What are competency skills?

One thing we hear a lot today is competency skills. For many people, the concept of skill-related abilities seems quite similar. In addition, this terminology is widely different depending on the company.

Organizations use skills and competencies in many different ways. They can be used for strategic planning, hiring, and talent development. Most positions require some kind of core competency such as computer programming in a specific code language. However, many organizations are now looking deeper into skills and competencies by building a competency framework and identifying any competency gaps in the employee or organization.

Skills competencies

So what are competency skills? The answer is that skills include the ability to make something, and competencies refer to behavior. Competencies describe the way the person uses skills.

If 10 people know computers, they may be able to perform a similar job but only two have the cultural understanding. Those skills include respect for management, work efficiency, good management, and effective teamwork. Competencies show what a good person can actually achieve or achieve through their actions and abilities/skills.

What is Competency?

Even though we have an innate understanding of the word, many of us struggle when asked to define it. A simple definition of competency is that it is “something you need to be able to do well in a specific job role.”

An article titled “Motivation Reconsidered: The Concept of Competence” by R. W. White in Psychological Review in 1959 spurred widespread adoption of the term. White propagated the adoption of competency models by organizations in order to tap into the human desire to achieve competency. This was based on his finding that the pursuit of proficiency was something human beings were intrinsically motivated for.

He further broke proficiency down into tasks, or skills, which could be defined as well as measured in terms of achievement. Non-numeric tasks could be defined in terms of expectations of achievement that would each correspond to a different level of that competency. This was widely adopted by organizations to evaluate the competency levels of employees.

A competency model was designed to include all proficiency requirements for a particular job which would be an aggregation of tasks, and skills, competencies, and behaviors, typically focusing on the ones considered ‘mission critical’ to enable an organization to achieve its goals.

People in the Learning and Development function or the Talent Management function may be familiar with the concept as well as terminology and one would expect the same for others in the organization, at least to the extent applicable to their own role. However, the reality is that it is not as well-known as one, especially a manager in the L&D or Talent function, might believe.

What are technical skills?

It’s possible that you need certain skills, including leadership skills, analytical qualities, organizational abilities, etc. Hard skills can be knowledge-related either in a technical sense or in a technical sense. Soft Skills include character traits and behaviors for working on work sites.

When training to improve one’s innate skills it must be done before it begins. Our knowledge is based on tests as they are never proven – they will not master any given skill for an entire lifetime. For example, learning to communicate without interactions with another person may require interaction with them. We classify skills as hard skills with an intermediate-level skill category.

Using categories to understand and explain

Some experts use ‘categories’ to enable people to relate to the concept. When asked about the ‘categories’ of different tasks/ things an employee is expected to perform, it becomes a more tangible idea, that people can relate to and explain.

A salesperson might categorize his tasks/ things as:

• Opportunity management

• Account management

• Administrative tasks.

A supply chain manager might identify his categories as:

• People management

• Coordination with other functions

• Supply chain management

Armed with a list of categories, you could move to the next step, of identifying the skills and proficiencies required to effectively handle the role.

How do you do this?

By engaging with high performers, observing them, and asking them to identify those tasks as well as proficiencies.

To elaborate further, if it is found that career development is one of the required skills in a certain role, you could further drill down by asking, “If you must facilitate career development discussions, what do you think it should look like? How often do you do it? How do you integrate it into your processes?”

How does this help?

It results in the surfacing of best practices, or practical ways of doing the job well. By socializing it to more people, the organization would benefit of those practices being adopted by a larger set of people.

Competency Management System: Implementation of Competencies

As an HR leader or functional leader, if you are trying to create a competency-based structure, it is recommended that you use terminology that can be understood by everyone. Using ‘categories’ instead of ‘competencies’ would be an example.

Of course, you need to identify the right terms based on the context your colleagues are working in and if other, more favorable terms are available. This should be better received than an initiative nobody can understand the meaning of.

Tell me the origin of the Competencies?

Employers relied heavily on the competencies of staff management companies from the early ’70s and early 1960s. Almost 99%’ most effective organizations have core competencies defined for each role while 48% are in other industries.

Competency frameworks are increasingly recognized among the recruiter and staff today, serving the majority of the HR reviews process. Accordingly, qualifications in hiring and preparing will help them become more competitive in the job market. To know further, please click [link]

How core competencies are used by employers?

Employers apply competencies when hiring workers. It may be useful in this sense when comparing the performance of workers in an annual review. These tools help in recruiting the appropriate personnel in the business to improve its performance.

Achieving important competencies at every stage of life is the most vital. Competency means that employers are able to investigate further and find the candidates’ potential. Respecting competency is fundamental to the development of any professional.

Interviews

In interviews, businesses have an opportunity to ask competency questions related to the job description. The answers will provide a person with the required data with a real example from which this competency was developed.

Most interviews and candidate screening start with a review of relevant skills and relevant competencies. However, research has shown that a successful employee has matching on the job behaviors of key competencies.

Competencies – particularly behavior-related skills require transparency during interviews. This would be the last step in the development of an intelligent solution that would solve any type of legal issue, and the company may not be equipped with such questions.

Competencies considered: “Supports group decisions and puts group success above individual objectives.” The recruiter looks to find the best way to indicate whether a candidate will support a team as a positive, excited, or supportable person.

Job applications & competency based job descriptions

On career applications, the person specification includes a variety of statements similar to the one below. This document tells candidates about important qualities and desires for this job. Applicants need to have certain qualities to get this position eg. Applicants will provide more than enough information regarding the competencies required or require that candidates demonstrate the competency.

Different types of competence

Competencies vary in terms of competence in behavior, technical or leadership. An employee in a company may need to have several basic skills to perform basic job tasks. They are described as threshold competencies specific to the role. Below are some examples of simplified competency frameworks for interviews. In some cases, two competencies are required for each subcategory. The competencies are often split up by levels of performance.

A different approach: Categories

I need people explaining how something is done in their job. Here, you can begin working on the skills that make your job successful. Describe your career prospects in some way “I want to learn career options as long as you do” There are good methods here that are a simple examples of how to show proficiency in specific skill sets. Those salespeople usually answer the question: account management.

Katie Sullivan

Katie Sullivan

Katie is a digital nomad and business consultant. She has a bachelor's degree in business and has in the last 15 years in both the private and non-profit sectors. Her passion is helping people become better themselves and in turn creating better businesses. When she isn't chasing around her twin boys, she loves reading and gardening. She can be reached at [email protected]

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