Competency-based Approach

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Description of Competency-based Approach. Explanation.


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Definition Competency-based Approach. Description.

What is a Competency. meaning

A competency has been defined by its pioneers as:

  • The generic knowledge, motive, trait, social role or a skill of a person linked to superior performance on the job (Hayes '79).
  • A capacity that exists in a person that leads to behavior that meets the job demands within parameters of organizational environment, and that, in turn brings about desired results (Boyatzis '82).

A competency is a set (a combination) of applied knowledge, manifested skills, relevant personal attributes and underlying observable behaviors (values, judgments, attitude, motives, beliefs, ethics) that describes acceptable (or excellent) performance in a particular work or job context.


Competencies can be described in a competency profile, which can be included in a competency catalogue or competency database.


What is Competency Mapping?

Competency mapping is the process of identifying (key) competencies for a particular position (role or task) in an organization and then using the result for various HR processes including job-evaluation, recruitment, training and development, performance management and succession planning.


Why use competencies alongside of job descriptions?

One big plus of using competencies is that traditional job descriptions typically only list the tasks and functions that are needed for a particular role, but not the abilities that are needed to conduct these tasks and functions. Competency profiles help to close that gap. This enables better job <> candidate matching as well as better employee performance measurement.


Definition Competency-based Approach. Description.

A Competency-based Approach is a HRM method that focuses on the skills and talents needed to be able to perform a particular task to a certain standard. The method relies on using a series of assessment tools that identify not only the technical skills a candidate possesses, but his behavioral competencies as well. The approach can be valuable for:

  • Developing performance standards.

  • Career Management

  • Appraising employees against these standards.

  • Training and development. Identifying  needs of individual employees.

  • Recruitment. Assessing the skills, abilities and characteristics needed when hiring new employees.

Steps in the Competency-based Approach. Process

  1. Define organizational culture.

  2. Define essential job activities and responsibilities.

  3. Define technical competencies and skills required.

  4. Define behavioral competencies.

  5. Define competencies and behavioral indicators.

Two categories of Competencies

Competencies can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Work-based Competencies. Job-specific characteristics, skills and abilities such as fluency in the Italian language or the ability to work with Microsoft Excel.

  2. Behavior-based Competencies. Personal characteristics or attributes such as interpersonal skills, attitudes, motivation.

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Competency-based Approach Special Interest Group

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Usage (application): Employability, Skills, Personal Development

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Usage (application): Employee Recruitment, Competency-based Approach, Employee Selection

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Compare with: Behavioral Observation Scales  |  Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales  |  Pre-Employment Screening  |  Self-Appraisal  |  Peer-Appraisal  |  360-Degree Feedback  |  Management by Objectives

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