The Effective Use of Competencies In the Irish Civil Service

Butler, Michelle ; Fleming, Síle


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Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: CPMR- Committee for Public Management Research
Schriftenreihe: CPMR discussion paper
Bandnummer: 19
ISBN: 1-902448-65-0
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2002
Publikationsdatum: 30.03.2009
Originalveröffentlichung: (2002)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Öffentliche Verwaltung
BK - Basisklassifikation: 88.20 (Organisation staatlicher Einrichtungen, Management staatlicher Einrichtungen)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.7 Verwaltungswissenschaften

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This research explores the development of competency-based human resource management (HRM) in the Irish civil service. It builds on the research outlined in three previous CPMR discussion papers, on key HRM challenges facing the Irish public service, flexible working in the public service and the development of personnel management in the civil service. The paper begins by exploring some of the concepts of competency-based approaches to HRM. Three issues outstanding in the literature are identified: · whether competencies should be understood as behavioural traits or personal dispositions, or whether they should relate to a specific body of knowledge and skills required to do a job effectively · whether competencies should refer to a minimum standard required or to the characteristics of proficient or excellent performance · how broad or narrow competency statements should be, the danger being that if too broad they can be difficult to apply to specific situations, but if broken down into too many criteria they can become atomised or result in unmanageable lists. Current thinking is explored on the potential of competency-based management (CBM) to enable organisations respond to the challenges presented by globalisation,increased competition and constant change. It is suggested that CBM can enable organisations to build internal capacity to respond to such changes by identifying,building and leveraging new competencies, empowering individuals within organisations and encouraging innovation. Changing perspectives on HRM are explored as is the shift towards ‘soft’ approaches aimed at unleashing the potential that each individual can bring to the organisation. In addition, the review examines the role of competencies in the development of integrated HRM. In the same section of the report, current thinking on approaches to developing competency profiles and identifying competencies is discussed, in order to develop a framework for the effective use of competencies which can inform employee development and employee resourcing activities. The research then explores the development of competency-based HRM in the Irish civil service. Recruitment and selection is the area where most development in this regard has taken place. Currently, competencies are used as the basis for all aspects of recruitment to most civil service positions and to several local government and specialist positions. Competencies are also used in open competitions for promotion and for some internal promotions. The findings suggest that, in general, the approach has been well accepted by those who have been involved in the process to date, either as interviewers or interviewees. The perceived benefits of the approach include the provision of a holistic view of the person and a greater focus on the fit between what the person can do and the requirements of a job, and greater transparency, fairness and objectivity in the process. Nonetheless, it is also suggested that the process could be improved, particularly in relation to improving its predictive reliability. The research also outlines competency frameworks developed in three departments. The focus is on how these systems were promoted within departments, the range of competencies identified within frameworks and the process of using competencies. Also included in the review of competency-based HRM is the development of the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS), which was launched by the Taoiseach in May 2000. In the light of the development of an integrated competency-based approach to HRM, as outlined in Chapter Two of this paper and in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (PPF), a comparison is undertaken of the competencies found in the PMDS and those found in other competency frameworks used in the civil service. This comparative review highlights the similarities that exist between the various competency frameworks. Integration of the frameworks is possible, but integration should allow departments the flexibility to tailor generic competencies towards the business that they do. Achieving a balance between developing competencies that are relevant to those using them, and competencies that are sufficiently generic to preserve the civil service as a unified system in HR terms, is identified in the research as a particular challenge for managers. The research also explores current thinking and current trends in the development of competencies in other public administrations, with a view to informing thinking on how CBM might be developed further in the Irish civil service. The critical success factors in the development of approaches to CBM highlighted on the basis of international experience to date relate to: · leadership and top-level commitment to the process and employee participation in the development of frameworks · effective communication at all levels in the development of profiles and regular feedback to individuals on their performance · clear links between competencies, business plans and organisational objectives, and clarity about roles, work responsibilities and standards of behaviour required of employees · clarity about the roles of managers and employees in the CBM approach · an emphasis on training and developing people, rewarding good performance and dealing with underperformance · integration of competencies and CBM into HR strategies · monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the approach and its implementation and integration.

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