HR Guide to the Internet:
A GUIDE TO INTEGRATING COMPETENCIES
CREATING COMPETENCY MODELS
INTEGRATING COMPETENCIES INTO MONTANA'S HUMAN RESOURCE PROGRAMS
CREATING COMPETENCY MODELS
Competency models represent the most critical knowledge, skills and behaviors that drive successful performance with respect to a particular type of job or occupation. They describe competencies in behavioral terms, using behavioral indicators, so employees can recognize the competencies when demonstrated. The following competency, extracted from one pilot-project competency model shows a good example of basic format.
Builds strong work relationships. Adjusts to how individuals, organizational units and cultures function and react. Senses how others feel. Fosters rapport with co-workers and customers, without intending to persuade or influence.
· Encourages open communication with staff or within teams. Creates an environment where people are comfortable expressing what is important to them.
· Relates to others in an open and accepting manner.
· Creates an atmosphere of trust.
· Recognizes and appreciates the skills and special areas of expertise possessed by employees. Acknowledges and appreciates the contributions of others.
· Fair, open-minded and unbiased about each employee.
Typical elements of a competency model include competency titles with definitions, behavioral statements describing the competency in action, and supporting knowledge competencies applicable to the job or occupation. Competency models often contain some sort of overall graphic depiction of the relationships between competencies or show them clustered into related groups. For example, a graphic can show Knowledge competencies have more or less importance than behavioral competencies, or Personal Effectiveness competencies are the most critical behavioral competencies.
"Commerce Managers' Competencies", Figure 1, draws a graphic representation of that pilot project’s competency model. Without explanatory text, the graphic shows that this agency wants to communicate to employees and customers the importance of Personal Effectiveness competencies to the managerial role. On the other hand, Influence competencies represent a smaller segment of the graphically displayed competencies. Managerial performance goals, competency-based pay systems, employee training and development plans or other human resource functions could easily duplicate this same value, or relationship. Not every competency model needs graphics. They are one way to help communicate organizational values or the relationships between different competency areas. They also lead to easy, visual, cross-occupational comparisons within an agency or between several agencies, that may reflect resource allocation priorities.
Although a good example of a competency model graphic, the figure does not represent a complete competency model. A model includes the critical competencies that drive success for an occupation or a specific job, definitions of each competency, and a list of behavioral indicators for each competency that describe how the competency is demonstrated in the workplace. The Data Collection and Data Analysis portions of this section discuss how to construct behavioral indicators as well as the other pieces of a complete model.
Once a competency model is completed, it provides the fundamental information for design of a good graphic representation of the general contents of the model. For example, Addendum A, which is a complete competency model, formed the basis for Figure 1. The graphic does not display all of the competencies, definitions or the more specific behavioral indicators. It portrays general themes or relationships, and can communicate relationships or organizational values as a type of graphic message to employees or customers.
Research and the experience of other organizations show that building competency models enables organizations to:
· Link selection, training and development, and compensation to business strategy and critical challenges facing the organization
· Focus performance management on what is critical for success
· Recruit and select more effectively
· Drive organizational and cultural change
· Understand what constitutes superior performance
· Establish measurements that make a difference
Built through careful study of subject matter experts, top performers or others who know the competencies required for success in a particular occupation or job, competency models should reflect the context of the work and communicate the organization’s values. Competency models can target different functions or occupations within an organization. They can describe core competencies that apply to everyone in the organization. Competency modeling begins the process of building tools to link employee performance to the mission and goals of the agency.
BUILDING A COMPETENCY MODEL
Previous sections of this guide discuss agency readiness and orientation. If agency readiness indicates a favorable environment exists to develop a competency system, and orientation of participants has occurred, building a competency model can begin. Discussions should take place during orientation and readiness assessment between affected employees and management about the competency project, and the employees’ role in the business strategy for carrying out the agency mission. The participants need to understand what constitutes success and how they fit into the larger organizational context.
The following discussions include references to the statewide competency model. This competency model describes large competency categories and covers a much broader scope than models developed in pilot projects. The entire statewide model forms the following chapter of this guide to use in building individual competency models.
There are different types of competency models, including agency models, occupational models, and job or role models. The following examples will help distinguish the different types and their varying levels of detail and scope:
· More specialized than the statewide model, but still broad-based
· Related to an agency’s mission
· Related to an agency’s strategic goals
· Related to an area of service
Agency level competency models typically include broad categories or groups of competencies and reflect a “higher level” view widely applicable to multiple work units, divisions or an entire organization. For example, the Department of Administration recognizes the behavioral competencies listed above as important to success in all divisions of the department.
A pilot project underway in the Department of Labor demonstrates one approach to building an agency-level competency model. In this pilot project, numerous job type and work unit models built over an 18-month period were compared and analyzed using a “pattern analysis” technique to arrive at recurring themes or patterns. (The "Data Analysis" section describes a similar process called theme analysis.) The recurring competencies form the basis of the agency competency model. The competencies repeated throughout several of the job or work unit models become “core competencies” or “core agency values”. These reflect competencies valued or necessary in a variety of occupations throughout the organization, believed central to success in carrying out the agency mission and vision.
Occupational Competency Models
· Relevant to specific types of work
· Behaviors that contribute to success in the occupation
· Include necessary knowledge and skills
Examples of occupational competencies: Commitment to the profession; Efficiency and focus; Writing effectively; Analytical thinking; Knowledge of hardware and software configurations; Knowledge of operating systems.
