Determine Employees' Competency Gap for Training and Talent Management

Competency Gap is the difference between the current competency level (CCL) of your employees and the required competency level (RCL).

In other words, the disparity or difference between the existing abilities, skills and competencies of your employees and what are expected of them in achieving the objectives that you want them to achieve IS the competency gap.

"Competency" consists of the skills and knowledge required by employees to effectively perform their jobs or specific tasks assigned to them from time to time. It can include talent or natural skill.

One other definition of 'competency' is that it is "the ability to do something successfully or efficiently".

An organization needs information on employees' competencies in order to improve the quality of human resource training and development programs.

Determination of Competency Gap

Determining the skills and knowledge gaps of employees is a necessary part of the organization's human resource plan.

In order to identify the competency gap of any employee, it is necessary to determine the following:

  • the types of competencies required to perform the job well,
  • the required competencies level required of the employee
  • industry competency standard for each of the position in the organization

The majority of competencies relate to functional and behavioral competencies of employees and vary from those at the top level to the lowest. Core competencies are common competencies for every position in the organization. Core competencies are the ones that organizations cannot do without.

The required competency level (RCL) is the standard of performance for each duty based on industry standard. The "industry" refers to the type of industry in which your organization is carrying out its activities.

The standard can range from 3 as being satisfactory to 4 as having performed beyond the expectation of the organization or 5 as having performed to industry standard. An employee who has attained a rating of "5" is considered as an expert in his or her field.

You need to carefully examine anything lower than this.

The employee's competency is assessed at the end of a certain period of time, usually one year and no shorter than nine months particularly for new employees.

Usually the current competency level is based on ratings such as:

  • 1 for beginner's level
  • 2 for below standard
  • 3 for satisfactory performance
  • 4 for performance beyond expectation, and
  • 5 for performance to industry standard

For example, if the RCL is 4 and the assessment by the supervisor indicates that the employee's CCL is 3, the "competency gap" is "1". It is expressed as a percentage.

If the CCL is 4 and the RCL is 3, the employee had exceeded expectation by "1".

All of these require people to make value judgement. There is no assurance that errors will not occur. In fact, some variance is expected.

Use of Technology in Determining Employee Competency Gap

HRD software is usually employed to manage employee competencies due to its complexity. (HRD = Human Resource Development) The determination of competency gap is an important part of this system.

The HRD system is also used to:

  1. to find the best "fit" between the employee's competencies to the requirements of his or her current position and whether with the current competencies, the employee can perform other types of job and to what degree
  2. to manage employees' application for training based on the needs of their current jobs
  3. to keep and maintain records of expenses on training / courses attended by each employee
  4. to determine whether a new employee is ready for confirmation in service, and
  5. to help executives in performing training needs analysis while in the process of preparing training and development programs

The Right and Responsible Use of Technology

It is necessary to use technology in determining competency gaps of employees.

Use this information in talent management, in determining the types and frequency of training that each employee is required to attend, and in employees' career development.

Technology can facilitate better decision making. However, manipulation of technology is a real possibility. There are recorded instances of this happening. This requires following ethical standard.

In addition, the saying "garbage in, garbage out" is of real concern. Ensure accuracy of data entered into the system. Honesty, vigilance and firmness of system administrators are critical.

The following are some of the things organizations need to keep in mind.

  • Organizations need to ensure that employees are skilled in the use of technology including using it ethically.
  • Everyone needs to know and understand that there are limitations to capabilities of technology.
  • Managers and supervisors must not misuse the system to achieve their own ends or to help people under their jurisdiction. This can include cases where the ability of the employee is indicated as adequate but actually wanting. It may also happen that the employee's competence is stated as too low thus not reflecting the true position, namely, that the employee is capable.
  • Accuracy of data entered into the system is of prime importance otherwise it is not possible to achieve the intended objectives.
  • The organization needs to ensure that every manager and supervisor are equipped with the skills in determining the RCL and the CCL to ensure accuracy of the competency gap of each of their subordinates.
  • Both management and employees must understand that the determination of salary increase and / or entitlement to benefits are not based on employees' competencies and competency gaps.
  • Choosing the right HRD software.

Although the results of the competency assessment are not meant for determining salary increase, the information is useful (provided the assessment is done correctly) in determining whether the salary level of the employee is equitable, that is, it reflects his skills and knowledge apart from how responsible the job is.

Further, it is not necessary to determine the skills and knowledge gap in respect of every duty and responsibility. Select the critical ones that go towards the achievement of employees' job objectives and your organization's overall strategic plan.

Equip Employees with the Right Skills and Knowledge
Once you have determined your employees' competency gaps, proceed to prepare the training and development programs for every employee.

The identified training and development must aim at equipping your people with the right set of skills and knowledge based on organizational requirements and in terms of coverage, depth and quality.

Identifying and addressing employees' competency gap is an important factor in effective human resource management.

Continue to invest in your people for the sake of your organization. Do not pay too much attention to opinions such as training does not make much difference. Or that it is a waste of time and money.

You know what is best for your organization.

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