires knowledge, experience, attitude, and feedback. Performance assessment criteria clearly define the acceptance level of competency in each skill is required to perform the job. The individual’s level of competency in each skill is measured against a performance standard established by the organization.

The competency based job analysis involved the following steps :

  1. Identification of major job functions.
  2. Identification of skills performed within each of the major job functions
  3. Generation of several drafts to be reviewed by employers and employees and modified to accurately reflect the skills performed on the job.
  4. Development of occupational analysis chart. The chart is a two dimensional spread sheet chart displaying the major job functions and skills : and
  5. Identification of performance standards for each skill using a competency-based rating scale which describe various levels of performance.

METHODS OF COMPETENCY MAPPING BEING FOLLOWED IN OUR ORGANIZATION:

It is not easy to identify all the competencies required to fulfil the job requirement. However, a number of methods and approaches have been developed and successfully tried out in our organization. These methods have helped managers to a large extent, to identify and reinforce and/or develop these competencies both for the growth of the individual and the growth of our organization.

Measure competency mapping methods as followed by Most Organisations :

  1. Assessment Center.
  2. Critical Incidents Technique
  3. Interview Techniques
  4. Questionnaires
  5. Psychometric Test

Our organization ECO-CARE AND AWARE, a no-profit support service / consultancy organization to the development sector following first four type of competency mapping methods.

A. ASSESSMENT CENTRE

Assessment center is a mechanism to identify the potential for growth. It is a procedure (not location) that uses a variety of techniques to evaluate employees for manpower purpose and decisions. An essential feature of the assessment centre as used by our organization is the use of situational test to observe specific job behavior. Since it is with reference to a job elements related to the job are simulated through a variety of tests. The assessors observe the behavior and make independent evaluation of what they have observed, which results in identifying strengths and weaknesses of the attributes being studied.

Our organization follow the elements as identified by the International Personnel Management association (IPMA) for a process to be considered as assessment centre.

  1. A job analysis of relevant behavior to determine attributes, skills etc. for effective job performance and what should be evaluated by assessment center.
  2. Techniques used must be validated to assess the dimensions of skills and abilities.
  3. Multiple assessment techniques must be used.
  4. Assessment techniques must include job related simulation.
  5. Multiple assessors must be used for each assessed.
  6. Assessors must be thoroughly trained.
  7. Behavioral Observations by assessors must be classified into some meaningful and relevant categories of attributes, skills and abilities, etc.
  8. Systematic procedures must used to record observations.
  9. Assessors must prepare a report.
  10. All information thus generated must be integrated either by discussion or application of statistical techniques.

Data thus generated can become extremely useful in identifying employees with potential for growth. Following are the some benefits of our assessment center:

  1. it helps in identifying early the supervisory / managerial potential and gives sufficient lead time for training before the person occupies the new position.
  2. It helps in identifying the training and development needs.
  3. Assessors who are generally senior manager in the organization find the training for assessors as a relevant experience to know their organization a little better.
  4. The Assessment Center exercise provides an opportunity for the organization to review its HRM policies.

Our organization’s assessment center comprises a number of exercises or simulation which have been designed to replicate the task and demands of the jobs and to assess the strength and weakness & potential of the employees.

  1. Group Discussion :

In this candidates are brought together as a committee or Project team with one or a number of items to make a recommendation on. Candidates may be assigned a specific roles to play in the group or it may be structured in such a way that all the candidates have the same basic information. Group discussions allow them to exchange information and ideas and give them the experience of working in a team. In the work place, discussions enable management to draw on the ideas and expertise of staff, and to acknowledge the staff as valued members of a team. Some advantage of group discussion are :

  • Ideas can be generated
  • Ideas can be shared
  • Ideas can be tried out.
  • Ideas can be responded to by others.
  • When the dynamics are right, groups provide a supportive and nurturing environment for academic and professional endeavour.
  • Group discussion skill have many professional application.
  • Working in group is fun.