Typically, competencies in occupational models compare to the “sub-categories” in the Montana Statewide Competency Model. Occupational models provide the foundation for identifying the critical knowledge competencies in that occupation. Though more specific than agency wide competencies, these models have broad-based applicability to multiple work units and jobs. Addendum A, the Commerce Managers' Competency Model, is an example of this type of model.
· Specific to a position or group of positions or roles
· Related to work unit goals and objectives
· Linked to agency’s vision and business strategy
The most common type of competency model describes job or role competencies, often those specific to a certain type of job within a specific work unit. The pilot project at the Department of Revenue is building a job or role competency models for a number of positions. This type of model provides a good foundation for building performance appraisals or individual training and development plans because relatively specific behavioral and knowledge competencies tie directly to certain types of jobs or roles within a work unit or agency. Job models can also be built for individual or unique positions in an agency. Addendum B, the Department of Revenue Appraisers Competency Model is an example of this type of model.
The process of building any type of competency model requires some up front planning so that the time and effort spent in modeling supports the competency system being designed. The following general steps describe the process:
· Decide on the type and number of competency model or models needed
· Plan the data collection method and approach
· Analyze the competency data using statewide model
· Design draft model
· Management review of model
· Revise, if necessary, and use it!
This process is described in greater detail with recommended best practices in the following sections of this guide.
COMPETENCY SYSTEM WORK FLOW
Figure 2: Work Planning for Developing a Competency System
Collecting data to build a competency model requires initial planning and decision-making. Designing a successful data collection effort depends on a sound project concept. This involves answering some important questions:
· How homogenous is the job or occupation or work unit? How many different levels or subgroups must be taken into account?
· How many people will this competency model involve or affect?
· Will modeling include multiple jobs or roles?
· Who needs to participate in the data collection, model building and research?
· Who knows about this job and its future?
· How much time can project leaders spend collecting data?
Considering these questions and the scope of a model building project will help to use available resources more efficiently. Many people will contribute to success of the project through participation in the model building process. Previous sections of this guide discussed competency models as a document or final product. The term “competency modeling” refers primarily to the data collection and analysis processes that result in a competency model. Competency modeling is a process that organizations go through to build competency models.
The practice of competency modeling has changed since its origin and the initial work of David McClelland in the 1970’s.1 In addition to having a very specific job focus (typical of the earliest competency models), competency models today may have a more organization-wide focus and have changed from requiring limited involvement of specific employees to high levels of participation by large groups of employees within an entire organization. These changes have spawned the development of a variety of data collection methodologies.
Methods of data collection include:
· Armchair method
· Generic competency dictionary
· Customized dictionary
· Expert panels/Focus groups
· Building customized competency menus
· Behavioral event interviews
Choosing a data collection methodology requires consideration and balancing of multiple issues, including time, cost, validity, how management will use the model(s), and the need for employee buy-in through participation and education. The list above orders data collection methods from the most standardized, least rigorous, and easiest approach to the most research-based, rigorous, and generally time consuming methods. the State Personnel Division has studied all of these approaches and concluded that both the customized competency menu approach and the use of expert panels or focus groups provide the best balance between rigor and efficiency.
The recommended best practice for the State’s competency project uses the development of customized competency menus as a method of data collection2. This approach, in its modified style, combines both research-based data needs with a high level of efficiency. The process involves a group of employees representing a particular type of job or group of jobs that may include different levels of work. They work together in "menuing sessions" to identify and agree upon job context, job customers, job outputs and job competencies. The end product or result of this data collection method is a list or “menu” of job context items, of job customers, of job outputs and most importantly, of job competencies.
· A relatively efficient process that balances the need for research-based data with limited time and cost considerations
· Very participatory, involving large numbers of employees directly in the data collection process generating high levels of “buy-in”
· Either present or future oriented. (What is the vision for the work unit? What competencies will enable the agency or unit to meet established goals?)
· Direct educational opportunities for employees about the project
· More accurate data than less research-based approaches
· A simple process that requires minimal preparation
· A good lead-in to developing other tools such as performance appraisals, position profiles, and compensation models
· Communication between employees and managers about agency vision, mission and business strategy and about how the work unit fits into the larger context of the whole organization
Using expert panels or focus groups involves a group of internal subject matter experts and/or stakeholders, with knowledge of a particular job or group of jobs who work together to identify requirements for superior job performance. This data collection method balances both research-based data or validity needs with consideration of time and money spent. It provides more accurate, rigorous data than some other methods yet costs less than conducting Behavioral Event Interviews.
For example, development of Montana's Statewide Competency Model began by asking state managers to characterize superior performance. Focus groups covering more than 25 occupations, spanning all grades provided the raw data used to identify the most common and critical behavioral competencies of top performing state employees. The resulting list of six competency categories, with lists of specific competencies and behaviors became the Statewide Competency Model (Chapter 4).
In this effort, focus groups had certain advantages. They proved the most efficient way to collect information from large groups and multiple occupations, and to identify top performers quickly. Conducting multiple focus groups that involve greater numbers of employees creates higher buy-in and serves as educational sessions to anchor a competency project effort.
The data collected from experts can usually generate either present or future-oriented competency models that can be validated through use. Using subject matter experts involves fewer people in providing data for the model, which reduces the level of employee buy-in.
The state’s competency pilot projects are using several different approaches to data collection. Most have used the menuing process or focus groups to generate competency data, although some have used a hybrid of both behavioral event interviews and customized competency menus. The following sections describe both of the preferred data collection methods in detail.
