Once the key behaviours in a job have been identified they become the basis of the criteria to be predicted. This allows the assessment tools subsequently used in the assessment centre to be structured, that is, directly related to the competencies shown to determine effective job performance. Almost always the job holders themselves are central to the process but frequently it may involve peers, subordinates, superiors or even customers. The involvement of senior managers especially can often pay dividends from the point of view of gaining commitment and fostering a sense of ownership, this ties in with the points discussed in module one in relation to ensuring that senior personnel buy in to the project.
Key themes involved in securing the commitment of senior managers during the competency derivation process include:
Involvement of managers in the competency framework design.
Familiarization with competencies and the behavioural assessment process.
Application of the framework to solve pressing business/organizational issues.
Review of the competency framework on a regular basis as corporate strategy develops.
The benefits of an organizationally-specific competency model include:
The specification of a visible set of agreed standards.
It can act as a model for improving all aspects of recruitment and development.
It specifies what selectors should be assessing in candidates.
It provides the basis for the design of the assessment centre.
It removes the subjectivity from assessment and performance evaluation.
It facilitates the evaluation of validity, reliability, fairness and cost benefits.
It gives a sense of ownership of the competency list.
It describes competencies in language that is relevant to the organisation.
There are however some drawbacks to having an organizationally specific competency list:
The list can take time to develop.
Competencies still need to be weighted for importance.
It lacks the research base of many generic models.
While it is important to be clear on the distinction between specific behavioural competencies and areas of competence one must remember that competencies are only descriptions of behaviour and that if a competency is too general then it may be impossible to accurately assess the specific behavioural competencies involved. It is generally better to work at a more detailed level when designing the job analysis which will allow the organisation of related competencies into groups under a common heading a later date than to design the job analysis to work at that level from the start and find later that the competencies are too general to be of any use.