Evolving Role of Competency Mapping in HR

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on May 29, 2013

In this world of cut throat competition, companies are putting tremendous effort to hire competent employees and to develop relevant competencies in their existing employees. These are one of the few ways in which companies can gain competitive edge over each other. In this slowing economy where so many companies are fighting for limited resources and talent, it is very important for organizations to incessantly reassess their competencies, update it and have the courage to make the necessary changes. It is equally imperative for a firm to define a set of core competencies which corresponds with its key market differentiators. This is where competency mapping plays a key role.


Competency Mapping

It is the process of identification of the competencies and the level of proficiency required in it to perform a given job or role efficiently.

Every job requires some set of attributes whether it is technical, managerial or behavioral to perform the same successfully; these attributes or skills are known as competencies.


Areas of Implementation

The competency mapping can be applied to the areas depicted in the following diagram:

Some of these areas are explained below:

Recruitment and selection

Competencies can be used to construct a template for use in recruitment and selection. Information on the level of a competency required for effective performance would be used to determine the competence levels that new hires should possess. This results in hiring of an employee who is organizational as well as role fit.

This way we can reduce the cost of training of the new hired employees. Employees will be productive from Day 1 and no man-hours will be lost in the training of new hires.

A firm that knows how to assess competencies can effectively hire the best at a reasonable price, for example hiring under priced but highly entrepreneurial management graduates from lesser-known business schools.

Training and Development Requirements

It involves identifying the gap between competencies required for the position and those possessed by the employee. Any such gap is bridged by providing training to the incumbent for those particular competencies only.

Career and succession planning

It involves assessing employees’ capability to take on new challenges. In order to see if an employee is suitable for occupying position at the top management; his current competency level ought to be matched against those that required at higher level position.

Performance Management System

It is important to correlate performance result with competencies.

Performance management system should be competency based and not just result based.

Competency based performance management would focus on “HOW” of performance and not on “WHAT” of performance i.e. not on results but how the results are achieved

Effective PMS should provide link to the development of an individual and not just to rewards.


Rewards and Recognition

Competency linked benefits is a new concept after performance linked incentives. Competency linked benefits focus on the fact that employees should work hard towards developing their competencies as and when requirement arises for performing their job effectively. It rewards employees who not only work hard towards achieving their target but also who put effort in enhancing their competencies (keeping in mind the dynamic needs of the job at hand).


Advantages of Competency mapping


Competency mapping provides wholesome benefits to the company, supervisors and employees.



The basic objective of an organization is to achieve its long term goals; competency mapping ensures that only competent employees work in the organization. The word ‘competent’ here refers to those employees whose skills set match with that of the one required in performing the job effectively.



Competency mapping provides ease to the managers in terms of setting the targets for the juniors as well as in evaluating their performance.

It facilitates clear communication on part of the managers.

HR managers are also clear while recruiting so as to what kind and level of competencies they are looking for in an individual for performing a particular job.



Employees are always under pressure to perform their best therefore it is imperative to define a set of core competencies which an individual should possess to do justice to his job at hand.

Competency mapping helps employees in clearly understanding what is expected from their job at hand.

It specifies the level of competencies required to perform their job effectively. This helps employees in honing the skills in which they lack.

It also demystifies the performance appraisal process for them since they know what are the competencies (besides their performance) on which they will be appraised.




Competency Mapping at L & T INFOTECH


L&T InfoTech has a successful competency-based HR system. Recruitment, training, development, job rotation, succession planning and promotions-all are well defined by competency mapping. Nearly all HR functions are linked to competency.

Competencies are enhanced through training and job rotation.  Job rotation acts as a learning experience for the employees and it widens their horizon about the company itself.

For example, a person lacking in negotiation skills might be put in the sales or purchase department for a year to hone his skills in that area. When the company first started competency mapping the whole process took eight months for six roles and two variations.

Eventually, 16-18 profiles were worked out. L&T InfoTech uses PeopleSoft for competency mapping.  Two appraisals are done- one after every project-end for skills, and the other is done on annual basis for behavioral competencies. There was initial resistance from the line people, but when the numbers started flowing, everybody eventually agreed. An SBU-based skills portfolio is published every quarter.

As far as training and development is concerned, instead of asking and forcing people to attend classes, they themselves willingly want to attend them since it will help them in improving upon their job specific skills. Introduction of competency mapping has also involved introducing competency based appraisals in performance appraisals.


Article has been authored by Tulika Bhatnagar, XIMB


The handbook of competencies by Seema Sanghi

Competency Mapping for Superior Results by Sraban Mukherjee



Views expressed in the article are personal. The articles are for educational & academic purpose only, and have been uploaded by the MBA Skool Team.

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