The success of an organization depends on how capable and skilled their workforce is. The capability of your workforce can be measured if you have specified workplace competencies for different functions in your organization.

Job competencies have been popular for a long time now and are really useful when it comes to improving organizational productivity. 

Competencies are the characteristics or skills required to do a job or task. How do you define which characteristics qualify to be competencies? Most managers consider formal education as a reliable measure while others argue that personal skills should be considered as competencies.

In this article you’ll find out what job competencies are and why they are important for your organization. But let us first under what are competencies in an organization.

What Are Competencies?

Workplace competencies

A competency is a set of specific skills or abilities required to do a job. It’s the ability to complete a task effectively. A person should be able to perform various tasks at a target proficiency level to achieve competence in something.

Job competencies give employees a clear idea of what is expected of them in terms of their performance. Competencies give them an understanding of what behaviours they should cultivate at the workplace to be valued and rewarded.

These competencies are broadly categorized into two types:

  1. Behavioural Competencies
  2. Functional / Technical Competencies

Behavioural Competency

Behavioural competencies help you define an employee’s behavioural strengths that can contribute to organizational success. They define not just the ability to do something, but how something should be done.

When managers hire an employee they generally look for behavioural competencies like interpersonal skills, ability to accept constructive criticism, ability to understand the perspective of others, decision making skills, time management, taking responsibility for their actions etc.

Examples of behavioural competence:

1. Competency – Managerial Competencies

Description of behaviour – Defines clear goals for team members, Creates work plan based on organizational objectives, provides honest and regular feedback

2. Competency –  Commitment

Description of behaviour – Widely trusted, Takes ownership, Delivers on commitments

3. Competency –  Values and Ethics

Description of behaviour – Adheres to code of conduct, Aligns with company values

Functional Competency

Functional competencies are more like technical skills of an employee that contribute to overall organizational productivity. It is more about skills that employees need to possess to perform technical operations in an organization.

Examples of functional competence:

1. Job Role: HR

Competencies – HR policies, Recruitment, HR strategy, Workflow planning, Employee retention, Performance management

2. Job Role: Computer Programmer

Competencies – Ruby on rails, desktop application development, mobile application development

Now that you’ve gained an understanding on what competencies are, now let’s find out why it is important to have workplace competencies.

The Benefits Of Having Workplace Competencies

Many companies are investing resources to align their organizational strategies and plans with the competencies of their employees. If you’re wondering why workplace competencies are so important, here’s a list of benefits of having workplace competencies.

1. They communicate performance expectations clearly and help HRs ease the recruitment process.

2. They help employees identify the behavioural standards of an organization and improve job satisfaction.

3. Managers can easily identify the need for development in the performance of their team members based on their fulfillment of the competency.

4. Competencies promote improved operational efficiency in the organization.

5. Having a clear list of workplace competencies helps you conduct better training sessions for employees.

6. They help HRs improve their talent planning strategies.

What Is Competency Mapping?

Competency mapping is the process of identifying key competencies for an organization and including them throughout various organizational functionalities like onboarding, training, performance evaluation etc. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of an individual.

Though competency mapping requires lot of time, effort and money, it is said to be one of the best practices for performance management. It is recommended for every organization to have a proper competency model or a framework based on their organizational requirements and the industry they belong to.

Related: 4 Competencies That You Must Include In A 360 Degree Feedback Form

The process of competency mapping usually consists of the following steps:

  • Employees fill a job analysis questionnaire. This questionnaire asks them to fill out information like the skills required to do their jobs effectively, various behavioural and functional skills that help them do their jobs effectively.
  • Using the above information, a competency based job description is created.
  • Now, competencies will be mapped. These job competencies will be later used to assess employee performance.
  • After the assessment, a report with possible development opportunities will be given to employees.

We hope this article has helped you understand different types of competencies in an organization, importance of job competencies, and competency mapping.


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