Effective employers have been using competencies to manage human capital for some time now. Competencies can be utilized for recruitment; performance management; designing professional development tools and training; and compensation. Competencies are the characteristics and behaviours needed for a particular position, or even a particular task, and can include any measurable combination of knowledge, skills, talents and attitude.
Successful recruitment interviews are based on competencies; most of us are familiar with interview questions that focus on behavioural scenarios. This type of interview is not only more structured, but, working on the assumption that past behaviour predicts future behaviour, it gives employers a far more accurate idea of a candidate’s abilities and how good a fit his / her skills and talents are with the company’s needs.
Organizations also use competencies to ensure that their personnel performance expectations are aligned with the company’s vision and goals. With access to the appropriate data, employers can identify competency gaps and put in place training programs specifically designed to fill these. Ideally, the employee’s professional development needs can be matched with those of the organization. Performance evaluations can be linked to specific criteria and the results directly linked to compensation.
Basing performance management on competencies places the focus on behaviours; it is not just the skills that matter, but how the employees apply those skills and how they handle challenges and achieve goals. Competencies can be determined by starting with the desired ‘finished product’ and working backwards. In other words, observing those employees who are outstanding in their role and then looking at what particular skills, behaviours and characteristics they possess. These are the desired competencies for that particular job; for example, problem solving might be a desired competency for one position, whereas another might call for excellent interpersonal relationships or strong leadership skills. The classic ‘job description’, for example, could be replaced by a ‘competency profile’ for each position in an organization, taking the focus away from specific tasks and responsibilities and placing it instead on the skills, attitude and behaviours required to successfully complete these.
The use of competency management tools benefits employers and employees alike. It allows employers to improve hiring practices and also to identify particular performance criteria and clarify these for performance expectations. Meanwhile employees can readily see what the criteria are for success and work on meeting these.
Many companies are using cloud computing to manage data for their talent database, professional development programs, performance management and salaries. Cloud computing enables this data to be available to any or all members of an organization anytime, anywhere. Employee competencies have become an essential part of the progressive HR department’s repertoire and there are many resources for HR departments to call on.
Shift iQ offers clients the possibility to maintain a talent database with resumes, employment and education history, credentials and an inventory of talents, skills and competencies. Security methods are in place, allowing sensitive data to be controlled by passwords and limited access. Compensation programs can be structured to link to business results and individual objectives while salary surveys can be delivered online and feedback is streamlined.
Additionally, Shift iQ’s performance management module allows employers to develop online peer reviews and manage responses in a central talent database. Their learning management module makes online training programs available to anyone, anywhere in an organization; tests and exams can be delivered and results analyzed.
Using cloud computing to manage competencies data clearly helps an organization maintain its competitive edge by enabling a more efficient management of human talent.