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Frameworks for identifying and developing employee competencies

Frameworks for identifying and developing employee competencies

The process of identifying and developing employee competencies is important in translating the strategic intent of an organization into organizational competitiveness. We discuss various frameworks for identifying and developing employee competencies, including two traditional approaches and two alternative approaches.

The two traditional approaches are labeled job-based and future-based. We label the job-based framework as such because the competencies are derived from an analysis of the job requirements. The future-based approach focuses on competencies needed to achieve a future strategic direction. An alternative competency framework is labeled value-based because competencies in the framework are based on the values of the organization. A second alternative framework is referred to as person-based, as the competencies are based on characteristics of people rather than on task.

 Job-based approach

The job-based framework for developing competencies is likely the most common. Under this approach, the development of competency criteria begins with an analysis of present job requirements. Competencies might be identified through surveying or interviewing target employees regarding competencies needed on the job. A less rigorous, but common, approach is to identify required competencies by culling through a generic competency list.

Competencies developed with a job-based approach identify skills that reflect what is needed to perform the jobs in the organization. Therefore, the competencies speak to performance on the current job and are based on the assumption that the current job will not dramatically change. The competencies have a static nature. Further, they focus on the content of the job since they are based on a job analysis. Thus, the competencies center on what is done on the job. Job-based competencies would best fit in and promote organizational cultures that would be characterized as hierarchical and fixed. In this scenario, job expectations and the environment would be highly defined, and the environment would be static.

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