Competencies do the job performance based HR systems

According to the Reference for Business the 6 primary functions of Human Resources Management are:

  • Job analysis
  • Organization, utilization, and maintenance of a company’s work force
  • Performance appraisal
  • Reward systems
  • Employee development and training
  • Provide meaningful contributions to business processes

How do competencies relate to this? Although used in only 5% of businesses, competency-based management can fit the need of performance based HR systems. This is where the whole organization culture reinforces performance and results so excellent practices become a competitive advantage.

Job analysis. This is one of the bed rocks of competency architecture. But instead of just discovering the task and procedure, competencies aim deeper to discover the individual behaviors that make up the task. These behaviors can be further stratified into a range of high and low performance as seen below.


Utilization of a company’s workforce. One way competencies can be applied is to help the organization operate in a unified manner. Core competencies Core competencies identify behaviors and skills all employees are expected to demonstrate to carry out. For example, Google is an innovation company. One of its core competencies is “be comfortable with uncertainty”. Some firms’ employees may be uncomfortable with change, but it is expected at Google in every employee. In a meeting, don’t expect the roadblock “this is how we have always done it”, because the company is unified towards innovating because it is a core competency.

Performance appraisal. Here an employee job performance is assessed and feedback is given. Using competencies this can be done at a deep, meaningful level.  Here is an example of a thoroughly defined evaluation rubric.


Rewards system. This is rewards for past achievements and incentives for high performance in the future. This can be inherent in the performance appraisal with promotions and rewards can be built into a system that aligning the work force with company goals. From the above example we can see that providing added value is the norm, so people have to strive high to gain rewards, propelling the performance of the organization.

Employee development and training. Here we align the workforce with the business. This is a particularly strong area for competencies. Because of the description, knowledge gap analysis can discover individual and group training needs. Then the training can be focused on reaching a specific level to meet the competency requirement. From the above example, if employees are not meeting the standard by providing added value, it is easy to focus the training on the 4 skills that make up that standard.

Meaningful contributions to business practice. One way this is seen is in stakeholder engagement. Aligning people and expectations, and having a fair, competency based evaluation system can promote buy-in. Expectations of performance are standardized, and the employee can see definitions of how to be excellent.

Of course this is not the only performance culture based HR strategy around. Total Quality Management, Lean Six Sigmas and others have tools that can meet this need also. All of these show integration of idea and practice; a means of bridging the human relations movement with scientific management.

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