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Competencies in Human Resource Practices at MIT: The Human Resources Practices Development Team (HRPD) Recommendations


Since February 1997, through a process of community involvement and collaborations with central administrative and academic areas of the Institute, the Human Resource Practices Development (HRPD) team conducted research to define, test, and customize an integrated system of basic human resource practices suitable for MIT.

The development team was authorized to continue the work of the design team, which found in 1996 that current human resource practices no longer aligned with MIT's changing environment. The scope of the HRPD project included:

  • career and sucession planning
  • job classification and compensation systems
  • job design
  • orientation
  • generic role descriptions and competencies
  • organizational development
  • performance management
  • recognition and rewards
  • hiring and selection
  • strategic planning
  • training and development
  • a study of project team formation


Project Output

The output from the project includes recommended enhancements to existing HR practices, new strategic HR approaches, and customized tools and resources for modernizing the Institute's HR management. The recommendations for change in the Institute's classification and compensation structures, delivered in the fall of 1997, have been under development and are scheduled for implementation in calendar year 2000.


Specific Recommendations

1. Describe jobs using competencies as well as duties and responsibilities.

2. Select and recruit employees based on behavioral as well as technical competencies.

3. Transition from the current performance appraisal process into a performance management process, including multi-source assessment, planning and goal setting, continual coaching to ensure results, and a year-end feedback summary meeting.

4. Align training and development programs with MIT goals and make them accessible to all employees.

5. Effect new capabilities to support organizational development through Performance Consulting.

6. Provide employees with proper orientation to the Institute, their departments, and their jobs.

7. Use classification and compensation programs to reinforce MIT's pay-for-performance philosophy and also position MIT favorably in the employment market.

8. Implement a comprehensive recognition and rewards program.

9. Implement succession planning as the first step in human resources planning at MIT.

10. Impement career development services to support both MIT's goals and employee interests.

11. Measure impacts of HR practices at the Institute level.

12 Support HR practices with an integrated human resources information system (HRIS).

13. Implement an employee communications program.


For a fuller description of the HRPD recommendations, see


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Last updated January 2000


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