Benefits and Challenges of Competency Management

20/12/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Competency mapping is a way of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a worker or organization. It is about identifying a person’s job skills and strengths in areas like teamwork, leadership and decision making. Thus, it is about identifying a person’s job skills and strengths in the areas like teamwork, leadership and decision-making.

Many competency mapping models break down strengths in to two major areas- functional and behavioral. Functional skills include practical knowledge that a person needs to perform a job. For e.g. functional requirements for a secretary might include familiarity with computer systems and office machinery as well as bookkeeping knowledge. These skills are generally easy to measure through skill tests and can define whether a worker is capable of carrying out his or her responsibilities.

Competency Mapping is a process of identifying key competencies for a company or institution and the jobs and functions within it. Competency mapping is important and is an essential exercise. Every well managed firm should have well defined roles and list of competencies required to perform each role effectively. Such list should be used for recruitment, performance management, promotions, placement and training needs identification.

Benefits to competency management

Benefits for Staff:

If competency mapping can actually give a picture of the structure of the course as the students experience it, teaching staff will be able to use that picture as the basis for course refinement. The identification of key concepts is the first step towards designing a syllabus. The information gained can also be published to the students, for example by including it in the subject information handout that students usually receive in their first lecture, or by putting it on the courseware web page.

Of course, it is quite possible that the structure revealed by analysis of student results does not match the lecturer’s idea of the conceptual structure of the course. In this case, the revealed structure may suggest ways in which the course can be improved. For example, if two competencies that should be revealed (for example, C pointers and passing by reference) are not clustered together, it could indicate a need to make the connection more explicit to the students.

If the competency map uses all the coursework marks as input, this will not help the students of that year; however, it may well help teaching staff to refine the coursework for the next delivery of the course. It would also be useful to staff who are teaching follow-on courses, as they would gain a better idea of which topics need revision.

A competency map using only the marks for half of the course can be produced if staff wishes to refine the course on the fly, but care must be taken that the data are sufficient; if the only marks on record are the first six practical marks, it is unlikely that any useful conclusions can be drawn. It is not yet certain how many points are needed for competency mapping to be useful, but it is likely to depend on the amount and complexity of the course material.

These uses assume that competency mapping will educate the structure of the course. If, however, the technique does not do this, then there are still potential benefits; logically, we would expect that activities that test strongly related competencies should show correlation’s in their marks; if this is not the case there must be some reason. For example, written exam questions about linked lists might not correlate strongly with practical questions about linked lists if success in practical is more closely related to factors other than subject knowledge.

This could be the case if some students find their work environment operating system, compiler and editor-difficult to use. In this case, practical questions will tend to cluster much more strongly with other practical questions, and much less strongly with theory questions. The competency map can show that there is a problem, it is then up to the teaching staff to investigate that problem. Of course, competency mapping over subsequent years of the course will help the staff to know when they have ameliorated the problem.

In a University setting, competency mapping can be used to compare demographic subsets of students to students’ access to education, for example, if there is concern that students of non-English speaking background are finding a particular activity especially difficult because of the complex language used to explain it, then competency mapping can be applied separately to the results from students belonging to that group and the results compared to a competency map derived from the marks of the rest of the student body.

In this case, a problem with English would result in a distorted cluster arrangement; written-answer questions and questions with complex requirements would tend to cluster together. The technique may also be used to determine whether female students conceptualise the subject differently to male students. Again, if a problem is found, competency mapping over subsequent years will show staff whether the remedies are working.

Benefits for Students:

The primary benefit of competency mapping for students is the increased understanding of the student viewpoint that the teaching staff will have, and resulting in likely course improvements. However, students should also benefit directly from it. A constructivist view of the teaching process suggests that students will assimilate new knowledge and gain new skills more readily if they can be made aware of how those new- competencies interrelate with knowledge and skills that are already mastered.

Of course, Lecturers know this, most new topics begin with an explanation is almost always exclusively verbal. Information about relationships is often best presented in visual form, especially if the relationships are multidimensional, but words are one-dimensional map of the course structure, may help students construct their understanding of the course material.

If it is possible to use competency mapping to break the subject down into components that are close to orthogonal, it should also be possible to design assessment on the basis of that break down. Once the components are known, assessment tasks can be designed that test them individually, or (since it is virtually impossible to test anything in isolation) as close to it as possible. Thus a test can be delivered to students that are quite small, but gives results that are interpretable in terms of the course’s competency map.

Because competency mapping measures correlation between task marks across students, it is obviously impossible to generate a competency map based on a single student’s data, however, numeric results can be presented alongside the group competency map for example, by shading regions that correspond to topics that the student needs to work on. In this way, a student may be able to use her test results to determine her own weaknesses, and then consult the map to see how they relate to the rest of the course; using this map and compass, she may find it easier to navigate through the material.

If she still has trouble understanding the material, she may ask a staff member for help. In this case, if the staff member has access to her test results, it would be easier to pinpoint the misconstruction that is at the heart of the problem. Experience shows that determining the problem is almost always harder and more time-consuming than solving it; figuring out what needs to be explained is more difficult than developing an explanation, especially considering that teachers can develop a set of explanations that work and reuse them.

This means that the student need not worry as much about coming to consultation, and (because consultation time can be used more effectively) the teaching staff are more likely to be free to help her.

To generate a concept map, cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling are applied to proximity data generated from the number of times, concepts were clustered together. Competency maps are generated in a similar way; after student marks, data is collected; cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling are applied to proximity data generated from the matrix of correlations between the marks.

Some other Benefits:

  • This ability to identify which skills are necessary for a job means that HR can better identify the candidates that will succeed in the role.
  • Competency management can identify which skills a person needs to perform well in order to succeed in their specific role.
  • Employee onboarding and training is made easier, as there is a structure in place. Employees who receive clear, defined instructions of their job parameters will do better in their roles.
  • Errors and other issues will be decreased as a result of this improved training.
  • Employee retention is improved, employees who feel that their leadership team is investing in them are more likely to stay in their job, keeping their valuable skills and knowledge within the organization.
  • Productivity is improved by the ability to evaluate skills, identify which ones an employee is lacking, and providing the necessary training.
  • Better understanding of what skills are necessary for the organization to grow and succeed in the future, as well as the ability to select or train for these skills in new and current employees.
  • Leaders can be created from within. Leadership opportunities are important to employees, and building a skilled, loyal leadership team through effective competency management will engage employees and turn them into long-term assets.


  • It is generally a time-consuming process even if it has its own rewards.
  • If you implement a general competency plan, then it might not suit the specific requirements of your organization. If you opt for a customized tool, then it will prove expensive, and the additional expenses will affect the bottom line of the financial statement.
  • It is not easy to implement as the organization will need trained employees for its successful and effective implementation. This means additional expenses in terms of money, time and effort for the organization.
  • Most of the competency-based tools are paper-based spreadsheets. Have an automated competency model because, without it, the management will not be able to assess the employee performance effectively, nor is it possible for it to close skill gaps.
  • It is easy to overlook competencies that seem less critical.
  • The process is, in most cases, treated as a process related to the HR department because they align it with improving the performance and skill of employees. It is not considered a business imperative.
  • Many competency models do not include technical competencies in the functional portion. It is then not effective in organizations where technical skills are part of job roles for instance industries like medical, engineering and information and technology.