What is Competency Mapping?

Employees are always considered to be an organization's most valued assets. Competency mapping is a technique that is used by the human resource team in order to determine the qualities of an employee that can be put to use for the betterment of the employee's career as well as the company's projection.
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The term competency is quite generic, and related to human behavior and psychology. Competency is often defined as a quality of being adequately qualified, intellectually able, and emotionally stable. The concept of competency is basically used to define the capability of being able. It can be mapped or measured by a psychological test, that helps the human resource management department to test the competence or competency of an employee or a potential employee. It must be noted that competency is measured in the employee's quality(es) and not quantity (measurement of performance). For instance, while mapping a person's competency, the question 'when and where' comes into the picture, and not 'how much'. Thus, an employee's ability to perform in a particular field is measured instead of measuring 'how much will he perform'. Most companies use simple multiple choice question tests for this purpose.

Arya Chanakya, a well-known royal adviser and prime minister from Vedic India, penned a famous book known as the Arthashastra, which is probably the first book that contains models for mapping competency, the thesis and theories of human aptitude, intelligence quotient, emotional quotient, and in general, everything that is related to human behavior regarding work, logic, and emotions. This book is an excellent leadership and management book, and is more than 3,000 years old.

It is a process with the help of which the employer, or the human resource team, decides where a particular person would work best as per his aptitude and temperament. There are several factors that are considered during a mapping process. There are also some simple processes that have been made by experts in the field of clinical psychology.
  • Constitution: Everyone's personality is based upon a definite constitution. Some aspects about work such as a person's ability to work as a team member or a team leader, or even his temperament to work individually are affected by this constitution.
  • Traits: Traits can be physical and also behavioral. Traits are usually related to the constitution. Knowing the traits of a person is absolutely important, as the management's behavior with every person differs.
  • Self Concept: Every person has an interpretation about himself and some self ideals. The management bears in mind these simple ideals, even during day-to-day work, due to the fact that, when these ideals are respected the employee tends to remain happy and productive.
  • Skill and Knowledge: Every employee has different skills and knowledge. Mapping helps the company know more about the person's skills and knowledge. It must be noted that even a simple virtue of being patient is treated as a skill by recruiters.
Several companies have started using mapping tools in order to know more about their prospective employees, or even current employees. On an average, a competency test on an employee would depict skills and knowledge of the person, his ability to work with other people, his constitution, his dedication, and finally, his willingness to work.

The total process of competency management ultimately helps the company in better personnel management and good workplace communication. It is thus considered to be an indispensable management tool.