Building Customized Competency Menus
The menuing method of data collection harnesses the collective knowledge of groups of employees and managers about the competencies required for success in a particular type of job. In this approach, the scope of a competency project determines the number of "menuing sessions" needed. To build a competency model for a single occupation, each menu session ideally includes successful employees currently working in that occupation. The agency organization chart will help map out a strategy for collecting data from entire work units that participate in one or more menuing sessions. Critical human resource programs such as recruitment and selection, individual competency development planning and training, performance management and compensation will also use the resulting menus.
Management and project leaders select the type of job or occupation for which to produce a model by reviewing the agency’s organization chart and discussing project design. Work units should conduct menuing sessions with the assumption that they have unique work outputs or work processes that define a portion of the “value” of their agency’s mission and vision.
Menu session participants should include individuals affected by the system design who have a common occupation and work unit. A selected work unit might involve a section, a bureau or even a division or regional office. Since possible advantages include buy-in, participation and education, group size and composition become important considerations. A desirable group size is generally less than 15 but more than 5 participants, with 10-12 being optimum. For very large occupational groups, a project leader may want to limit participation to the work unit's most “successful” employees.
This requires a facilitator comfortable with the menu process and a note taker to record on flip chart pages all of the information collected by the group. Each menu session should begin with an introduction to the process by the facilitator. To ensure that participants are aware of the importance of this data to the final competency model, a management representative presents information about the work unit’s purpose and goals, and the vision of the work unit’s future. This representative will generally define “success” for employees at the start of the menuing process.
Menuing sessions include selected participants, plus the facilitator, note taker and management representative. Employees should understand their work in the context of the current agency business strategy so that this direction is considered when participants determine the competencies necessary to achieve agency goals and objectives. This will help assure that the models built reflect the current and future direction of management.
Each menuing session will probably take two and a half to three hours. Basic equipment includes two flipchart stands with large writing pads, several broad line markers, masking tape to hang the completed sheets, colored dots for stratifying the competency and output menus, and copies of the statewide model for participants. The State Personnel Division can help start the data collection and model building process, and can provide support and research for pilot projects.
Menuing participants brainstorm, while the note taker writes the information on large flip-chart sheets. As each sheet fills up, it is numbered and taped to the walls in the room so that everyone can build upon what others have said. Each step in the menuing process results in a list of data that will prove useful later when building the competency model or building other human resource tools such as a performance appraisal.
Figure 4, on the following page provides a useful graphic of the four-step process and makes a good handout around which to organize a menuing session.
The facilitator guides the group through the following four steps:
Step 1 – Context: Define the scope or strategic context of the work unit’s “mission”. This step should include discussion and analysis of the work unit’s operating environment.
Identify any unique assumptions about the unit’s work, including outside factors that influence the work. These statements describe present or future conditions that affect jobs and the organization as a whole. They may predict strategy or changes in organizational structure, the workforce, political environment, legal challenges, customers, budgets, or technology. These assumptions become a partial basis for describing the work necessary to provide services to the public. They also form a partial basis for predicting the knowledge, skills and behaviors essential for the organization to meet current and future challenges.
Next, begin a new set of flip-chart sheets and brainstorm to build a list or menu of both customers and outputs of the work unit.
Step 2 – Customers: Identify customers. List the individuals and groups who are the key receivers of the work performed by the work unit.
Identify who will be the primary recipients of the work.
Step 3 – Outputs: Identify the products, services, information or processes that the agency or work unit produces, provides, or delivers.
These can include: ·
Local government ·
Federal agencies (be specific) ·
Groups (be specific)
These can include:
· Local government
· Federal agencies (be specific)
· Groups (be specific)
After the list is completed, give each participant ten colored dots and a few minutes to review the list. Each person should place one dot next to each of the “top ten” or most important outputs. This will narrow the list and the focus to important outputs when constructing the competency menu in step 4. Completion of this exercise provides a good indication of the relative importance of each output.
Step 4 – Competencies: List the competencies that are important for success in the job. What competencies are needed to produce or deliver the outputs listed in step 3 within the context described in step 1?
The strategic context (step 1 menu), the customers (step 2 menu) and outputs (step 3 menu), supply the basis for developing a competency menu. This listing should include the knowledge, skills and behaviors needed to do the job successfully and deliver the work unit products and services.
Take time at this step to review the definition of competencies as the knowledge, skills and behaviors critical for success in the job. Complete a competency menu for each work unit, functional work area or other category of work. As a group, determine critical competencies by narrowing down the menu to those competencies that capture the essence of successful performance.
During this step, the facilitator reviews the competency categories in the statewide model and uses probing questions to clarify items listed on the flip-chart sheet. In this way, the participants respond with good behavioral descriptors that will provide data for building a competency model.
For example, if a participant says “flexibility”, the facilitator should respond with, “In what way is flexibility demonstrated?" or "What do you mean by flexibility? Give me an example.”
After the list is completed, give each participant ten colored dots and a few minutes to review the list. Have each person place one dot next to each of the “top ten” or most critical competencies. This will help narrow down the menu to the most important competencies. Completion of this exercise indicates the relative importance of each competency.
This four-step process completes the menu session. Number the hand-written flip chart sheets in order, keeping track of which sheets belong to the context, customers, outputs and competency menus. Soon after this session, transcribe the notes into electronic format and note the number of “dots” on each data item from the output and competency menu steps in the electronic document. This document forms the raw data used to build the competency model. The note taker for the menu session must write down every piece of data given by participants. Menu session participants should have a chance to review the electronic version of the notes to ensure the data is accurate and complete.
While the menuing process remains the recommended best practice for collecting competency data, focus groups or expert panels may prove more efficient or effective in some situations. Focus groups provide an opportunity to educate participants on competency-based human resource systems and obtain information from them about competencies that predict success in their occupation or agency.
