How to Use an HRMS to Establish a Competency Architecture

Often we hear about the importance of ‘competencies’ in the HR world, but to be impactful we need to take a step back and focus holistically on developing a ‘Competency Architecture’ as a first step. A competency architecture is a set of guidelines that govern how competencies will be defined throughout your organization and should be applicable through various HR areas: recruitment, candidate selection, training, development, succession planning, etc. It involves the definition and standardization of various data elements which will then roll up as building blocks or layers to create the model. An HRMS solution is the backbone in the establishment of this competency architecture and here’s why.

Starting from Scratch

If you are starting the construction of a competency architecture from scratch, it is useful to query your existing HRMS, often the existing data will help you to understand what sort of metrics may have been important in the past and are already being tracked. It may be behaviors or competencies which are attached to a job or position, or you may find that certain technical or soft skills training courses were favored over time.

Defining Common & Niche Competencies

In different business departments, roles and staff attributes evolve differently over time, but as you start a competency architecture, consistency when managing these attributes and roles is paramount. Various core competencies such as ‘integrity’ or ‘teamwork’ need to be defined as they’ll apply to all employees. You’ll then have other competency layers that will span job functions - project management would be a common example of this. As you set these competencies up in your HRMS, it will force the systematic standardization across functions by providing one list. It will be an HR effort to ensure that the definition and processes attached to each of these elements is understood across the organization. You can then define the competency areas that are specific to one role, such as levels of auditing certification that will apply to internal audit jobs.

Implementing the Competency Architecture

Finally, once you have a framework for your competency architecture, it’s a matter of filling in the data consistently across job families and groups. It is here that your HRMS analytics module will help you ensure correct values are being added at the appropriate frequency. As an end result, each person in the company should be assigned to a job which has a number of dimensions, some of which are shared across employees of the same level and others which are job specific and help to place the employee within a job family. Once you have these items in place, it becomes easy to use the HRMS to identify skills gaps in the workforce and to recommend the necessary training and development to bridge these gaps.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski

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