Why Competency Management?

The purpose of implementing a competency management framework is to gain a competitive edge in a competitive world. Work has to be restructured in different ways to meet the present and future challenges. Competent human capital ensures organisational competitiveness and prosperity.

What is Competence?

Competence has generally been referred to as being job related with a focus on skills acquisition. The VET movement has been largely focused on competence. The competence focus was on developing vocational competencies that were transferable between jobs, occupations or roles. The goal of this approach is to ensure threshold performance or minimum standards are being met
by the job incumbent.

What is Competency?

A competency is an underlying characteristic of an individual that is causally related to criterion referenced effective and or effective performance in a job or situation.

Competency is more person related with a focus on the underlying characteristics that are fairly deep and enduring
and part of the person’s personality. It is expected to predict behaviour in a variety of job tasks and situations.

Causally means there is a correlation to performance. The five types of characteristics are Motives, Traits, Self Concept,
Knowledge and Skills.

What are the essential elements?

The essential elements were defined as follows:

Competencies (knowledge, Skills, attitudes) to be demonstrated by the learner,
Criteria to be employed in assessing competencies
Assessment of the learners competency

What are the drivers for the Competence movement?

Six drivers have fuelled the VET field in Europe according to a study conducted by European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2009:

The speed of change in technology, processes and demographic changes such as the entry of the young workforce,

The traditional form of education that was supply driven was being replaced by demand driven models where the focus is on output

Competence and Competency

While competence is more job related and has a vocational training emphasis, competency is more person related.
Competence focuses on threshold competences that ensure a person is able to meet the minimum standards; competency focusses on differentiating competencies that differentiate superior and poor performance. Boyatzis attempted to marry
the two by including skills and knowledge within underlying characteristics.

How do you develop a competency model?

A six step model is recommended even though the depth and time taken to develop a comprehensive model would depend on the scope of the project.

The steps are:
1. Establish the performance criteria.
2. Identify people for the criterion samples to differentiate performance.
3. Collect data through behavioral event interviews (BEIs) or other assessment methods.
4. Analyze data and define the competencies.
5. Validate the model.
6. Design applications.

What are the drivers for Competency Management

Performance is the central driver within a competency based system. When the people hired and the right
learning opportunities implemented fit with the organisational needs, organisations are able to achieve
their performance goals.

Costs savings can be huge. Wastage incurred due to poor hiring and development can be substantial.

Each of them varies on the time taken to complete the assessments, costs, quality (validity and reliability) and administrative convenience.

The acronym RIOT is a good guide for use in Competency Assessments.

  • Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Tests

How do we manage the complexity of competency management implementation in a cost effective way?

Implementing Competency Management in an organisation is a complex exercise. There are no short cuts. It involves extensive investment of time, resources and money. Ultimately, the data obtained from the exercise must lead to productive decision making about people.

While organisations aim to use enterprise resource systems such as SAP and Oracle, there are many specific competency applications such as HRDPower which are more specific for competency and talent management.


From the booklet Tips On Competency Management A Primer by R.Palan.

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