Divide the groups into functional areas and subdivide them as appropriate based on technical work groupings. Take a core of 12 or so line workers from each group and have them create a list of tasks that must be performed by their group in order to achieve critical business goals. Use a process of consensus for finalizing the lists. Have the core workers present their lists to the other line workers in their groups to test for accuracy and completeness. Each group may decide to make some changes as a result of these meetings.
Once task lists are validated, have the same line workers take an exhaustive list of competencies–with the definitions of each competency–and select those that would be essential for completing the critical tasks. (A set of cards with one competency on each card works well for this.) Have each of the 12 core workers complete the task individually using a maximum of 12 competencies. Put a chart of all the competencies on the wall so that each participant can make a mark–or place a colored dot–next to each of his/her selected competencies. Circle the top 12 vote-getters and have a discussion to reach consensus on the final dozen (or fewer) competencies. Have another reality check with line workers to validate the competency lists, as was done with the task lists.
Include the line managers in these selection sessions as equal partners in the process, not as final decision-makers. They are likely to miss some things the line workers recognize and can remove ownership and commitment to the final list by dictating outcomes.
Each session for generating task and competency lists will take three to four hours. If time is an issue, you may want to consider larger functional groupings and smaller core worker groups for selecting tasks and competencies.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.