Competency Management

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Leadership Communications Inc. 15 Warner Way, Suite 100 Canton, MA 02021 www.tolead.com

Practical Questions for Building Competency Models

Richard S. Mansfield Strategic Partner, Leadership Communications Inc.1 Presented at Insight Information Company Conference Competency-Based Management for the Federal Public Service Ottawa November 6-7, 2000

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Richard Mansfield, 20 Lincoln Lane, Sudbury, MA 01776, USA. Tel.: 978-443-9668, Fax: 978443-9669; Email: RSMansfie@AOL.COM

Leadership Communications Inc. 15 Warner Way, Suite 100 Canton, MA 02021 www.tolead.com

Table of Contents Introduction....................................................................................................................3 The First Competency Model .......................................................................................3 The Evolution of Competency Modeling .....................................................................4 How Are Competency Models Built Today?...............................................................7 Resource Panels..............................................................................................................7 Critical Event Interviews ..............................................................................................8 Generic Competency Dictionaries ................................................................................9 Other Sources of Data .................................................................................................10 Key Questions for HR Professionals Building Competency Models....................... 12 1. What HR application should we include in the initial model building project?........12 2. What will the key users of the model need from it? ..................................................14 3. How should key stakeholders be involved?...............................................................17 4. How extensive should the data collection be? ...........................................................17 5. How should we balance research with intuitive approaches?....................................19 6. What format of behavioral descriptors will best suit the application?.......................23 7. How do we plan to accommodate additional, future competency models?............... 29 Concluding Thoughts................................................................................................... 32 Suggested Additional Readings .................................................................................. 33

Practical Questions for Building Competency Models

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Leadership Communications Inc. 15 Warner Way, Suite 100 Canton, MA 02021 www.tolead.com

Practical Questions for Building Competency Models

Introduction Competency modeling, an approach originated 30 years ago, has become a mainstream practice in human resource management. Over that period, the methodology has evolved, partly in response to changes in organizations and the workplace, and partly in response to the needs of people using the competency models to address specific needs in organizations. I will begin with a brief discussion of the original creative insights from the development of the first competency model, because some of these insights are still relevant today. Next, I will describe how changes in organizations and the world of work have affected the practice of competency modeling. In the rest of the paper, I will draw on my own experience in competency modeling over the past 20 years, to discuss seven practical questions for human resource professionals and others who are planning to develop competency models in their organizations.

The First Competency Model The first competency model was developed in the early 1970’s by the eminent psychologist David McClelland and others at a fledgling consulting firm called McBer and Company2. The U.S. Department of State was concerned about the selection of junior Foreign Service...
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