Core Competency Frameworks

in Business Management
Competency Framework

Enhancing Performance Management Systems

Work based competencies provide a common language to describe how employees should behave in particular work and job related areas and help to improve performance.

Core competency frameworks help to contribute towards organizational performance management systems and individual career development.

They describe the key skills and behaviors required to undertake certain roles.

Core Competency Definitions

There are different meanings of ‘competency and this sometimes can cause confusion.

  • Competency/ies describe how a person approaches a job, role or task and usually summarize behavior.
  • Competence/es describe what a person needs to be competent in, in order to carry out their role. In this case, competences describe tasks.

Either definition can be used, but application should be consistent and reflect the organizational priorities.

However, it is generally felt that it is important for employees to understand how they do their job. For this reason, many organizations use the first definition.

Core Competency Statements

Competencies should consist of behavior statements which describe the type of behavior a person will demonstrate – the ‘how’. The competencies written as behavioral statements will therefore show behaviors and outcomes.

The behavioral statement defines an acceptable standard.

Behavior is what is seen when personal characteristics such as skills, knowledge and attitudes are combined with work characteristics, which include tasks, environment, relationships and resources.

For some competency areas it may be necessary to identify different levels, which reflect the different types of roles.

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For example, a communication competency level will be very different for a manager and an administrative assistant.

Core Competency Framework– Benefits

Organizing competencies in a framework makes them easier to use and to understand and produce benefits in many organizational areas.

The key benefits are providing a common language and understanding across the organization and a consistent approach to performance management.

Other areas in which organizational competencies assist include:

  • Recruitment and Selection – competencies can be used to attract potential employees, provide a basis for selection criteria, assess job candidates and provide feedback.
  • Learning and Development – Competencies can provide the means to identify the elements of behavior staff need to develop in order to be successful and progress their career. They also help to structure learning activities to meet those needs. When competencies are using in learning and development they also help to evaluate the success of the interventions as they determine a new or enhanced observable behavior.
  • Pay and Grading – Competencies used in pay and grading systems are usually linked with performance management. They are most often used to support pay through this link rather than used as a stand-alone. Grading is usually linked to the value of a job to an organization. Previously ‘value’ has been linked to features or tasks of the job but many organizations are now are introducing ‘the how’ when making grading decisions.
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Competencies provide an explicit link between business objectives and the management of people because they describe the behaviors required to meet their objectives.

Developing an organizational framework will provide a consistent approach and develop common understanding.


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