Денис Карандашев

Case on assessing competencies with a tool from HR-PRACTICE

Инструмент для оценки компетенций от HR-ПРАКТИКА

About the tool for assessing competencies

You can write a lot and for a long time.

I will try to limit myself to a minimum of text and show more pictures that illustrate the content of the case for developing a competency assessment system for one of our customers.

If the theoretical basis for the development and application of a competency model is not very familiar to you, I recommend that you first read the article Assessing personnel – who and why to assess – it describes in detail the goals and objectives of the assessment and the logic of identifying three groups of competencies.

About the competency matrix or model

The main task of assessing corporate and positional competencies is to compare the results of assessing employees with the benchmark assessments of competencies established for individual job groups in the competency matrix.

The competency matrix is ​​a table with the names of competencies and benchmark assessments of the level of their development for certain job groups.

There are four of them in our case – managers of two management levels, qualified specialists and performers.

This is how it looks (click on the picture to enlarge).

Матрица компетенций

How the competency model is developed

“Benchmarks” are created by a group of experts within the company – they develop lists of competencies, indicators for their assessment, and also determine what level of development of each competence is required for the “ideal employee” from each of the job groups.

The resulting competency matrix later becomes a part of the evaluation results processing algorithm and allows comparing a “live” employee with a “standard”.

There are several very important points that must be taken into account when implementing a competency assessment project:

  1. There are no ideal employees, so it is absolutely normal that no one will score the maximum number of points in all indicators and competencies.
  2. It is not necessary to expect employees to meet the ideal in all competencies, since the need, and even more so, the opportunity to show that they have a certain competence directly depends on what position the employee holds.
  3. It is necessary to imagine what levels of development of competencies for a particular position are required, which are desirable, which are quite acceptable, and which do not affect work efficiency at all.

As for professional competencies, they are divided into three groups according to the degree of their importance for them positions, and reference marks are set for each position at the stage of indicators for their assessment.

Their rating scale is also different – you will see in the illustration below.

About competencies, competency indicators and assessment scales

Competencies themselves cannot be assessed.

Any competence is an abstract concept, and it is possible to agree on a common understanding of the meaning of which only by describing the desired patterns of behavior.

All competencies are assessed by assessing the severity of a particular behavior characteristic of the employee.

The typical behavior of the described behavior is assessed using indicators – phrases describing behavior, by which one can judge the level of development of an employee of the corresponding competence.

The frequency of demonstration of behavior that is an indicator of the assessed competence is used as a criterion for assessment.

Behavior indicators used for assessment should contain a description of the observed behavior – actions and deeds.

Indicators should not include abstract concepts, ambiguous words, or characteristics that are not measurable by observation (understands, understands, etc.).

A well-chosen indicator should allow reference to examples from real work situations that reliably confirm that the described behavior is characteristic of the assessed one.

The scale used in this example for assessing indicators of corporate and positional competencies contains 5 options for assessing:

Acts in most cases exactly as described

Often behaves this way, but not always

Quite often does not behave as described

Most often does not behave as described

Does not manifest itself in such a way that one can judge which behavior is more typical

If it is impossible to assess an employee by a behavioral indicator, this indicator is not involved in obtaining the final grade.

Please note – the scale described above is not five-point.

This is done on purpose so that the assessor cannot predict the final result of his answers.

What the competency assessment form looks like

As it is convenient for the user.

Options range from a sheet of paper with a spreadsheet or a secure letterhead in MS Excel format to a web interface where each indicator is displayed separately along with choice buttons.

The task for assessors is very simple – to assess the frequency of occurrence of the behavior described in the competency indicator.

You don’t need to put any points, just put a cross or 1 in the required field, or press the required button if you are using the web interface.

The names of the competencies are highlighted in white on a black background on the form, the final grades for which are automatically calculated after filling out the form.

The assessment form contains three blocks of competencies, which look like this:

  1. Block for assessing corporate competencies.

    Оценка корпоративных компетенций
    2. Assessment unit for managerial competencies or specialist competencies (for specialists).

    Оценка позиционных компетенций3. Block for assessing professional competencies.

    Оценка профессиональных компетенций

What the conclusion looks like based on the results of the assessment of competencies

These estimates are processed using a special algorithm and then presented as a text conclusion.

The textual conclusion on the level of competence development looks like the phrase “The assessment of competence is fully consistent with that established for this position”, “above …”, “below”, “significantly higher …”, significantly below ”.

A conclusion on the level of development of professional competencies is based on the same logic. The final form with conclusions about the level of development of competencies by groups and individual competencies may look like the following.

Результаты оценки

You can also present your assessment data in a scoring table and chart.

Диаграмма компетенций

It looks clear – in the project from which the example is taken, this data format was preferred by the management and HR department of the customer company.

Although I prefer the textual output of the results – no points.

It allows you to avoid the stereotypical interpretation of assessment results on the “school” scale – “excellent”, “good”, “satisfactory”, “bad”.

Despite the fact that the data processing algorithm operates with points, the scale used is not five-point

If necessary, tabular values ​​and brief conclusions in the conclusion based on the results of the assessment can be supplemented with detailed text comments and recommendations.


The logic of the described tool is simple, and the complexity of the evaluation processing algorithms is not reflected in the custom functions.

The most difficult thing in creating a tool for a specific company is developing a list of competencies and their indicators.

In order for the assessment system to work correctly, all concepts and descriptions of behavior (indicators) must correspond to the realities of employee behavior.

An expert group of leaders and HR specialists can handle this.

Another task that the company’s experts have to solve is to determine the significance coefficients of estimates in cases where the 360-degree method is used.

But this task is not difficult either.

In general, as we can see, the assessment tool itself is very easy to use – the only question is how the user can apply the obtained data.

But read about it in other articles 🙂

I wish you success and good luck in assessing competencies.

Денис Карандашев Author: Denis Karandashev

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