Closing the Scientist-Practitioner Gap: Proven Methods of Competency Modeling

Business-Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling.
Campion, M. A., Fink, A. A., Ruggeberg, B. J., Carr, L., Phillips, G. M., & Odman, R. B. (2011)
Personnel Psychology
Vol. 64, pp. 225-262.

In an age of efficient hiring, competency modeling as a tool to guide businesses towards reaching their talent strategy goals. Competency modeling is the collection of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs). Through this, we understand what makes the effective performance of the job. With competency modeling, organizations can create a layout of current workforce capabilities and model it towards the future needs of the organization.

Certain methods of competency modeling work hand-in-hand with job analysis. As a result, they have key features that let them stand out.

  1. Compared to standard job analysis, competency modeling is more likely to be accepted by executive leadership based on the strategic information that it provides and its top down development process.
  2. Competency modeling enables one to distinguish between high and low performers or experience levels (novice, expert, etc.) Furthermore, this can be adjusted according to their level/position (junior, senior, etc) within the organization.
  3. Overall, the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA’s) identified in competency modeling are usually linked to important business objectives.
  4. Competency modeling enables alignment of HR systems so that management can hire, train and compensate according to the attributes across the whole organization rather than the business needs of departments.
  5. Competency modeling can be used as the basis to build various selection programs. Also, it improves performance management systems, career mobility insights, and many other programs typically involved in an organization’s talent management strategy.

When considering methods of competency modeling, there are 3 pillars capturing best practices that maximize its effectiveness.

  1. Analyzing competency information – one must understand the organizational context and the thoughts of top leadership as to how it will link to current goals and future needs of the organization?
  2. Organizing and presenting competency findings – focuses on the delivery of the research. One must carefully articulate findings that are easily understood across all levels. They must be organized in a fashion that is comprehensible and has the appropriate level simplicity and granularity.
  3. Competency information utilization – Organizations need to make sure that competency findings are aligned with HR systems and processes. Finally, organizations need to have a plan to maintain competencies and conduct periodic maintenance.

In essence, the best method of competency modeling is one that helps organize, maintain, and grows a talented workforce. As a result, it yields results that are realized from the top of the house to the front lines of the organizations. If you are wondering about how competency modeling and can help your organization, please reach out to Workforce Lifecycle Analytics so we can further assist you.

Article by Alex Gould & Brandon Jordan

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