With skills mapping, it is necessary to first distinguish between two types of competencies, each of which requires different treatment.
“Technical skills,” explains Jacques Côté, CHRP and President of RoadRH, “are those related to the know-how and knowledge that are critical to the success of the company.”
Then there is behavioural competence. For example: team spirit, leadership, stress tolerance, etc. “These skills are much harder to define for a manager or executive,” says Anne-Sophie Beau, industrial psychologist and general manager at Dynacom HR Solutions. “That's why a mapping tool becomes relevant.”
When it comes to competency mapping, behavioural competencies are what will usually be addressed.
Rest reassured, mapping the skills of a company does not mean making a systematic inventory of all the skills present in the organization.
Côté refers to the Pareto Principle, the famous 80-20. “The goal is to identify that 20% effort that brings us 80% of the results. In other words, we identify the 3 or 4 key positions that enable us to achieve most of our business goals.”
The counsellor suggests that a task force be established to profile each of the positions. “You must involve the incumbent, and then identify concrete behavioural manifestations related to each competency”
The next step will be to assess the actual skills of the staff, with the help of a questionnaire or psychometric test. “These skills can be assessed on an individual or team level,” says Beau. “It depends on the culture of the company.”
For a company of 200 or more employees, you could turn to a mapping software. “The advantage of this type of software is that it allows you to create a link between the skills required to achieve objectives and those already present in-house,” says the industrial psychologist.
Useful in many ways
Skills mapping is useful on several levels. “At the time of hiring, we know what skills are necessary in the candidates,” says Jacques Côté.
“It's also a tool to put in the hands of managers,” he continues. “This helps to clarify the expectations for a particular role.”
Anne-Sophie Beau agrees. “Skills mapping is very useful in annual assessments. With an up-to-date picture of skills, we can see if our team is moving in the right direction.”
“Skills mapping can also be used as a guide in choosing the training that you want to offer your employees,” adds Jacques Côté.
For broader purposes, competency mapping defines the actions required to revitalize, consolidate or stimulate business growth, develop new markets or achieve any other objective that is part of a strategic plan.