Job Competency Profiling – the Key to Successful HR Management

Imagine in your company you have Joe Soap performing a job as a debtors clerk, and Jane Doe is a receptionist. Joe wants to move up to being a debtors team leader, and Jane wants Joe’s vacant post. You’re struggling to tell Joe that he isn’t ready for the position yet, because he has a bad attitude towards his colleagues and he’s no good at planning – both skills that he needs in order to lead the debtors team. Jane might be ready to be promoted into Joe’s job, but there are four other people wanting the position, and you need to be sure your selection process is fair and unbiased so that no-one thinks they’re being unfairly discriminated against – especially when you need to make decisions to meet EE/AA Targets.

Accurate job profiling and competency outlines are the most important tool in managing people. They enable you to:

  • Competency ProfilingManage performance on the job on an ongoing basis
  • Correct and coach performance problems
  • Give feedback regarding suitability for promotions
  • Provide clear guidelines for succession pathing and development plans
  • Reduce debates over “fairness and discrimination” in company processes
  • Determine training needs for groups and individuals
  • Determine training budgets and plan training interventions
  • Design job specifications and adverts for recruitment
  • Determine and justify pay structures and benefits
  • Provide proof of fair and equitable practices in Annual Employment Equity Reporting to the Department of Labour

Clearly, these are not just “nice-to-have”s… the new Employment Equity Act has made it easy for the DoL Inspectors to prosecute companies who don’t have objective measures in place to manage people’s performance in their jobs. It’s no longer enough for a company to have job outlines that are vague and ambiguous. Look at the examples below of some typical competencies found in job outlines/profiles:

Examples of Generic Job Competencies:

Poor/Vague Competency Statement
Oral communication skills

Could rather read…
The ability to communicate confidently face-to-face and in groups, in English,for the purpose of obtaining or providing information.

Poor/Vague Competency Statement
Tolerance in Diversity

Could rather read…
Ability to interact with individuals of widely divergent lifestyles; ability to deal objectively with individuals whose attitudes and behaviours differ from him/herself

Poor/Vague Competency Statement
Problem-solving skills

Could rather read…
The ability to determine the best course of action when given a debtors reason for non-payment, by applying both the company’s debtors policy and procedures, as well as empathy and questioning skills in identifying a suitable solution for the customer.

Poor/Vague Competency Statement
Assertiveness

Could rather read…
The ability to enforce company procedures when dealing with difficult customers/debtors, whilst still retaining strong customer relationships.

Poor/Vague Competency Statement
Teambuilding

Could rather read…
Strength in building good interpersonal relationships, motivation and positivity at work, amongst all team members.

These examples above are typical and generic statements found in most jobs, but more accurate competency profiles would be developed to suit the specific environment and objectives of each job. Competency profiling is a task that should thoroughly and with a good deal of attention-to-detail, and by specialists in consultation with the line people managing the jobs.

With clearer job competency profiling, everyone in the business starts to speak a common language, and understands more clearly EXACTLY what behaviour needs to be applied in the job. This effectively eliminates subjectivity and personal judgement, and gives people clear guidelines on what is expected, no matter who is making the assessment.

The good news is that once you have good GENERIC competency profiles, the task of tweaking these to suit specific tasks and bringing in technical skills, is a much easier one.

Copperline can help you to develop competency profiles for all of the jobs in your company, or even help you with a foundation of generic competencies for key roles, from which to build all the other job profiles in your company. Call our HR Specialist, Jo Cooke, at 082-4676768, for more information on this, and the critical role this plays in contributing to the overall productivity and legal compliance in your business.

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