The Process of Competency Based Assessment

The increasing competition and changing business needs demand that the HR professionals responsible for the management of human resources of an organization upgrade and modify their roles and become strategic business partner and an important stakeholder in the growth of the organization. This further translates into the fact that, all the HR strategies, processes and policies need to support the interim and future business objectives of an organization. Therefore, competency based human resource management was accepted and implemented by a large number of organizations. It addressed, this need of changing times where the technical know-how and expertise of one job was replaced by competencies which were more flexible, forward looking and developable to be used across the organization for more than one role.

When competency based assessment is adopted as a central strategy it is then further linked to the other HR processes of the organization like selection and hiring, performance management and learning and development. But, before implementing competency based assessment in the organization, it becomes important that the HR department does a comprehensive groundwork. Let us explore what are the critical considerations for the same:

  • Assessing the feasibility of the process is important as it depends on the buy in and involvement of a large number of people and critical resources

  • It is also important to assess the extent of desirability of people to be open and accepting to a new strategy or approach. It becomes all the more important when the organizational culture has not been very performance oriented

  • The exact goals to be achieved by the strategy needs to clearly understood and shared with all the people who would be affected by it

  • An elaborate plan of how these goals shall be achieved and what role would the competency based assessment would play with a special emphasis on how people would be affected also needs to be shared

While these may be a few important points, however, introducing a new strategy or approach in the organization which has a lasting impact on a large number of people is never easy. Once the premise for competency based assessment is clearly established it becomes comparatively easier to initiate the change in other HR processes.

The next step of the process then becomes identifying critical organization competencies, developing a framework and cascading the framework in the organization. This is to ensure, that the employees are well aware of the competencies for different level with a clear understanding of desired behaviors to be displayed in their specific job roles. The cascading of the competency framework can be done internally by the HR team members or external consultants can be called in to conduct workshops and seminars to introduce and promulgate the competency framework within the organization.

Once the competency framework becomes known and is accepted by the employees, the next step becomes integrating it with the assessment processes used in the organization.

The assessment processes then have to realign to evaluate the specific competencies, some examples will help in understanding how this process happens:

  • The interview with the prospective job incumbent will now have to be a competency based structured interview where not just past experiences and technical knowhow will be evaluated but the versatility of the skills, organizational fit and personal motivations will also be explored

  • The performance appraisal system of the organization would now rely on ratings received by employees on competencies relevant to their roles making the process transparent and objective for both the managers and employees

  • The reward system of the organization would consider competencies to decide compensation and benefits for the employees

  • The skill gaps and training need assessment will now refer to competency framework to understand the developmental needs of the employees

Constant review of the process would further help in improving, strengthening and reinforcing the culture of assessments based on competencies.


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