Competency Mapping: A Case Study

The Complexity Of Competency Mapping

Competency mapping workouts may be difficult for organizations. “Why?” one could surprise since individuals are geared up with competencies to carry out their duties effectively and make organizations profitable. Have competencies turn out to be too advanced to decipher? Or, has the train itself turn out to be too tough for organizations as a result of data, expertise, and attributes/talents (KSAs) are too huge to categorize with out losing an excessive amount of time? This text will delve deeper into the complexities of competency mapping and illustrate with an instance the assorted phases of the method.


We had been invited to carry out a competency mapping train by a car manufacturing firm. The intent was to map competencies to job roles, establish ability gaps, and recommend particular person improvement plans (IDPs) wherever gaps had been inflicting efficiency points. For the pilot, we needed to focus solely on one division. We got a month to finish the project.

This didn’t look like an unimaginable agenda, because it was a easy and simple job. A few days into the duty, we realized that issues weren’t so simple as they appeared. Every division was divided into a number of subunits. Every subunit had a number of job roles and every position had a number of related ability units.

Previous makes an attempt to group expertise and assess ability gaps had failed as a result of competencies had turn out to be advanced clusters that had been deeply entwined and tough to segregate. For instance, engineers within the testing unit had the first duty of testing an engine, for which a number of expertise had been wanted. Additionally they had a number of secondary and tertiary duties to carry out that referred to as for a special set of KSAs. Other than purposeful expertise, there have been additionally a number of behavioral ability necessities for his or her job roles.

With such advanced ability clusters in every subunit of the division, we realized we had been taking a look at a talented net that will take a very long time to untangle, categorize, and map. To perform this, we determined to comply with a sequence of steps.

Creating An Understanding

Although stakeholders on the prime administration degree had been driving this train, we realized throughout our preliminary interactions that these on the center and decrease administration ranges didn’t have an correct understanding of what the competency mapping train meant.

There was a tacit assumption amongst staff leads and managers that the duties carried out by their staff members had been synonymous with competencies. The idea of “competency” was not acquainted to them and if an individual may carry out duties, they had been thought of “competent.” Sometimes, many don’t need to know past this and surprise why it’s essential to know extra, as an individual performing duties and folks managing duties are aligned on the expectations.

We strived to elucidate what competency means with the instance of a cook dinner’s job position. A cook dinner wants data of various cuisines, perception into viewers preferences, experience in mixing elements for the right style, aesthetic presentation expertise, and so forth. Collectively these expertise outline the competency of a cook dinner. The duties of a cook dinner, resembling making ready dishes, don’t translate to the competency of “cooking.” Quite the opposite, the competency of a cook dinner determines how nicely they carry out duties. So, primarily based on the extent of proficiency in these competencies, a cook dinner may be termed mediocre, glorious, or another degree.

This straightforward instance was relatable to all and we had achieved our first goal of serving to our stakeholders perceive the significance of defining competencies. We then proceeded to supply the next definition of competency and competency mapping: The data, expertise, attributes (KSAs), and habits wanted to carry out duties efficiently or effectively is outlined as competency. So, an individual is termed “competent” once they carry out their job duties at their environment friendly greatest.

Competency mapping is the method of figuring out the KSAs and habits wanted to carry out a selected job position.

Emphasizing The Advantages Of Competency Mapping

We additionally highlighted the next advantages of competency mapping in order that we had the entire “buy-in” of the center and lower-level administration stakeholders as a result of the train can eat their time, in addition to their staff’s. With out seeing the purpose, we realized they’d not be absolutely invested within the course of and except that occurred, our efforts wouldn’t succeed.

We defined that competency mapping is crucial for:

  • Efficiency improvement: Makes decision-making simpler throughout efficiency value determinations, particularly with regard to promotions
  • Recruitment and choice: Helps to establish the fitting expertise for job roles and supplies a foundation for making hiring choices extra simply
  • Coaching and improvement: Allows targeted coaching and ability assist interventions
  • Succession and profession planning: Supplies a clearer course relating to profession and ability paths, in addition to development
  • Compensation: Allows benchmarking salaries and different compensation advantages when the ability parameters for job roles are clearly outlined

Organizations and departments have a aggressive edge when competencies are clearly outlined and articulated as a result of they know what to search for whereas hiring and find out how to develop competencies to be future-ready. Furthermore, clearly outlined competencies construct higher cohesion inside a company, as there may be extra transparency and alignment with the group’s mission and core values.

Figuring out The Division And Hierarchy

Our subsequent job was to establish which division we should always select for the pilot and who could be our audience. Discussions with the highest administration helped us perceive that the engine division could be preferrred for the pilot challenge, because it was going through a number of challenges together with attrition and efficiency points. Since a lot of the points had been being confronted at junior ranges, we determined to concentrate on the engineers as much as the assistant supervisor degree.

Job Evaluation

Our most important job now started, which was to investigate job roles and establish associated KSAs and behaviors.

Job Descriptions And Specs

We kicked off with the tried-and-tested technique of gathering job descriptions and specs. Here’s a transient description of what these phrases suggest:

  • Job descriptions element the duties and obligations of a job
  • Job specs, however, specify the qualities required from a job holder

We continued to carry out the following steps within the course of. First, we met the staff leads, who had been capable of present job descriptions that they usually used for hiring varied roles of their staff. Other than this, they didn’t have any documented ability checklist.

