Competency Mapping - A Search For Excellence

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 743 , Published on 05 February 2016

In the competitive era companies are putting the great efforts to hire competent employees and to expand related competencies in their existing employees. In this way companies try to win over other companies. In current economy where resources and talent are limited and companies are fighting for the same so it becomes more important for the organizations to update and re-evaluate their competencies and also they have to take initiative for necessary changes. Thus competency mapping is becoming the need of organization to fight competition.

Competency Mapping helps to improve individual career growth by recognizing their Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT). It helps in identifying the gap of knowledge for accomplishing the goals and objectives of organization. Today companies approach is shifting towards multi skilled employees so to get desired results Competency Mapping is becoming the parameter of recruitment so that a person should be able to meet the job demands.


Competency Mapping Aspects

Individual Competency: When individual himself review, list and improve his competency for future and for career prospects, it is individual competency aspect.

Organization Competency: When an organization identifies and list employee’s competency for the purpose of job or particular task, it is organization competency mapping.

Overview of Competency Mapping

Competency Map: It represent the critical factors which an individual poses in any given job, department or organization.

Competency Mapping: It is a process to describe and incorporate competencies that are key area in work situation like job evaluation, training and recruitment.

Competency Profiling: The process of listing the attributes, skill, knowledge, abilities and attitude required for effective performance is competency profiling.

Competency in Organization

In order to perform the business in an excellent manner, the organization identifies the competencies of managers and employees and also takes steps for improving their job performance towards the goals of the organization. Thus, it is vital purpose of competency mapping in an organization. It represents the goal of any program and determines the existence and development of the organization. By adopting smart strategies any organization can assure its survival in competition.

Competency is a Trait not a Task Statement

Competency is the ability to meet the task by an individual in his own way but it is not the list of task statement to accomplish one’s duty regarding task. So it means that these are the traits of individual and vary from person to person that how he or she will perform their task. For example conducting a training program for employees is a task but this task will be performed by each and every individual in their own way and this is competency.

Components of Competency Mapping

There are four major components:

1. Skill: Skills are the capabilities which are acquired by employees through practice. it can be improved by experience

2. Knowledge:  Knowledge is an understanding acquired through learning. It can be explained as a body of information which is relevant to job and its performance. It is what people have to know to perform a job.

3. Personal Attributes: Personal Attributes are those inherent characteristics which are brought to the job and work as foundation upon which knowledge and skill can be developed.

4. Behavior: Behavior is an expression of a competency which can be observed, measured and learned. It is observable demonstration of individual competency.

Need of Competency Mapping

To meet the expectation for performance excellence

Systematic approach to acquire professional development

Provide common framework and language to mend and describe Key areas

Common understanding regarding specific role

Improve accuracy

Help in selection process

Foundation for clear dialogue between manager and worker about work performance and career issues

Paradigm Shift on Competency

In present scenario companies are more concerned about cost, to be or survive in competitive market. Today the great concern of business is to reduce cost so companies have moved towards a Performance based pay system in order to minimize their personnel cost. Through competency mapping differentiating rewards or rewards accordance with performance could be possible. The connection between competency potential and rate of pay is closely related because it create justice and motivation for those who have capabilities and skills than others and it is necessary also because in changing business environment to retain efficient employee is more important. This policy is based on          “Those who are doing well, are getting well”.


Behavioral Event Interview (BEI): This technique is based on structured interview to collect information about individuals past behavior. By using open-end questions candidate’s behavior in the past can be analyzed and it helps in predicting their future performance. If we directly ask about their future motives it is possible that they may extol about future contribution but with BEI technique we can get the credibility of past performance.

Star Technique (Situation- task- action- result): Star technique is a way to frame questions on situation, task, action and results which candidate had faced in past. This is a clear cut way to get response of candidate. By judging two or three situations their future contribution can be analyzed. Following components of Star Technique are;

  • What was the situation?
  • Which task candidate accomplished?
  • What actions were taken by him?
  • What was the result?

Repertory Grid: The Repertory Grid technique is used to identify the interpretation of a person about his or her experience. By his interpretation or the words which have been used in explaining his experience give inferences about his personality but it is not a personality test. This Grid is made of four components

  • A topic
  • A set of element
  • A set of constructs
  • A set of rating of elements on constructs (rating scale 5or 7 point)

Critical Incident Technique (CIT): A content analysis method is used to recapitulate the experiences of many users or many experiences of same user. It helps to remove stereotype reaction to get subjective report on opinion so the user is asked to focus on one or more critical incidents which they experienced personally.

Implementation of Competency Mapping

1.Recognizing Positions in Job

In competency mapping this is the first step to recognize the job positions and one thing always must be remembered that competency mapping is done for job positions but not for person on positions.

2.Job Analysis

An analysis of the job position is another step which is done through observation, questionnaire, interview method, diary method, critical incident method or with the panel of expert.

3.Identifying the KRA and KPA:

By job analysis it becomes easy to identify Key Result Area (KRA) and KEY Performance Area (KPA) for each job position. KRA defines outcome and KPA defines the activities which an individual ha to perform being on job.

4.Identify the Required Competencies:

With the help of KRA and KPA information it becomes easy to identify 5-6 most crucial competencies required to do a job.

5.Preparing a Competency Word Bank:

Once the competences are recognized or identified the next step is to prepare a competency word bank. At the time of interview the glossary used by candidate is recorded in competency word bank and further classified into 3-level and 5-level rating scale.

6.Preparing a Competency Matrix:

The next step is to prepare competency matrix showing the level of competency required for each job position. This matrix is based on 360 degree feedback or brainstorming session depending upon the suitability of the organization.

7.Measuring the Gaps:

In order to measure the gap the next step is to check the deviation between the required and actual level of competency placid by the candidate holding a particular job position. This also depends on 360 degree feedback or brainstorming session depending upon the suitability of the organization.


Competency mapping can eventually serve the individual who decides to seek employment in an environment where he or she possibly can learn new things and be more intellectually challenged. Basically it is not only done for confirmed employees of an organization but can also be done for contract workers. Competencies are improved through training and job rotation. Job rotation acts as a learning experience for the employees to do all this effectively and efficiently. Timely competency mapping for each recruitment cycle will ease the work. Competency based recruitment will result proper selection as per criteria found from mapping and assessment.

This article has been authored by Devika Ahuja, SIBM Bengaluru


v  Md.Ishtiak Uddin, Khadiza Rahman Tanchi, Md.Nahid Alam “Competency Mapping: A Tool for HR Excellence”, European Journal of Business and Management,2012

v  Jaideep Kaur and Vikas Kumar, “Competency Mapping: A Gap Analysis”, Journal of Education and Research, 2013

v   Ms. Mily Velayudhan T.K and Dr. Maran K., “A study on Mapping Core Competencies

and development of Employees for Excellence with reference to HCL Technologies”, Journal of Contemporary Research in Management, Vol 4, No 4 (2009)

v  R. Yuvraj, “Competency Mapping -A Drive for Indian Industries”, International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, Volume 2, Issue 8, August-2011


If you are interested in writing articles for us, Submit Here