6 Questions about Job-specific Competency Standards

Competencies Help Determine Skills & Qualifications for Every Position

The Importance of Competencies

During a recent webinar about competencies, two points really stood out: competencies can be an integral part of performance management systems, and, you don’t have to expend time and energy building competency models from scratch. Not when we for Business can do that for you.

Here’s a sampling of our webinar audience questions and some answers from our experts.

6. Is There a Best Practice?

Q: “Is there a best practice on when to tie compensation and competencies together?”

A: Usually we see this link through performance management, where competency based ratings are factored into compensation decisions. Compensation plans and competency structures can also both be developed based on similar job analysis techniques.

5. Can Competencies Create Grade Structures?

Q: “Have you seen competencies used to create a grade structure (vs. market or point factor)?”

A: I have not seen this specific application, but I could certainly see competencies being used as part of the development of a job family that would be assigned to a grade structure. Required competencies can be used as criteria for comparing jobs internally within an organization.

4. Big or Small Companies?

Q: “Do competencies work better in smaller organizations?”

A: Competencies can be applied within any size organization, although the benefits of communication and comparability tend to be more important for larger organizations.

3. Number of Competencies?

Q: “What is the optimal number of competencies to include in a job description?”

A: This is no set standard, but you should consider how the models will be used to help determine what it the best number. While a skills inventory model might include 40 competencies, a model for a performance review would focus more on the critical competencies, perhaps including less than 20. A core model might only have 5 competencies.

2. Support for Competencies?

Q: “How do you get senior management support on using competencies? How do you communicate the benefits of competencies?”

A: Support and sponsorship generally involves creating a business case showing how competencies will help an organization to achieve a business-related objective.

1. Departmental Use vs. Company-wide Use?

Q: “What is your opinion of one functional area utilizing competencies for performance when the organization as a whole does not even utilize performance appraisals?”

A: While it is helpful to have these initiatives centrally organized to ensure the structures and approaches are consistent, I would encourage a functional area to use competencies as their own management tool even if competencies were not being used more broadly within the organization. This can be a great way to build understanding and experience.

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