How to create a competency-based job profile

August 8, 2016 Mirette Sedarous

Competencies are the building blocks for competency-based talent management, but to become a useful tool, they need to be part of competency-based job profiles. Competency-based job profiles define success for specific jobs in your organization, and they are the foundation for every competency-based HR initiative, including selection, assessment, and development.

No competency- initiative can begin until competency-based job profiles are in place. Whether your organization wants to improve the interviewing process, conduct competency-based assessments, strengthen the leadership level, or support employee development, it all begins with profiles.

If you are just getting started with competencies, the process of developing competency-based profiles can seem intimidating, but in fact, there are a range of options for putting job profiles in place that fit any budget, timeline, and experience level.  Below are some tips for considering how to develop your competency profiles.

Customization or convenience?

There is no single best way to develop competency-based job profiles. Depending on your organization’s unique business model, objectives, and priorities, you may choose to develop competencies from scratch, use a competency dictionary, or purchase profiles that are pre-configured and ready to go.

Customized competencies. If your organization is heavily regulated, highly technical, or unique in other ways, you may need to develop competencies with the help of a competency specialist. It will require a bigger investment of time and money, but you’ll end up with competencies that reflect your organizational culture, regulatory environment, and business requirements perfectly. For example, an organization with a mandate to improve diversity in the workplace may choose to work with a competency and diversity expert to develop competency content that is fair and inclusive, or an organization operating in a unionized environment may decide to develop original competency content in consultation with union representatives.

Competency dictionaries. If you operate in a fairly standard industry—accounting, IT, retail, or marketing, for example—you may want to save time and money by purchasing a competency dictionary. The competencies in a dictionary are developed and validated by IO psychologists and competency experts at a fraction of the cost of customized content. However, you’ll still need to develop a competency architecture (also known as a competency framework) to guide the selection of competencies for each job. The architecture ensures a consistent structure and logic across all jobs in the organization, which improves defensibility and supports processes such as career development and succession planning, where being able to see how employee competencies fit into other jobs in the organization is essential.  Building a competency architecture can be undertaken with the help of a competency consultant or as a self-guided exercise.

Pre-configured job profiles. If you’re looking for the quickest way to implement profiles that reflect best practices in competency-based talent management, pre-configured job profiles may be your best fit. HRSG’s job profiles include a list of the competencies required for the job and specify the proficiency levels at which the successful candidate will be able to perform. Profile content has already been architected and validated by subject-matter experts and reviewed by IO psychologists to ensure the profiles are defensible and adhere to HR best practices, so your organization can feel confident using them out of the box, with no additional adjustments required.

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