Pick focus group participants who are subject matter experts. The participants need to understand the difference between “top performance”, “average performance”, and “poor performance” in a particular job type. Participants should be:
· Knowledgeable of the occupation (have done the nuts and bolts work themselves)
· Responsible for the management or supervision of people doing the occupational work
A group of 6-10 is desirable. Participants should not send an alternate if they cannot attend. This process depends on their specific expertise and experience to gather good quality data.
Give participants background and preparatory materials including the Statewide Competency Model, the Frontiers newsletter or the introduction section to Integrating Competencies into Montana’s Human Resource Programs. Ask them to review this information before the focus group session. They should bring samples of position descriptions in the occupation, information about existing career ladders, examples of training assignments, selection materials, work unit goals and objectives and work plans to the session. This information might be useful in determining the competencies needed to be successful in the job.
Organizing the session
Conducting this type of session requires a facilitator, a note taker, flip chart stands and pads, masking tape, a tape recorder with enough tapes for three hours, and packages of colored “dots”. A meeting agenda that includes a time schedule, the purpose of the session, names of participants, and the general process may prove useful.
Select a facilitator who is knowledgeable about the state’s competency project. A note taker records the comments of participants as accurately as possible on flip charts, and displays them around the room, taped to the walls, as they are completed.
Conducting the session
Conducting the focus group takes about three hours. The facilitator sets the ground rules and objectives for the meeting and tells participants the session will be tape recorded so that transcription is possible. The note taker will record the competency information as participants brainstorm their ideas and contributions.
The facilitator may wish to review the project background or provide information to the group about the status of other competency pilot projects in the agency if others are occurring. The group will brainstorm information that describes behaviors of top performers in a particular occupation.
The facilitator asks the group the following kinds of questions:
· What behaviors and employee characteristics contribute directly to organizational success? Use the Index from the Statewide Model to generate discussion. The facilitator may need to refer to examples of behaviors in the statewide model. In general, using the full model as a focus group tool is cumbersome and may actually limit creative thinking. The facilitator may find that asking probing questions will help ensure the behavioral statements offered fit the occupation being described.
· What behaviors constitute top performance?
· Optional question: "Do you have an existing career ladder or have you used a training assignment in this occupation? On what factors do you base advancement or determine the training assignment is complete?"
Ask participants to spend a few minutes individually to identify the Top Ten competencies they believe are critical to driving organizational success. Participants can identify their top ten by going around the room and placing a colored dot on the flip chart pages beside the chosen items. The facilitator then compiles a list of the entire group’s Top Ten by recording the “votes”. The group should review and discuss this list and try to reach consensus.
The facilitator will focus participants’ attention on the Top Ten and ask for specific examples of ways these competencies are demonstrated in the workplace. Asking them to share personal experiences or to tell stories will help clarify the competencies.
Transcribing the notes
Have the flip chart pages and the tape recordings transcribed for use in data analysis. List the top ten results separately as an aide in analyzing the data later.
COMPETENCY SYSTEM WORK FLOW
Figure 7: Work Planning for Developing a Competency System
Building a competency model requires analyzing and organizing the data collected during menuing sessions and focus groups into a logical and orderly format. The final competency model will reflect the effort and time put into this important process.
The brainstorming nature of the data collection process provides a large amount of raw data, likely in no particular order. One method of bringing order to all the information, called “theming”, looks for the common ideas, concepts, and approaches that result in successful job performance.3 Construction of the statewide model used this process, also called "pattern analysis". From this emerged the six behavioral categories that provide organization to the competencies. The categories are natural groupings of related competencies.
Transcribe the competency raw data from the data collection sessions. Retain the indicators (dots) for each item which menuing or focus group participants identified as their top ten competencies. In this step, focus on the competency menu represented in the fourth quadrant as shown in Figure 4d. At this point, the raw data will simply form a list of competencies, behavioral indicators or other information as in Figure 7.
If possible, set up a working group of at least three people to build the model. Managers, menu session participants and a HR representative would all be appropriate members of the group. A good modeling team needs conceptual thinkers, who can see patterns and connections and who are committed to the job or work unit and its future. They will need to know current internal and external issues affecting the job.
Each member will need a copy of the transcribed data. The group will go through the raw data and identify recurring themes using the competencies as defined in the statewide competency model as the basis for comparison. This type of theming, using a known basis for comparison provides a certain amount of consistency in this system.
The group will go through the list of competency items using the codes from the Model Set-Up, Addendum C, to write the code next to each raw data item. The modeling team will use the competency definitions listed in the statewide model, Chapter 4 of this guide to discuss and identify the underlying competency or competencies represented by the data item. Consensus between the team members is desirable. If a data item has two different competencies represented, code each portion separately. These statements will eventually
need revision to list the two different behaviors in order to represent both competencies. The group that coded the items in Figure 8 first determined the competency category, and then the subcategory, and so forth.
From the coded lists the group creates a document that lists the number of times that each competency was mentioned by counting the number of times each code appears as shown in Figure 9. The more times a particular competency code recurs, the more likely it is that competency will be included in the final model. From the document showing the results of the theming process, draft a list of the 6-10 most frequently repeated competencies and retain the actual raw data items as bullets under each competency. Consider the top ten competencies identified by participants with dots during the menuing session or focus groups and balance that information with the actual data from the coding process when deciding on the top 6-10 competencies to use in the competency model. The model should not reflect all of the competencies necessary to perform a job. Rather, it should identify those competencies most critical for success. Coming to this conclusion requires thoughtful participation by both employees and managers.