A useful strategy for developing an effective group discussion is to identify task and maintenance roles that members can take up. Following roles, and dialogue that might accompany them in a group discussion have been identify

a) Positive Task Roles ;  b) Positive Maintenance Roles

a) Positive Task Roles: These roles help in reaching the goals more effectively:  

  • Initiator: Recommends novel ideas about the problem at hand, new ways to approach the problem, or possible solutions not yet considered.
  • Information seeker: Emphasises “getting the facts” by calling for background information from others.
  • Information giver: Provides data for forming decisions, including facts that derive from expertise.
  • Opinion seeker: Asks for more qualitative types of data, such as attitudes, values, and feelings.
  • Opinion giver: Provides opinions, values, and feelings.
  • Clarifier: Gives additional information- examples, rephrasing, applications about points being made by others.
  • Summariser: Provides a secretarial function. 

b) Positive Maintenance Roles : These become particularly important as the discussion develops and opposing points of view begin to emerge:

  • Social Supporter: Rewards others through agreement, warmth , and praise.
  • Harmonizer: Mediates conflicts among group members.
  • Tension Reliever: Informally points out the positive and negative aspects of the group’s dynamics and calls for change, if necessary.
  • Energiser: Stimulates the group to continue working when the discussion flags.
  • Compromiser: Shifts her/his own position on an issue in order to reduce conflict in the group.
  • Gatekeeper: Smoothes communication by setting up procedures and ensuring equal participation from members.

During an effective group discussion each participant may take up a number of task and maintenance roles to keep the discussion moving productively. In addition, there are a number of negative roles which are often taken up in group discussion. They should be avoided during group discussions. The discussion group may adopt the ground rule that negative role behaviour will be censured by members of the group. Described below are some of the negative roles to be avoided:

  • Disgruntled non-participant: someone who does not contribute and whose presence inhibits the participation of other group members.
  • Attacker: someone who acts aggressively by expressing disapproval of other members and their contributions to the discussion.
  • Dominator: someone who takes control of the discussion by talking too much, interrupting other members, or behaving in a patronising way.
  • Clown: someone who ‘shows off’, refuses to take the discussion seriously, or disrupts it with inappropriate humour.

2. In Tray :

This type of exercise are normally undertaken by the candidates individually. The materials comprise of a bundle of correspondence and the candidate is placed in the role of somebody, generally, which assumed a new position or replaced their predecessor at short notice and has been asked to deal with their accumulated correspondence

3. Interview Simulation / Role Plays :

In these exercise candidates meet individually with a role player or resource person. Their brief is either to gather information to form a view and make a decision, or alternatively to engage in a discussion with the resource person to come to a resolution on an aspect or issue of dispute. Typically our HR team allow the candidate a 15-30 minutes time to prepare for such a meeting and will be given a short, general brief on the conduct of the meeting itself, consideration are also be given to preparatory notes.

4. Case Studies / Analysis Exercises :

In this type of exercise the candidate is presented with the task of making about a decision about a particular business case. They are provided with a large amount of factual information which is generally ambiguous and in some cases contradictory. Candidates generally work independently on such an exercise and their recommendation or decision is usually to be communicated in the form of brief written report and / or a presentation made to our assessors.

B. CRITICAL INCIDENTS TECHNIQUE

It is difficult to define critical incident except to say that it can contribute to growth and decay of a system. Perhaps one way to understand the concept would be to examine what it does. Despite numerous variations in procedures for gathering and analyzing critical incidents, researchers and practitioners agree that critical incidents techniques can be described as a set of procedures for systematically identifying the behavior that contribute success or failure of individual or organization in specific situation. First of all, a list of good and bad on the job behavior is prepared for each job. A few judges are asked to rate how good and how bad is good and bad behavior, respectively. Based on these rating a check-list of good and bad behavior is prepared.

The next task is to train our supervisor in taking notes on critical incidents or outstanding examples of success or failure of the subordinates in meeting the job requirements. The incidents are to be immediately noted down by the supervisor as he observes them. Very often the employee concerned is also involved in discussion with his supervisor before the incidents are recorded, particularly when an unfavourable incidents is being recorded, thus facilitating the employee to come out with his side of the story.

The objective of immediately recording the critical incidents is to improve the supervisor’s ability as an observer and also to reduce the common tendency to rely on recall and hence attendant distortions in the incidents. Thus a balance sheet for each employee is generated which can be used at the end of the year to see how well the employee has performed. Besides being objective a definite advantage of this technique is that it identifies areas where counselling may be useful.

