Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Core Competencies for Asian Companies

In an ideal world, each and every company would spend a great deal of time, effort and money to identify those traits, skills and attributes which together, as Core Competencies, make for a successful managerial or supervisory level employee within their company.

However, we don't live in an ideal world. We live in one where the majority of companies need to find ways and means of identifying and introducing human resource management and development practices which more than adequately meet their requirements, without breaking their budget.

To meet this need, I have designed for several local and regional companies, a set of Generic Core Competencies which can fit into just about any Asian company's culture with little or no customisation. Naturally, I’ve always made myself available to assist companies requiring some customisation and probably half have taken advantage of this.

Why should companies use Core Competencies?

By identifying those traits, skills and attributes which make for a successful employee, it becomes so much easier, and far more cost effective, to:

* Recruit and retain employees
* Appraise employees
* Train employees
* Develop employees
* Succession plan

Being easier and more effective translates into cost savings and increased profitability. When a company's HRM and HRD practices have a consistent measuring tool, they are able to significantly reduce subjectivity in HR decision making processes, visibly demonstrate fairness, have a common language which all employees can understand, and as a result create and maintain a highly motivated workforce.

Below are some examples of a few Generic Core Competencies. These are given here for illustration. The complete profile contains some twenty five Core Competencies, split among five Managerial Attributes. The full set has been arrived at after considerable research amongst local and regional companies across a wide range of industries. The definitions are not complete, but are provided to give an appreciation

The five managerial attributes are:
* Performance of Duties
* Management and Leadership Skills
* Decision Making Skills
* Communication Skills
* Personal Qualities

Competency Examples (just ten of twenty five)

Responsibility - Displaying maturity, reacting positively to constructive feedback, setting a good example, profit and cost conscious.

Leadership - An ability to share the corporate vision with the team, give clear and confident direction to the team, whilst taking a consultative and delegative approach, without abdicating responsibility.

Management of Resources and People - Knowing the skills, qualities and attributes of direct reports and using this knowledge to maximise output and gain through them the most effective use of material resources.

Judgement - Demonstrates the ability to evaluate behaviours, situations and opportunities and arrive at a sensible conclusion.

Problem solving - Possessing the ability to use both objective analysis and creativity in approaching solutions to problems.

Interpersonal Skills - The ability to create rapport easily and build relationships quickly. Having an awareness of the sensitivities of others and a diplomatic astuteness in responding to them.

Initiative and drive - The ambition to strive for achievement within the company seeking business opportunities and displaying an energetic pro-activity.

Co-operativeness and Teamworking - Shows a willingness to assist colleagues (within own department and outside it) even when personally under pressure.

Dependability - Can be relied upon to consistently support team colleagues throughout the organisation.

Creativity - Can see an issue from different perspectives and is able to provide a number of alternative solutions to problems which are practical as well as innovative.

Major Advantages
One of the major advantages of using Core Competencies across a framework of HRM and HRD activities, is the consistency they provide. What better than to:

* Recruit against the competencies
* Train against the competencies
* Select, develop and promote against the competencies
* Appraise against the competencies
* Use the competencies in manpower and succession planning

Not only is this approach extremely cost effective, it provides employees with a very clear picture of career progression opportunities and the confidence that their performance appraisals, training/development needs and suitability for promotion, are objectively assessed.

I do urge companies to take great care when introducing a competencies framework, to ensure that the attributes and definitions really do match the company’s culture and philosophies. Unless your HR department has the skills within to ensure that this happens, I strongly recommend that the company seeks professional assistance, from consultancies like my own.

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