Behavioral indicators make competencies observable and measurable by others. They are “competencies in action”. They help to define some, though not all, of the ways that job incumbents demonstrate a given competency. In some models, the behavioral indicators are generic so that they can apply to more than one type of occupation. The statewide model includes generic behavioral indicators. Job specific indicators are the result of research into specific jobs and generally describe the precise way high performers in that job demonstrate a competency. Job specific indicators are very useful for developing performance measures and training programs.
The first draft of the model should include:
· 6-10 competencies that recurred most often during the coding sessions of the model team, balanced with the top ten identified during data collection
· The statewide model definition for each competency
· The raw data items that represent each of the competencies identified and selected from the data collection sessions listed as bullets under the appropriate competency definition to serve as the preliminary behavioral indicators.
Each competency should have approximately 8-10 behavioral indicators listed after it. These behavioral indicators will customize the model for a specific job or occupation. Using the raw data items identified above as a starting point, develop the best possible behavioral indicators for each of the competencies in the model. If the modeling team includes successful employees, they can provide good indicators of the competency in action. The behavioral indicators should describe successful demonstration of the competency on the job for which the model is being built. Another approach for arriving at good behavioral indicators is conducting behavioral interviews of high performers in the occupation or job focused on how the employee uses the competency to be successful. The behaviors as described by high performers must be observable by others. Some of the original raw data may end up in the final model with only minimal editing. In other cases, the raw data will convey an idea that needs refining or editing to be a good, observable descriptor of the competency as demonstrated by high performers.
The competency model needs to support organizational business strategy and meet identified business needs. Once developed, a model that accurately defines competencies and successful behaviors for the work unit can provide a consistent basis for performance appraisal, training, development, recruitment, selection, compensation and succession planning. The competency system work flow from business goals and objectives, to careful data gathering and model development gives the organization the means to grow competent employees and realize its mission and vision. This is an ongoing cycle, which thorough up front planning and work will make easier with each repetition.
Figure 11: The relationship of a competency model to an organization's human resource processes.
Management should review the results of the draft model. This review should consider the following questions:
· Do the behavioral indicators accurately describe successful behavior that supports the goals and objectives of the work unit?
· Does the model reflect or support the direction, vision and mission of the organization?
· Will the model provide the groundwork for development of a performance appraisal tool?
· Can the competencies defined in the model assist in making recruitment and selection decisions?
· Can the model help define staffing needs?
· Can the model assist in developing compensation plans?
· Will the model help define training and development needs?
Once management review determines that the competency model supports the work of the organization, affected managers and participants can look for ways to use the model in competency-based human resource processes. The next chapters will describe how to use the model in these processes.
Figure 12: Work Planning for Developing a Competency System
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
I. PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS
Building strong work relationships and adjusting to how individuals, organizational units and cultures function and react; the ability to sense how others are feeling and foster rapport with co-workers, customers and staff.
· Encourages open communication with staff or within teams. Creates an environment where people are comfortable expressing what is important to them.
· Relates to others in an open and accepting manner.
· Creates an atmosphere of trust.
· Recognizes and appreciates the skills and special areas of expertise possessed by employees. Acknowledges and appreciates the contributions of others.
· Is fair, open-minded and unbiased about each employee.
Behaving in accordance with sound personal and business ethics and values through openness and candor, truthfulness and forthrightness and ensuring actions are consistent with words.
· Deals with others in an honest and fair way. Understands the expectations of the public.
· Demonstrates knowledge of and belief in the professional code of ethics and rules of conduct.
· Communicates ethics to others by modeling ethical behavior and setting expectations for staff.
· Consistently demonstrates honesty every day.
The ability to adapt to and work effectively with a variety of situations, individuals or groups; to understand and appreciate different and opposing perspectives on an issue, to adapt one’s own approach as the requirements of a situation change, and to change or easily accept changes in one’s own organization or job requirements.
· Exhibits adaptability to a variety of circumstances and changing expectations.
· Adapts one’s approach as the requirements of a situation change.
· Demonstrates the internal motivation to change oneself given external pressure to do so if it will further the agency’s goals and objectives.
· Is a good student of the profession/discipline in which you operate. Demonstrates a growing/progressive knowledge sufficient to build appropriate alternatives to existing processes or projects.
The intention to work cooperatively with others, to be part of a team, to work together as opposed to separately or competitively.
· Demonstrates the ability to bring people together through teamwork
· Gives credit and recognition to others who have contributed on a team
· Builds teams that represent a mix of opinions and approaches and understands that all members of a team are necessary in accomplishing the work
· Develops cooperation and collaborative work efforts toward solutions which generally benefit all involved parties
· Demonstrates the capacity to understand the various personalities of individuals, and builds teams in which collaborative efforts happen.
II. INITIATIVE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
INDEPENDENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY
A preference for proactive and anticipatory action based upon taking calculated risks and making difficult decisions despite ambiguity or adversity. Accepting responsibility for decisions, actions, risks and results and being willing to ask difficult questions and point out problems or issues others may have overlooked or been reluctant to acknowledge.
Expressing belief in one’s ability to accomplish a task and select an effective approach to a task or problem. Includes confidence in one’s own ability expressed in increasingly challenging circumstances, confidence in one’s own decisions or opinions, and the ability to handle failures constructively.
· Confronts problems early and determines appropriate actions
· Takes appropriate action to meet challenging goals, objectives or business needs and assumes accountability before being asked to or before being forced to
· Demonstrates courage and a “can do” attitude
EFFICIENCY AND FOCUS
Focuses efforts and energy on successfully attaining clear, concrete, accurate, timely and measurable outcomes of importance to the organization; persisting even when challenged by obstacles and/or opposition.
