Competency-based Career Planning
Career pathing involves making a series of job-person matches, based on the demands of the job system in the organization, that enable the person to grow into greater levels of responsibility, thus providing the organization with the talent that it requires to meet goals. This should involve the careful assignment of an individual to positions that provide her or him with opportunities for deploying the competencies needed for a more challenging position.

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Best approaches to career pathing combine an analysis of positions in terms of both the tasks and the organizational behaviors needed for superior performance. The combined approach is essential for each of the jobs in the chain, because there may be marked differences between the characteristics demanded in one job and those needed in another in the same career path.

Steps to Implement the Competency-based Career Path

The major steps in developing a competency-based career pathing system are:

1. Put together a resource panel of experts on the target and feeder jobs who will set direction and specify the expected job performance criteria.

2. Define tasks and characteristics, through the resource panel, and survey job incumbents to obtain their perceptions of which job tasks and personal characteristics contribute to success in the target and feeder jobs.

3. Identify top performers in the target and feeder jobs, using performance criteria specified by the panel.

4. Conduct in-depth interviews with both superior and average incumbents in the target and feeder jobs to find out what they do and how they do it.

5. Based on the outcome of stage 4, develop a competency model of people in the target and feeder jobs by identifying those competencies that make the biggest contribution to outstanding performance as opposed to the competencies that all job holders need.

6. Analyze career paths by combining the survey (stage 2) and the interview (stage 3) results for target and feeder jobs.

7. Implement the career pathing system through a number of options:
- computer-based tasks and competency inventories
- performance and potential assessment linked to new job opportunities;
- systematic counseling
- career development and related training programs.

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Tools of the System

The tools of a competency-based career path system include:

- a description of the tasks required by target and feeder jobs eventually broken down by job families
- a competency model for the target and feeder job system
- a dictionary of behavioral descriptions of each competency in the model
- performance indicators that provide the material for a competency-based evaluation program and a computerized skills bank
- a competency profile grid for either internal or external recruiting and selection of candidates
- a career map of the organization, identifying which jobs are the key feeders to higher-level positions
- a competencies' gap analysis showing main differences required to flow through the job system to reach high-level jobs
- recommendations for training in or selecting for each competency in the path.


Competency-based succession planning enables an organization to determine the critical current competencies necessary for success in key jobs and the strategic competencies necessary for future success. Once this has determined the 'best fit' people, specific developmental plans can then be formulated that build upon these competency requirements to allow the individual's abilities to meet the strategic business needs of the organization.

Steps to implement Competency-based Succession Planning

For the competency-based succession planning to be complete, a logical process consisting of a certain number of steps must be followed. These key steps are as follows:

1. Identify critical jobs that the organization needs to fill

2. Develop a competency model from critical jobs, determining the competencies needed at each step of the job family ladder

3. Develop the most appropriate assessment methods (assessment centre, screening, interviewing, etc) and assess people against the competency model of the job

4. Make the decision whether to:
- promote from inside
- now or after competencies x, y, z have been developed
- not promote but consider
- possible lateral transfer
- keeping in current job deselection
- recruit from outside if no one in the organization is ready or can be developed in time

5. Feed the human resource management information system to track:
- promotable employees, for future competencies monitoring
- competency requirements of target jobs.

Source of Reference:
Hay Group, People and Competencies: The Route to Competitive Advantage, Kogan Page. You can obtain this fine book here