Competency is the ability to implement effective behaviors able to have a deliberately planned positive impact on a given situation. The more competencies are gradually acquired (through experience, study and mentoring) and retained, the more independent individuals become in handling situations of increasing complexity.
Competencies were “discovered” when it became clear that the Fordist system was unable to explain the functioning of organisations. The efficacy and efficiency of an organisation depend on the autonomy and creativity of the people who work in it, not on how their duties are regulated. Competencies represent knowledge in action, the individuals’ ability to use their own resources, effectively rearranging and applying them to the rapidly evolving, unpredictable nature of today’s working environment.The PRAXI model describes two types of competencies:
- technical competencies
- behavioral competencies.
The first step towards defining a competency system is the construction of a corporate dictionary: a sort of lingua franca in circulation within the company, able to allow for effective communication among employees in different positions and with different professional cultures and experiences. This competencies dictionary must be able to combat lack of understanding between departments and assist communication. To this end, staff play a central role in identifying, describing and negotiating how technical competencies are organised and defined. The driving force of a company lies, however, in behavioral competencies, which are defined by the management based on company values and expectations.
Behavioral competencies are what allow organisations to determine their leadership model, i.e. the profile of the ideal leader for their particular situation. Technical and behavioral competencies are used to define profiles for roles, positions or project teams.
These competencies form the basis for devising and implementing integrated HRD processes geared towards a shared objective: smoothly channelling people towards strategic targets.The skills system provides indispensable support in:
- boosting the organisation’s expectations from its employees
- evaluating performance
- constructing remuneration systems (competency-based pay)
- managing training (needs analysis, planning, sharing learning goals, verifying learning results and impact, etc.)
- making use of “the right person in the right place”
- improving external recruitment (accurately defining requisites, promotions, trial periods, etc…)
- designing organisation
- ensuring resources are increasingly multi-faceted and multi-functional, so as to cut operating costs
- evaluating the feasibility of new business opportunities
- planning temporary work groups.