Prioritizing, multi-tasking, balancing multiple projects
· Prioritizes projects and handles the most urgent ones first
· Accords time and resources in proportion to the importance of the task
· Maintains awareness of workload and makes appropriate adjustments to meet deadlines and complete work projects
· Is able to balance commitment to the big picture with the need to pay attention to accuracy and details.
Independently takes action and responsibility for solving problems and making decisions designed to achieve desired outcomes.
· Demonstrates a “knack” for good judgement by making timely decisions that can withstand controversy
· Examines each issue from multiple angles and seeks workable solutions; does not automatically choose the first solution
· Recognizes when something is not working and is able to switch tactics or directions or stop and move on
The ability to understand and learn organizational power relationships, recognize the real decision makers and the individuals who influence them, and demonstrate a comprehensive awareness of the impact and implications of decisions and actions throughout the organization. Includes the ability to predict how new events or situations will affect individuals and groups within the organization.
· Understands the rules, policies and laws that govern the work and exercises judgement in making necessary interpretations
· Involves others in making decisions when appropriate
QUALITY AND CUSTOMER ORIENTATION
Creates an atmosphere in which timely and high quality information flows smoothly between self and others and in which open, honest and constructive expression of ideas and opinions is encouraged. A concern for helping or serving others.
Understanding, sensitivity, building trust
· Exhibits composure and straightforwardness
· Addresses misunderstandings and misperceptions directly and clearly
· Communicates with an eye toward people’s level of understanding or interest
· Builds rapport, establishes strong, cooperative working relationships and interacts with a variety of people
· Creates an atmosphere of trust by interacting openly and directly and encouraging others to express contrary viewpoints
· Provides support, appreciation and recognition to others including staff
The ability to negotiate, persuade, convince or influence others to take a course of action they might not otherwise take in order to achieve a specific result, gain acceptance of an idea, plan, activity or product and the ability to bring conflicts and disagreements into the open to resolve them collaboratively.
· Demonstrates diplomacy and tact
· Effectively manages differences and resolves conflict by confronting problems openly and constructively
· Is able to get a point across without offending others
· Uses information or data effectively to persuade and support a position
· Understands the audience sufficiently
The ability to express and present thoughts and complex ideas clearly, succinctly, and in an understandable manner individually and in groups including adjusting language or terminology to the characteristics and needs of the audience.
· Speaks frankly and clearly and insures that others understand the meaning of what is being communicated
· Listens to and responds to the ideas of others
· Is direct and to the point in communication delivery
· Listens to questions; anticipates impact of decision before providing a factual answer or recommended options
· Balances courtesy with being firm
· Demonstrates effective nonverbal communication
· Makes the subject as interesting as possible for the audience
IV. THINKING AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
The ability to generate ideas, fresh perspectives and original approaches and to engage in open-minded thinking; “thinks out of the box” and goes beyond traditional ways to address issues despite obstacles or resistance.
· Develops or supports the introduction of new and improved methods, procedures or technologies
· Demonstrates commitment to original ideas
· Applies a creative approach to problem solving
· Is willing to accept ideas from others
· Encourages open communication and an environment where staff is free to express their ideas and apply creative solutions to problems
· Thinks “out of the box” to see the bigger picture
· Exhibits an awareness of other bigger issues and plans ahead, taking these issues into consideration
· Applies a broad perspective to problem-solving
· Maintains the proper perspective between the overall picture and the details
· Doesn’t give up when told that something won’t work or is a “bad idea”
· Has the ability to utilize non-traditional approaches to large problems
The ability to break down problems into component parts and consider or organize parts in a systematic way; the process of looking for underlying causes or thinking through the consequences of different courses of action.
· Demonstrates the ability to organize work by taking large projects and breaking them into manageable pieces
· Maintains an awareness of the interrelationships among activities in a project; planning work assignments and resource allocation accordingly
· Anticipates obstacles realistically when planning
· Uses judgement; takes a logical approach to problems and reasons things through
· Exhibits an interest in studying the “best practices” aspect of an issue by demonstrating continuous learning
· Observes/perceives what is going on around them as they focus on resolving a problem
· Puts a problem in context, recognizes risks and understands situational variables
LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING
Ensures successful project outcomes by making sure all those within and outside the organization who are key to success have the information and training needed to coordinate and get the job done.
· Models the behaviors you desire in your own staff
· Actively promotes information sharing across organizational levels and functional boundaries
· Acts as a resource to others by sharing ideas and best practices
· Gives people the tools needed to get the job done and the opportunities to grow in their jobs
· Reacts positively to problems or challenges as they arise with a “can do” attitude
· Provides staff with clear expectations and validates their accomplishments
Trains and coaches others
· Acts as a coach, mentor and motivator.
· Serves others by sharing insights and knowledge, and supports others with constructive coaching
Builds long-term internal and external relationships with people critical to work/project success, both for current needs and in anticipation of future endeavors.
· Earns trust and respect of others by coaching, inspiring and empowering them to achieve objectives
· Consistently treats others fairly and with respect
· Builds enduring customer relationships
· Brings conflict and disagreements into the open and attempts to resolve them collaboratively, building consensus, keeping the best interests of the organization in mind, not only one’s own interest
COMMITMENT TO ORGANIZATION/MISSION OF AGENCY
Acting to align one’s behavior with the needs, priorities and goals of the organization; acting in ways which promote organizational goals or meet organizational needs.
