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FAQs


What is a competency?
Competencies are individual characteristics, including knowledge, skills, abilities, self image, traits, mindsets, feelings, and ways of thinking, which, when used with the appropriate roles, achieve a desired result. Competencies contribute to individual exemplary performance that creates reasonable impact on organizational outcomes (Campion et al., 2011; Shippmann et al., 2000). An example competency for HR professionals is business acumen, or an individual's knowledge of the external environment and how that environment affects his or her own organization.

For example, research has found the competency of business acumen to distinguish high-performing human resource professionals from their less effective counterparts. Human resource professionals who fulfill the role of strategic business partner most effectively access their business knowledge to create linkages between external demands and key internal requirements, and core skills to develop an overall human capital system that strategically addresses organizational needs. Human resource professionals need to approach human resource work from a business perspective rather than from a human resource perspective. SHRM's goal is to identify and define a wide variety of competencies, such as business acumen, at various developmental levels throughout one's career.

Campion, M.A., Fink, A.A., Ruggeberg, B.J., Carr, L., Phillips, G.M., & Odman, R.B. (2011). Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 64, 225-262.

Shippmann, J.S., Ash, R.A., Battista, M., Carr, L., Eyde, L.D., Hesketh, B., Keyhoe, J., Pearlman, K., Prien, E.P., & Sanchez, J.I. (2000). The practice of competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 53, 703-740.

 

What is a competency model?
A competency model refers to the collection of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) that are needed for effective performance on the jobs in question. The individual KSAOs or combinations of KSAOs are the competencies, and the set of competencies are typically referred to as the competency model (Campion et al., 2011; Shippmann et al., 2000).

Competency models play a vital role in the selection, training, and appraisal of professionals. Specifically, competency models can be used for developmental purposes by professionals to guide the choice of job assignments and make other career choices. Developing a robust, tiered competency model for the HR profession will allow SHRM to identify how best to serve members at each stage of their careers.

Campion, M.A., Fink, A.A., Ruggeberg, B.J., Carr, L., Phillips, G.M., & Odman, R.B. (2011). Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 64, 225-262.

Shippmann, J.S., Ash, R.A., Battista, M., Carr, L., Eyde, L.D., Hesketh, B., Keyhoe, J., Pearlman, K., Prien, E.P., & Sanchez, J.I. (2000). The practice of competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 53, 703-740.

 

How did SHRM create this competency model?
SHRM followed the best practices delineated by the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology (SIOP) taskforce on competency modeling (see Campion et al., 2011; Shippmann et al., 2000).

Developing a competency model occurs in three phases. The first phase is model development, the second phase is content validation, and the third phase is criterion validation. SHRM developed the initial model based on a thorough review and synthesis of the relevant literature, and on input from over 1,200 HR professionals during 111 focus groups in 29 cities across the world. Together with the content validation, discussed next, the perspectives of HR professionals from 33 different nations were represented.

Content validation refers to the empirical investigation that asks subject matter experts to provide ratings regarding the accuracy, relevance, and importance of the competency model's content. The model then is refined based on these data. The content of the SHRM Competency Model was validated through a survey with over 32,000 respondents.

Criterion validation refers to the empirical investigation of the ability of the model to assess performance. This is done by collecting ratings of employee performance from multiple sources, including measureable outcomes and self, peer, and supervisor ratings of employee performance. These ratings are directly linked to the competency model and serve as metrics of performance for the various elements of the competency model. SHRM began such an investigation in 2013.

Campion, M.A., Fink, A.A., Ruggeberg, B.J., Carr, L., Phillips, G.M., & Odman, R.B. (2011). Doing competencies well: Best practices in competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 64, 225-262.

Shippmann, J.S., Ash, R.A., Battista, M., Carr, L., Eyde, L.D., Hesketh, B., Keyhoe, J., Pearlman, K., Prien, E.P., & Sanchez, J.I. (2000). The practice of competency modeling. Personnel Psychology, 53, 703-740.

 

Why did SHRM create this competency model?
SHRM serves as a global leader in service to the HR profession. As part of our efforts to serve our members and the profession, SHRM continually aims to identify what makes a successful HR professional, and how SHRM can better support HR professionals in achieving their professional goals.

This comprehensive competency model identifies the foundational competencies for HR professionals:

  • at the entry, mid, senior, and executive levels of the HR profession,
  • in small, medium, and large enterprises,
  • in private, public, nonprofit, and not-for-profit sectors, and
  • in organizations with multinational and domestic operations.

This model, and the resources developed based on the model, will help HR professionals succeed in their current roles and develop a roadmap to advance in their careers.

 

How will this impact me or the profession?
Through professional development and continuous improvement, any HR professional can contribute to her or his organization's success in a meaningful way. This model provides specific behaviors that define proficiency at each stage of an HR professional's career. It can serve as a resource to understand how you should be performing in your current professional stage as well as how you will need to perform at the next stage.

SHRM also plans to conduct a criterion-related validation investigation of the competency model. This effort began in 2013. Further, SHRM plans to develop future tools and resources based on the competency model, such as an individual and organizational competency assessment, a behavioral interview question database, and templates of HR job profiles and descriptions.

For any questions or comments regarding any of these initiatives, please contact us at Competencies@shrm.org.

Who can I contact for more information?
For more information about the SHRM Competency Model and initiative, please contact us at Competencies@shrm.org

 



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