Why Competencies?

Transform performance discussions
Hire and promote the right people
Invest training resources wisely

What are competencies?

Competencies are clusters of related behaviours that facilitate the successful application of knowledge and skills in a job. Critical competencies are those that contribute most significantly to success in a particular job.

Many competencies are critical across a variety of jobs and work environments. In the past, they were commonly referred to as “soft skills”. Today, they would more accurately be referred to as “transferable competencies”.

Examples of recurring transferable competencies include teamwork, decision-making, interpersonal communication, initiative, analysis, leadership, etc.

Why competencies?

  • Competencies provide a comprehensive and defensible approach to defining which behaviours are critical to successful performance in a designated job.
  • Competencies also provide uniform and objective criteria on which to evaluate an employee’s performance relative to the organization’s culture and values.
  • Competency-based HR approaches are fairer and more transparent than traditional ones because all job profiles are derived from the same competency dictionary.

You may have heard the stories:

  • “an administrative assistant who has difficulty communicating with clients”
  • “a nurse who has trouble working with the team”
  • “a skilled engineer who struggles in a management role”
  • Success in all jobs is determined by mastery of both WHAT the job requires and HOW the job is performed! Organizations have traditionally hired for technical abilities.
  • When they have had to dismiss staff, it is almost always due to a lack of transferable competencies like flexibility, interpersonal skills, initiative, work ethic, etc.

Why competency assessments?

They offer several benefits over personality tests

Human beings are complex and their behaviours are triggered by a combination of knowledge, skills and attributes.

Personality testing only measures attributes—people’s personal preferences. Competency assessments measure actual on-the-job behaviours.

Personality testing assumes that personality traits are reliable, consistent predictors of behaviour.

Research shows that past behaviour is the best predictor of future performance. Competency assessments measure demonstrated performance.

Research suggests that multi-rater feedback is nearly four times more accurate than self-assessment alone.

Competency assessments tend to gather feedback from several perspectives while personality tests tend to be self-assessments only.

It can be costly to measure enough personality factors to get a comprehensive picture of a person’s fit for a job.

One quality competency assessment can target all the specific behaviours most critical for success in that job.

For further information on how competencies can benefit you, check out our FAQs.