· Expresses pride in the work of the organization
· Demonstrates dedication to public service
· Consistently acts out the values and goals of the organization
· Gains personal satisfaction from work
May be developed using minimum knowledge areas for all managerial jobs in the department, or on an individual job basis, including knowledge specific to the program areas being managed.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
APPRAISER ‑ COMPETENCY MODEL
D R A F T
DEFINITION: Ability and willingness to align behavior with the needs and goals of the organization and provide a visible role model for others. Implies feeling ownership of and accountability for the organization’s activities, services, decisions, successes and failures. Employees with a strong sense of commitment demonstrate an understanding of the link between their own job responsibilities and overall organizational goals and needs, and subsequently perform their job with the broader goals in mind.
COMPETENCY: Commitment to profession, keeps current
Definition: Desires and actively seeks continuous learning in profession. Willingness to meet changing requirements in work or direction.
· Takes initiative to seek further training either by requesting it through their supervisor or enrolling in college or advanced course on their own
· Shows willingness to initiate projects
· Adapts well to changing situations and to charge itself
· Seeks information from outside sources
- other offices in and out of the Courthouse
- real estate offices
- builders and fee appraisers
· Has professional and personal affiliations with related to their work
DEFINITION: Ability to provide timely and concise information to others both orally and in writing as well as helping others communicate effectively by ensuring that communication occurs among all organizational levels and with all appropriate people and by encouraging open expression of ideas and opinions and listening effectively, transmitting information accurately and understandably, and actively seeking constructive feedback.
COMPETENCY: Quality and customer Orientation/Listening
Definition: Gives full attention of other’s ideas, concerns, questions and issues with interest, empathy and objectivity. Paraphrases and asks clarifying questions to ensure understanding of the message.
· Listens, probes, understands
· Restates the message accurately
· Listens and does not interrupt
· Asks questions or requests more information to increase understanding.
CATEGORY: INITIATIVE AND ACCOUNTABILITY
DEFINITION: Proactively focuses efforts and energy on successfully attaining goals and objectives, making difficult decisions and persisting even when confronted by obstacles and /or adversity. This includes assuming accountability for decisions, actions, and result and following issues through to completion as well as pointing out problems/asking questions other may have overlooked or been reluctant to acknowledge and questioning status quo assumption. Essential is the ability to understand power relationships in organizations and identify true decision‑makers and the individuals who influence them.
Definition: Uses good judgement and makes sound, well-informed decisions that result in fairness and consistency, taking accountability for actions.
· Can make decisions and set priorities
· Willing to backup or support work‑the buck stops here
· Works independently with little supervision
COMPETENCY: Independence and Responsibility/Self‑confidence, Tough minded, self‑starter.
Definition: Believes in ones own capabilities and convictions, even when faced with resistance, and projects a positive self-image in the workplace. Has motivation and initiative, and seeks increased responsibilities.
· Is decisive and confident in own knowledge, skills and abilities
· Shows willingness to initiate projects
· Welcomes challenge/views a challenge as an opportunity
· Inner directed
DEFINITION: Influence is used to transform thought into productive action. All the competencies in the Thinking and Problem Solving category must be supplemented by the Influence competencies in order to actually make things happen. Influences successful outcomes by sharing knowledge and information within the work unit and across organizational lines, mentoring others, building relationships key to success by establishing trust, credibility and rapport with key players and customers, as well as using an awareness of the organization )i.e. how to log work, politics, etc.) and knowledge of the different roles and power positions within the organization to positively affect results.
COMPETENCY: Leadership and Mentoring
Definition: Ensures successful project outcomes by making sure all those within and outside the organization who are key to success have the information and training needed to coordinate and get the job done. Shares project and personal knowledge and experience in a willing and non‑possessive manner and has the ability to be a good teacher. Mentors others in their "weak areas" to improve the performance necessary to achieve success.
· Demonstrates leadership abilities
· Is tactful and patient when responding to requests for help from team members
· Can set tone of team atmosphere by demonstrating positive attitude in adverse situations/discussions
CATAGORY: PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS
DEFINITION: This competency category describes qualities generally associated with personal maturity and an employee's inclination to consistently adhere to high levels of ethical behavior. These competencies include and employee's ability to put customers and co‑workers at ease through awareness of, and consideration for, the opinions and feelings of other people, the ability to sense how others are feeling and demonstration of a positive attitude and stable tone in their work relationships. This category is related to INFLUENCE, however, it applies to more personal, one-on-one relationships or contacts, with INFLUENCE more closely tied to organizational level effectiveness.
Definition: Ability to develop cooperation and teamwork while working toward solutions that generally benefit all involved parties.
· Is complimentary to group members on their area of knowledge
· Will support consensus of group
· Shows willingness to express own views on issues before the group/team—Shares ideas
· Demonstrates willingness to help other team members accomplish goals or work - helps determine common goals and works toward achievement of those goals ‑can take constructive criticism and is able to give it, when necessary ‑willing to jump in and help
COMPETENCY: Interpersonal Understanding
Definition: Building strong work relationships and adjusting to how individuals, organization units and cultures function and react; the ability to sense how others are feeling and foster rapport with coworkers and customers.
· Displays a sense of humor
· Be willing and able to recognize their own limitations
· Creates an Atmosphere of Trust with the Taxpayer
· Diplomatic/open minded/shows flexibility
· Sees both sides
· Gauges audience
· Interacts positively with fellow workers
· Accepts constructive criticism from taxpayers, supervisors or fellow employees
· Relates and interrelates with different types of personalities/fellow employees, taxpayers, various governmental entities
Definition: The ability to maintain focus and effectiveness, emotional control and maturity, and remain positive and composed under stress, change or transition.
