Competencies: A Critical Building Block in ‘Good to Great’ Companies

By Kevin Chandler

By Kevin Chandler

Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer

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Competencies: A Critical Building Block in ‘Good to Great’ Companies

July 2018

Why has COMPETENCY become the latest HR buzz word?
Here at AbilityMap we have identified the “open secret”. When you ask the question, “if you knew at time of hire what you now know of the staff member, would you rehire them?”, the answer is that around one third would not be rehired. And that group were hired using the same recruitment processes you used to hire the top performers. Why is that?

The answer lies in defining the competencies that are present in the high performers and ensuring that new hires exhibit many of the same qualities. These qualities are called competencies.

I started researching competency modelling in the early nineties with the establishment of a generic managerial competencies model. This model was developed experientially, following hundreds of professional interactions where managers were asked to identify the qualities that led to high performance in a particular role. The data was collated and used to create a generic managerial competencies model. One of the key ingredients in the creation of this model was that for new roles, subject matter experts would complete a paired comparison analysis of the primary dimensions to determine the criticality of each competency, such that a recruiting strategy could be built – taking account of the competency set.

Competencies – What are they?

A competency is an attribute, knowledge, skill, ability or other characteristic that contributes to successful job performance. Behavioural competencies are observable and measurable behaviours, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics that contribute to an individual’s success in the organization (e.g., teamwork, cooperation or communication). Behavioural competencies can apply to all (or most) jobs in an organization or be specific to a job family, position, or career level.

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