We then met the managers of every subunit. They had been moreover capable of give us some Excel sheets that had a short description of the duties that their staff members carried out. This gave us a abstract of job specs.

Usually, competency maps are blended up with job descriptions and specs. We discovered this occurring right here too. We had to assist our stakeholders perceive the next variations in order that we may enlist their assist to establish KSAs for job roles.

Competency mapping desk 1

Having supplied a greater understanding of the significance of competency mapping, we proceeded to work with stakeholders to establish expertise for job roles within the engine division. Job descriptions and specs had been a very good start line to reach on the KSAs for each position.

We had detailed interviews with staff leads and managers, which helped us consolidate ability lists and fill a number of the gaps. For instance, some key technical expertise, resembling data of CAD design, had been said in job descriptions. However tertiary expertise, resembling emission testing capability, had been lacking. Some behavioral expertise had been additionally lacking from job descriptions.

Job Shadowing

We felt it was essential to watch the duties of some pattern viewers of every position for a while and in addition work together with them. The intent was to know if the KSAs we had recognized earlier mapped to real-time duties being carried out. In the course of the job shadowing train, we discovered that, certainly, there have been some modifications that wanted to be made to KSAs, as some expertise had turn out to be redundant for sure roles, and for others, there have been new expertise that had turn out to be essential. We had been capable of tweak KSAs and map them extra precisely to duties and corresponding roles.

Ability Validation

We additionally analyzed all hiring and exit knowledge within the group to know the everyday ability necessities vs gaps. This gave additional perception into the sort of expertise that existed within the group versus what was important for fulfillment in a selected job position. We then met the top-level administration stakeholders, mentioned the ability checklist we had gathered, and enlisted their assist to validate knowledge. By way of step-by-step knowledge evaluation, we had been capable of derive a complete ability checklist associated to completely different job households within the engine division.

Getting ready Competency Maps

Having ready an inventory of expertise for job roles within the engine division, we went on mapping expertise to competencies required for every job position. Right here is an instance of an inventory of purposeful competencies for a junior-level engineer on this division:

Competency mapping table 2

Competency mapping desk 2

Following had been a number of the behavioral competencies we recognized:

Competency mapping desk 3

It was preferrred to additional categorize competencies into threshold competencies to outline the minimal expertise required for a job and differentiate competencies to outline what could be the important thing differentiator for a job. Here’s a generic instance from the educational trade for instance the idea:

Competency mapping desk 4

Indicating Proficiency Ranges

For the following step, it was necessary to create a framework for score competencies. We used the tried-and-tested Behaviorally Anchored Score Scales (BARS) to outline proficiency ranges. Sometimes, BARS are offered as a scale with a number of factors to point ability development required for particular competencies. Whereas creating the BARS scales, you will need to present a transparent definition of competencies at every degree. By together with particular markers of competencies together with numerical scores, BARS may be much less subjective. Right here is an instance of the BARS scale we created for competencies within the engine division:

Competency mapping desk 5

With all expertise we had gathered, we created a complete competency dictionary with BARS scale scores.

Evaluating Efficiency

Workers may be assessed for his or her competency ranges by a mix of varied methods. Listed here are some that we used:

  • Self-assessment
    We requested the audience of our research to finish a self-assessment of their expertise. You will need to know what the audience themselves take into consideration their competency ranges in order that their opinion is considered.
  • Evaluation by purposeful managers
    Useful managers are individuals who work carefully with groups. Their analysis and scores are necessary for understanding the present ability ranges of their staff members. Their analysis may be in contrast with self-assessment scores to establish competency gaps.
  • Psychometric assessments
    To deliver objectivity to the train, psychometric assessments are one of the efficient methods. These assessments assess the aptitude, curiosity of workers, and character traits. This additional helps to establish areas of energy and alternative for every worker. The problem we confronted was in assessing purposeful competencies, as there have been no personalized assessments out there for such area of interest competencies. We needed to work with stakeholders to create some assessments. Once more, we in contrast scores with earlier scores by workers themselves and managers. This helped us make goal choices on the competency ranges of the viewers we had been assessing.

Whereas hiring new workers, nevertheless, we really helpful the next 3 methods, aside from interviews that are obligatory:

1. Evaluation-Centered Workout routines Together with The Following

  • Interviews
  • Group actions
  • Roleplays
  • In-tray workouts

In evaluation facilities, workers wanted to be assessed are required to carry out the above actions in a simulated atmosphere. Their expertise, particularly behavioral expertise, are noticed and evaluated.

2. Vital Incident Strategies

It’s a technique wherein an interviewee is requested to recall and describe a time when an incident positively or negatively impacted a specified consequence.

3. Psychometric Checks

As described earlier, psychometric assessments are probably the most tried-and-tested technique to evaluate each purposeful and behavioral expertise.

The above methods name for a separate dialogue and aren’t within the scope of this text.


We signed off the engagement by submitting an in depth report of our findings. We additionally created a person improvement plan (IDP) for workers for these points of expertise that might be improved by coaching, job shadowing, and different interventions required for ability enhancement.

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