· Does job in a professional (be able to explain self/have knowledge and put it to use), accurate and timely manner
· Effectively handles highly stressful situations and volatile taxpayers in a calm manner.
CATAGORY: THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING
DEFINITION: This competency category identifies those competencies needed to think clearly and logically, to identify and solve problems, and to use reason, vision, and creativity to reach conclusions and decisions. It is demonstrated through the ability to understand cause and effect relationships, to recognize similarities and differences in situations, and to apply knowledge to help make effective decisions, or to come up with new ways to accomplish a task.
COMPETENCY: Analytical Thinking/Ability to plan, organize, gather information, conduct research.
Definition: The ability to break problems into component parts and consider or organize parts in a systematic way; the process of looking for underlying causes or thinking through the consequence of different courses of action.
· Independently researches for information and solutions to issues
· Ability to know what needs to be done or find out (research) and take steps to get it done
· Asks questions when not sure of what the problem is or to gain more information
· Able to identify the underlying or main problem‑sorts out the extraneous information
· Shows willingness to experiment with the computer system
· Working with market modeling, spreadsheets, and selectabilities
· Demonstrates ability to work with various software
COMPETENCY: Analytical Thinking. Takes a reasonable, common sense approach to solving problems
Definition: Develops feasible solutions based on logical assumptions and factual observations that reflect consideration for resources, constraints, organizational values and goals.
· Abstract reasoning skills
· Reasons subjectively
· Analyzes information
· Assimilates data
· Applies math skills to spreadsheets and appraisal process
· Write selects
· Models income and market
· Assigns grades and CDUs
COMPETENCY: Creativity/Problem Solving. Inquisitive, curious, entrepreneurial, resourceful
Definition: Seeks diverse ideas and perspectives in an open-minded manner from traditional and nontraditional sources. Seeks alternative, new or nontraditional approaches. Takes calculated risks, generates non-routine, non-traditional actions to overcome obstacles and achieve results.
· Shows a desire to learn, use and become more proficient at use of computer and associated software
· Not afraid to experiment with computer
· Shows a creative ability in solving problems and providing solutions
· Shows ability to apply the knowledge gained through training and education
· Willingness and desire to learn new techniques
DEFINITION: The knowledge and skills necessary to perform the work. These may be gained from past experience, education or on the job training. Generally a job application will include this information.
Real Estate Experience
· Understands market value and advalorem taxes
· Understands highest and best use
· Is familiar with appraisal terminology and technology
· Ability to see trends in the market
· Person has been a real estate agent
· Understands and can display knowledge of market comparisonsAgricultural Experience
· Knows about and is familiar with farm implements and farm buildings and outbuildings
· Is familiar with land uses, crops, potential yield and irrigation
· Can positively interact with rancher/farmers on their level
· Knows farm/ranch terminology/technology
· Knowledge of quality, materials, techniques, costs of building materials and structure types of buildings
· Can communicate effectively with builders and contractors
Ability to Convert Legal Descriptions into Map Locations; Math Education
Definitions and behaviors consistent with the Statewide Model were added or modified in places where this draft did not clearly include them or differed greatly from the language of the Statewide Model. The choice of competencies and wording of behaviors was not altered in any other way.
1 Loyalty/dedication -
2 Commitment to organization/mission of agency -
3 Commitment to profession/keeps current -
4 Commitment to serve the public -
5 Reliable/dependable -
1 Customer orientation -
A Listening -
B Responsiveness, follow up -
C Understanding, sensitivity, building trust -
A Influential -
B Negotiation ability -
C Conflict management -
D Facilitation -
3 Speaking effectively -
4 Writing effectively -
Initiative and Accountability (INA)
1 Decision making -
A Initiative -
C Decisiveness -
2 Efficiency/focus -
A Prioritizing, multi-tasking, balancing multiple projects -
B Accuracy, attention to detail/quality -
C Results-oriented, meets deadlines -
D Perseverance and concentration -
E Quality –
F Achievement -
3 Independence and responsibility -
A Action-oriented -
B Accepts risks -
C Personal accountability and ownership -
D Self-starter -
E Self-confidence, tough-minded -
4 Organizational understanding -
A Organization savvy -
B Organizational awareness -
C Business mindedness-
1 Leadership and mentoring -
A Shares information, feedback, knowledge -2-ways -
B Is a good teacher -
C Trains and coaches others -
D Steps into a leadership role -
2 Relationship building -
A Builds trust/credibility in work relationships -
B Maintains relationships -
A Builds networks necessary to achieve outcomes -
B Uses the organization to its best advantage -
Personal effectiveness (PE)
1 Self-knowledge/personal awareness -
A Good sense of self/takes positive steps to improve -
3 Interpersonal understanding -
A Non-judgmental, tolerant -
B Rapport/respect -
C Empathy, sensitivity to others -
A Maturity/ emotional discipline -
A Open-minded -
B Willingness to change -
A Team building -
B Shares workload or pulls own weight -
C Cooperative -
D Buildings and fosters supportive relationships -
Thinking and problem-solving (TPS)
1 Analytical thinking
A Plan, organize, gather information, conduct research -
B Identify problems -
C Takes a reasonable, common sense approach to solving problems -
D Perceptive/insightful -
A Innovative -
B Inquisitive/curious -
C Resourceful and entrepreneurial -
D Visionary -
E Change agent -
1 Hay Group, et. al, (1996) Raising the Bar: Using Competencies to Enhance Employee Performance, American Compensation Association.
2 “Introduction to Competency Modeling”, Linkage, Inc., 1996.
3 Spencer, Lyle M., Jr. and Signe M., (1993), Competence at Work: Models for Superior Performance, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishing.