ChandramowlyGuest Author

Building Value based Competencies- 2 COMPETENCY BASED HRM

Source | MR Chandramowly | Competency Architect – HR & OD Consultant

VIJAY the HR Manager who recently got inducted into Corporate HR has a coaching session with his coach and mentor KISHAN.

VIJAY: Sir, the definition what we saw looks perfect. Competency is the Observable and measurable Knowledge, Skill, Attitudes, Attributes, Values and Motives that must be applied to achieve results aligned with Goals. Now, they simply call it as “ASK”, the acronym for Attitude, Skill and Knowledge

KISHAN: That’s true. Simplification is easy for learning. But as a head of employee development you must be able to understand and explain the intricate layers of human mind. For example, certain words like “Attitude, Behaviour and Trait” are used as synonyms, but they are not. Attitude is the invisible the mind-set that underpins the way a person feels, thinks and acts. Behaviour is the way a person feels thinks and acts. It is the key word in Competency context. Behaviour is observable through set of actions demonstrating a competency. Trait is a distinguishing characteristic of personality, behavioral style or tendency.

VIJAY: This brings up more clarity. Similarly I have captured the definition for Knowledge and Skill.

KISHAN: Is it so? Good. Let’s look at that.

VIJAY: Sir, in our Competency Model we have defined the term Knowledge as the intellectual and information capital which includes facts, data, procedures and collective experiences of organization. Skill is doing and performing an activity, demonstrating competency to meet a set of performance standards.

KISHAN: Looks fine.  Coming back let us looked the words Competency and Competence.  We say that ‘He is Competent’, ‘He has competence’. ‘His competency is higher accordingly to our qualified standards of the Job performanceprocesses. Competence is the condition or state of being competent. Competency is a cluster of Knowledge, Skills and Attributes resulting in Superior performance and Competency Model is the listed collection of competencies and standards of performance establishing behavioral indicators for specific job positions.

VIJAY: Oh, It is very clear. Thanks. But, Sir, now this topic has become the baby of HR. I do not know how to sell this concept to management and employees for implementation.

KISHAN: If any model, policy or system becomes a HR baby it will die soon. Policy making alone is not enough. Without strategic implementation, coaching, following up and assessment nothing can be implemented.

There are two dimensions to Competency Based HRM. Employee Development and Performance Improvement. Strategic Business Objectives drawn from Company’s vision will demand specific competencies to achieve it. Defining, Developing and Assessing those competencies which result in superior performance are the keys. Employees must constantly learn new competencies every year which will make them employable. Organizations will benefit by the execution and results.

Before investing money and time on a new systems or process, an organization will ask you how the new system or process will ensure achievement of business goals and enhance performance levels. Employees will respect a system when they are involved in developing it and see an opportunity for growth for them.

VIJAY: Sir, but I have seen many organizations having their best competency models and I don’t see their upward business progression. Besides that their employee development and retention is also dwindling.

KISHAN : Dear VIJAY, many spend time and money and few only use it. Some build models for as a corporate decoration. Few buy out a readymade model and push it down. Key is the implementation. There are four key areas here. The Competency model developed for organizations must be employee talent based that is specifically aiming at the market and business challenges. All the hiring decisions must be based on well build competency model. Every performance management cycle must ensure to assess what competencies were displayed in achieving goals and which are the new competencies that are learnt. Lastly there must be an individual coaching , group training and periodical follow-up. When the HR systems area implemented with a competency base people will take it seriously and put in their best efforts for follow the same as it benefits their growth.

To get the best support from management, HR must project it as business case defining how competency based HR systems will support business ensuring superior level of performance yielding enhanced business results.

Competency is the human capital. Competencies are consistent, measurable criteria of how to train and measure the superior performance of organisations. They are the common language for the integrated talent management system. It will help business leaders to make key decisions and optimise investments. Without having consistent performance measuring criteria there will be too much bias in decision making especially in selection, promotion and performance assessment areas. The damages of wrong selection, promotion and assessment are huge.

For instance take a case of an Executive. He may be a top performance as an individual contributor. If  he is promoted to a manager’s role  exclusively based on past performance, you must understand that  his job is totally different. Till now he was managing his own performance. Now, he has to manage performance of others. He should have new competencies to succeed in the new role. A promotion ignoring competency ‘Person-Position Fit” could be detrimental to one’s own career and may cause huge losses to the company. Decisions taken based on impressions and emotions may lead to dangerous levels. It is better to adapt to a model.  At this state we look at what are competencies to succeed at each level. For People, it will be a better understanding of performance expectations, career expectation,  and ownership of their own professional development and to view and review what the right behaviours to achieve the top performance are.

For Managers, it gives and edge for more effective coaching, conducing easier Performance Appraisals,  take better hiring decisions.

All of this will impact the entire organisation, it will reduce turnover, retain top talent, and align behaviours with strategy and vision.

That’s how we need to communicate, share, educate and get support from employees , functional heads and the top management which will empower you to implement the system successfully.

VIJAY: That’s really great Sir! Now, can you tell more about Competency Models, How many competencies? How to develop the Competencies internally?

KISHAN: Oh sure. Your enthusiasm is as great as my hunger! Can we break for a bite?

Originally published @

chandramowlyM. R. Chandramowly is a Trainer and HR Solutions Facilitator. A Graduate in Science and a Post Graduate in Literature/Anthropology he has received course graduation from Covey Leadership, Competency Management Accreditation from SMR Inc, VOICES Certification from Lominger Inc, ‘Human Values’ from IIM Calcutta and ‘Silva Mind control’ from Australian Business Programs.Mowly, with 25 years of HR professional experience worked with organizations like MICO Bosch, PSI-Bull. and took to HR training and consulting after his last assignment as Corporate VP – HR for Praxair Group in India. An active contributor in the area of Leadership Competencies and HR Education. Mowly has trained executives of several organizations and published articles, presented theme papers in national and international HR conferences.

A visiting faculty teaching Business Ethics for Post Graduate HR, Mowly served as secretary of National HRD Network and facilitated HR workshops for National Institute of Personnel Management and Bangalore HR Summit. He is working on synthesizing eastern wisdom with western leadership competencies developing a learning module ‘Value Based Competencies’. The author is an HR Expert and can be reached at

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