ICT job roles exist in a rapidly changing environment. This is accentuated by its continuous acceleration. Compared to highly formalised professions such as legal or accountancy, ICT is a relatively “young” profession. The tools needed to demonstrate its capacity for professionalism at an organisational level and the requirements needed for ICT professionals to demonstrate their competences at an individual level are still very much embryonic[i]. Yet, the ICT practitioner of today needs to shape and plan the ICT workforce of tomorrow.
Amcor’s ICT department did not have a competency framework. It selected the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF), because it was a recognised and accepted standard that was not industry-specific. It clearly defined competences that could be easily applied both to individuals and across ICT functions. The e-CF’s non-restrictive approach to titles and definitions was seen as something that could be built on. Amcor’s ICT department therefore decided to use the e-CF as a framework for ICT job definitions and facilitated external benchmarking that could be applied across continents, countries and employees.
Amcor’s ICT department first classified job roles into families, designed to also reflect potential career development paths, from entry-level all the way up to ICT Director. It then defined the key competences required to be successful in each role.
The process was designed to be:
- Repeatable, so that it could be replicated;
- Transferable, so that it could be applied in other areas within the company;
- Measureable, to allow for statistical trend analysis;
- Best practice, so that it could be used as an example by other departments;
- Adaptable, so that it would correspond to the needs of the ICT department.
24 out of 72 co-workers participated in the pilot. Each manager was briefed and trained. Subsequently they assessed their co-workers for each competency related to their role. The pilot was positively received. Each participant agreed that the ICT framework was helpful in defining roles and for assessment purposes. The e-CF was seen as comprehensive and well documented, with no competences missing.
The pilot highlighted five themes:
- How an ICT framework is applied and maintained;
- How the ICT framework is integrated into an organisation;
- The environment the ICT framework is applied to;
- The time required to analyse and review the framework;
- The advantage of using of a standard rather than developing an in-house framework.
In 2015, the framework was rolled out to all 72 co-workers. The co-workers were explained the roles and competences, and completed a self-assessment of the competences required for their role. Two others, including their manager, also assessed them. The manager then reviewed the findings with each co-worker. The results were used to develop career, training and succession plans. The process was then integrated into the ICT HR cycle.
The pilot did however raise some questions. How do job roles evolve as competences change? Have the right competences been chosen? Can certified training organisations offer e-CF competency training? Has the process helped to establish new best practices? Is this process repeatable? The pilot also revealed a need to reach out to other ICT practitioners to share experiences and the obligation to build a portfolio of development options for each competency required by a role.
Currently the framework is under review, as the team decides how best to move forward and capitalise on the gains the process has provided.
[i] Holt, J. and Perry, S. A. (2011). A pragmatic guide to competency. Swindon: British Informatics Society.