Introduction to Competencies
We use competencies to help define what an individual should be doing and how they should go about doing it, to meet the needs of their role. Competencies are based on how individuals carry out the tasks their job involves. This article provides an introduction to competencies and how they can benefit individuals, managers and organisations.
What Are Competencies?
“A competency represents the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to perform effectively in a given job, role or situation.”
We use competencies to help define what an individual should be doing and how they should go about doing it, to meet the needs of their role. Competencies are based on how individuals carry out the tasks their job involves.
What Are Competencies For?
Competencies focus on factors that contribute to individuals and organisations success. They provide a set of statements that can be used to show achievements and identify learning needs or gaps in people resources.
Competencies are a vital part of many people-management processes, helping organisations perform better in the following important areas.
- Recruitment – by providing fair and unbiased criteria (conditions) and for choosing who to employ, and making sure everyone is assessed against the same framework.
- Performance management – by providing fair and unbiased statements to help managers and their staff discuss and assess performance.
- Learning and development – by helping the managers and individuals identify areas to prioritise their learning and development needs.
- Career development – by providing clear expectations of what skills, knowledge and behaviours are needed at each level and by showing individuals how they can develop their career by building on their current skills.
Benefits of Using Competencies
Competencies provide a useful tool for everyone.
- Know what is expected in their role
- Are recognised for the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are vital to every role
- Have a tool for discussing how to improve in their current role, or how to improve their chances of moving to other positions
- Can identify and adapt their skills and behaviours when moving into a new role
- Have clear, fair and unbiased statements to use when discussing performance, which also helps in setting role objectives for their staff
- Have a common language to use when giving employees feedback on their performance
- Can identify individuals learning or development needs, as well as resources, meaning they can better structure employees’ development and training
- Have a tool to help define career paths, provide support for planning how to fill vacant roles and help people move to different roles
- Can identify the organisation’s needs, which helps to target resources for staff learning and development
- Can be confident that we will be recruiting, developing and promoting the right people, who have the core skills and qualities to meet our goals
- Can contribute to and help to shape the culture of business
- Can make sure we are making the most of our staff’s abilities and contributions