How does the HR department avoid making the mistake of hiring a round peg for a square hole? By using competency mapping, says Sudipta Dev Competency-based HR is considered the best HR. In India however competency development and mapping still remains an unexplored process in most IT organisations despite the growing level of awareness. After all, Level 3 of PCMM is focused on the competency framework in an organisation. Is the underlying principle of competency mapping just about finding the right people for the right job? The issue is much more complex than it appears, and most HR departments have been struggling to formulate the right framework for their organisation. Competency mapping is a process of identifying key competencies for a particular position in an organisation, and then using it for job-evaluation, recruitment, training and development, performance management, succession planning, etc. "The competency framework serves as the bedrock for all HR applications. As a result of competency mapping, all the HR processes like talent induction, management development, appraisals and training yield much better results," states well-known HR consultant Ullhas Pagey. He however points out that the competency movement has caught on much better in the non-IT sector than the IT sector. Only a few IT organisations which are at the higher end of the HR value chain are known to be doing some work in this area; most are more busy handling recruitment and compensation-related matters. "Unless managements and HR heads have holistic expectations from their HR departments, the competency movement is unlikely to succeed as it requires lot of time, dedication and money," he adds, pointing out that before an organisation embarks on this journey it has to be very clear about the business goals, capability-building imperatives and core competencies of the organisation. The competency mapping process needs to be strongly integrated with these aspects. Experts agree that the competency mapping process does not fit the one-size-fits all formula. It has to be specific to the user organisation. "My suggestion is to develop models that draw from but are not defined by existing research, using behavioural interview methods so that the organisation creates a model that reflects its own strategy, its own market, its own customers, and the competencies that bring success in that specific context (including national culture). Start with small, discrete groups or teams, ideally in two directions-a 'horizontal slice' across the business that takes in a multi-functional or multi-site group, more or less at the same organisational level, and a 'vertical slice' taking in one whole department or team from top to bottom. From that, the organisation can learn about the process of competency modelling, and how potential alternative formats for the models may or may not fit the needs of the business," explains Stephen Martin, an international authority in the field who is also the president of ITAP Europe. Martin believes that it is important to focus on one or two key areas of implementation rather than the whole HRD agenda in one scoop. "So if recruitment and selection or performance management are the key strategic needs of the business, and where the pain is being felt, then start there," he advises, adding that competency mapping can be rather good at providing organisational pain relief when applied effectively-and so making the case for extending it. Further, it is advisable to begin with a 'horizontal' slice of the management or senior-most team as the benefits will percolate down to the whole organisation. Methodology for designing
The following methodology for designing and developing competency frameworks is suggested by Martin. "In my experience, the most effective route is to employ recognised best-practice internal research methodology using behavioural event interview (BEI) techniques to selectively sample the target...
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