In real world of task performance, users are perhaps in the best position to recognise critical incidents caused by usability problems and design flaws in the user interface. Critical incident identification is arguably the single most important kind of information associated with task performance in usability -oriented context. Following are the criteria for a successful use of critical incident technique:

a) Data are centred around real critical incidents that occur during a task performance.

b) Tasks are performed by real users.

c) Users are located in their normal working environment.

d) Data are captured in normal task situations, not contrived laboratory settings.

e) Users self report their own critical incidents after they have happened.

f) No direct interaction takes place between user and evaluator during the description of the incident(s).

g) Quality data can be captured at low cost to the user.

Critical Incidents Technique is useful for obtaining in-depth data about a particular role or set of tasks. It is extremely useful to obtain detailed feedback on a design option. It involves the following three steps:

Step 1: Gathering Facts: The methodology usually employed through an open-ended questionnaire, gathering retrospective data. The events should have happened fairly recently: the longer the time period between the events and their gathering, the greater the danger that the users may reply with imagined stereotypical responses. Interviews can also be used, but these must be handled with extreme care not to bias the user.

There are two kinds of approaches to gather information:

1) Unstructured approach: where the individual is asked to write down two good things and two bad things that happened when one was carrying out an activity.

2) Moderate structured approach: where the individual is asked to respond to following questions relating to what happened when he/she was carrying out an activity.

1) What lead up to the situation?

2) What was done that was especially effective or non- effective?

3) What was the result (outcome)?

Step 2: Content Analysis: Second step consists of identifying the contents or themes represented by the clusters of incidents and conducting “retranslation” exercises during which the analyst or other respondents sort the incidents into content dimensions or categories. These steps help to identify incidents that are judged to represent dimensions of the behaviour being considered. This can be done using a simple spreadsheet. Every item is entered as a separate incident to start with, and then each of the incidents is compiled into categories. Category membership is marked as identical, quite similar and could be similar. This continues until each item is assigned to a category on at least a “quite similar” basis. Each category is then given a name and the number of the responses in the category are counted. These are in turn converted into percentages (of total number of responses) and a report is formulated.

Step 3: Creating feedback: It is important to consider that both positive and negative feedback be provided. The poor features should be arranged in order of frequency, using the number of responses per category. Same should be done with the good features. At this point it is necessary to go back to the software and examine the circumstances that led up to each category of critical incident. Identify what aspect of the interface was responsible for the incident. Sometimes one finds that there is not one, but several aspects of an interaction that lead to a critical incident; it is their conjunction together that makes it critical and it would be an error to focus on one salient aspect.

Some of the advantages of critical incident technique are presented below:

a) Some of the human errors that are unconsciously committed can be traced and rectified by these methods. For example, a case study on pilots obtained detailed factual information about pilot error experiences in reading and interpreting aircraft instruments from people not trained in the critical incident technique (i.e., eyewitness or the pilot who made the error)

b) Users with no background in software engineering or human computer interaction, and with the barest minimum of training in critical incident identification, can identify, report, and rate the severity level of their own critical incidents. This result is important because successful use of the reported critical incident method depends on the ability of typical users to recognise and report critical incidents effectively.

Some of the disadvantages of critical incidents method are presented below:

a) It focuses on critical incidents therefore routine incidents will not be reported. It is therefore poor as a tool for routine task analysis.

b) Respondents may still reply with stereotypes, not actual events. Using more structure in the form improves this but not always.

c) Success of the user reported critical incident method depends on the ability of typical end users to recognise and report critical incidents effectively, but there is no reason to believe that all users have this ability naturally.

C. INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES

Like any other organization our organization uses interview in some shape or form as a part of competency mapping. The interview consists of interaction between interviewer and applicant. We handle it carefully to make it a powerful technique in achieving accurate information and getting access to material otherwise unavailable. Biasness and restriction or distortion of flow of information avoided to our best while interviewing.

