Human Resources

How Incompetent Are You?

Read in 4 min. Do you have a Role Description (RD) for your current job? Or are you still working from some out-dated Job Description (JD)? Do you know the difference? Is yours one of those companies who insists on talking about "benchmarking" but without really understanding how dangerous that can be, done incorrectly!
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Barry C.

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Barry is available for projects both virtually and in-person.
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I think I have read and heard more rubbish about the need for JDs and RDs, and the use of Competency Frameworks to support those arguments, than has been written about the entire recent and on-going sad conflict in Iraq. Let me make my position clear: if you are still working from a JD, then you are probably doing it wrong. Even worse, if you are using JDs as a basis for any kind of a Performance Management system, then you are probably doing everyone, yourself included, a grave disservice.

While a JD may be better than nothing (although this is open to argument!) in attempting to understand what contribution anyone in your organisation is supposed to be making, it will often mask just how little a position is contributing to the current business situation. Very few jobs that are being filled today are the same as they were when the position first became available - even though the person in that job is the same one who settled in on that first day. And very few objectives contained within that JD will be the correct ones for the current role being undertaken.

The message is: move all of your JDs into RDs, and make sure that the role that is being carried out is the one that is being measured - and rewarded! If you already have RDs for all of the work you are doing, then you have a reasonable chance of designing and implementing the competency framework that will be the best for you. Just another point about "Benchmarking" - have you spoken about or attempted this recently? If so, who did you think of benchmarking against? Was it, perhaps, a major company in a similar line as your company? If it was, then you are surely on the slippery slope to getting it horribly wrong.

There is a fundamental question to be asked before you even begin to think of moving towards competency, competency frameworks and benchmarking. The question is, "What does a good job look like around here"? The secret to proper use of competencies is contained in the answer to that question, but so many people do not ever ask it. If you do not know what you are working towards, or how you wish to move towards it, or how you wish, as an organisation, to be viewed as you do move towards it, then you could be very easily mislead into employing or purchasing a totally unsuitable system.

I am not against Competency Frameworks - I run workshops on designing and recognising professional Competency Frameworks - but I am against them being badly used and then blamed when things do not turn out as expected. Nor am I against Performance Management, or Objectives or Standards, unless they are unilaterally imposed by a management that has no real clue as to where they are going or why this system is being used.

Applied properly, competencies and competency frameworks can make everyone's job easier, from the HR team doing new recruitment through to the individual carrying out the role and who wants to be fairly assessed for an actual contribution rather than against some notional, out of date document. It also assists the line manager in carrying out performance assessments in a fair and transparent manner, one of the key motivators for any team or group of employees.

Of course, if you prefer not to be open, honest and transparent in your dealings with people (see my article from last week's 7 Days City for further comment on this topic) then you might want to remain with your outdated JDs, and your opinion-based assessments. Just make sure that you do not ever volunteer to act as a benchmark for anyone else!

This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Barry C. who travels from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Barry is available for Professional Consulting Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

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