Followings careful steps are taken in our organization during and after the interview:

  1. Before the actual interview begins, the critical areas in which the questions will be asked first identified for judging ability and skills. It is advisable to write down these critical areas, define them with examples and form a scale to rate the responses. If there is more than one interviewer, some practice and mock interviews will help calibrate variation in individual’s interviewer’s rating.
  2. The second step taken is to scrutinize the information provided to identify skills, incidents and experiences in the career of the candidate, which may answer questions raised around the critical areas. This procedure will make interview less removed from reality and the applicant will be more comfortable because the discussion will focus on his experiences.
  3. An interview is a face-to-face situation. The applicant is “on guard” and careful to present the best face possible. At the same time he is tense, nervous and possibly frightened. Therefore during the interview tact and sensitivity can be very useful. The interviewer can get a better response if he creates a sense of ease and informality and hence uncover clues to interviewee’s motivation, attitudes, feeling, temperament, etc., which are otherwise difficult to comprehend.
  4. The fundamental step taken is establishing rapport, putting the interviewee at ease conveying the impression that the interview is the conversation between two friends, and not a confrontation between employer and employee. One way to achieve this is by initially asking questions not directly related to job, that is, chatting casually about the weather, journey and so on.
  5. Once the interviewee is put at ease the interviewer starts asking questions or seeking information related to job. Here again it is extremely important to lead up to complex questions gradually.
  6. Showing surprise or disapproval of speech, clothes or answer to question can also inhibit the candidate. The interviewee is over-sensitive to such reactions. Hence, an effort to try and understand interview point of view and orientation can go a long way in getting to know the applicant.
  7. Leading questions should be avoided they give the impression that the interviewer is seeking certain kinds of answers. This may create a conflict in the interviewee, if he has strong view on the subject.
  8. The interviewers are prepared with precise questions, and not take too much time in framing them.

D. QUESTIONNAIRES

Questionnaires are written list of questions that users fill out questionnaires and return. We begin by formulating questions about our services based on the type of information we want to know. The questionnaire sources below provide more information on how we design questions. The techniques are used at various stages of development, depending on the questions that are asked in the questionnaires.

  1.  Common Metric Questionnaire (CMQ) : They examine some of the competencies to work performance and have five sections : Background, Contacts with people, Decision making, Physical and Mechanical Activities, and work setting.
  2. Functional Job Analysis : the most recent version of Functional job analysis we use seven scales to describe what workers do in jobs. These are : Things, Data, People, Worker instructions, Math, and Language. Each scale has several levels that are anchored with specific behavioral statements and illustrative tasks and are used to collect information.
  3. Multipurpose Occupational System Analysis Inventory (MOSAIC): In this method each job analysis inventory collects data from the office of personnel management system through a variety of descriptors.- mainly Tasks and Competencies.
  4. Occupational Analysis Inventory : It contains 617 ‘work elements’ designed to yield more specific job information while still capturing work requirements for virtually all occupations. Major categories of items are five folds : Information received, Mental Activities, Work Behavior, Work Goals and Work Context.
  5. Position Analysis Questionnaires (PAQ) : It a structured job analysis instrument mostly followed by our organization to measure job characteristics and relate them to human characteristics. It consists of 195 job elements which fall into the following five categories.
  • Information input (where and how the workers get information),
  • Mental Processes ( reasoning and other processes that the workers use )
  • Work Output (Physical activities and tools used on the job)
  • Relationship with other person and
  • Job Context (the physical and social context of work)

f. Work Profile System (WPS) : It is designed to help employers accomplish human resources functions. The competency approach is designed to yield report targeted towards various human resources functions such as individual development planning, employee selection, and job description.

E. PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS

Many organizations use some form of psychometric assessment as a part of their selection process. For some people this is a prospect about which there is a natural and understandable wariness of the unknown.

A psychometric test is a standardized objective measure of a sample of behavior. It is standardized because the procedure of administering the test, the environment in which the test is taken, and the method of calculating individual scores are uniformly applied. It is objective because a good test measures the individual differences in an unbiased scientific method without the interference of human factors. Most of these tests are time bound and have a correct answer. A person’s score is calculated on the basis of correct answers. Most tests could be classified in two broad categories:

Aptitude Tests: They refer to the potentiality that a person has to profit from training. It predicts how well a person would be able to perform after training and not what he has done in the past. They are developed to identify individuals with special inclinations in given abilities. Hence they cover more concrete, clearly defined or practical abilities like mechanical aptitude, clinical aptitude and artistic aptitude etc.

 Achievement Tests: These tests measure the level of proficiency that a person has been able to achieve. They measure what a person has done. Most of these tests measure such things as language usage, arithmetic computation and reasoning etc.

 

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