Organizational Competencies

Organizational Competencies 

Organizational competencies are the competencies needed in the organization so that it can excel and remain competitive in the market. The competencies provide an inventory of expected behaviours, skills and attitudes which lead to the successful performance of the organization. Organizational competencies depend heavily on the competencies of the employees of the organization.

Organizational competencies, in the most general terms, are those ‘things’ which the employees of the organization are to demonstrate to be effective in their job, role, function, task, or duty. These ‘things’ include (i) job-relevant behaviour (what the employees say or do which result in good or poor performance), (ii) motivation (how the employees feel about a job, organization, or geographic location), and (iii) technical knowledge/skills (what the employees know/demonstrate regarding facts, technologies, their professions, procedures, jobs, and the organization, etc.). Competencies are identified through the study of jobs and roles.

The term ‘competency’ is usually defined as a combination of skills, attributes and behaviours which are directly related to successful performance on the job. They are important for all the employees regardless of occupation, function, or level.

An efficient organization keeps into focus the competencies on performance development/which enables its employees to align their individual performance with values and strategy while maximizing the individual performance in the pursuit of specific work-related objectives and behaviours.

Organizational competencies can be broadly divided into (i) core values, (ii) technical competencies, and (iii) core competencies. Core values are the organizational values which are the shared principles and beliefs. These principles and belief unite all the organizational employees and guide them in their actions. Technical competencies are those specific competencies which are usually required to perform a given job within a job family. Technical competencies cover the various fields of expertise relevant to the specific work carried out in the organization. Technical competencies are at the heart of what the organizational employees do. Technical competency requirements to successfully perform a given job are defined in job vacancy announcements. Core competencies summarize the capabilities which are important across all jobs and which the employees believe collectively contribute to the organizational overall success. At the same time, the importance of core competencies can vary according to the specific job duties and requirements.

The performance of the organization is measured against competencies. These measurements then are used to make hiring, promotion, and succession decisions and to guide training and development efforts. The use of competencies has been a key success for those organizations which are undergoing rapid and dramatic changes.

While reviewing the competencies, it is to be remembered that competencies help to describe ‘how’ work gets accomplished (by engaging knowledge, skills, and abilities). The competencies represent one (important) dimension of work. They do not describe ‘what’ gets accomplished in terms of results, responsibilities, deliverables, or specific project objectives. Competencies are used to plan, guide, and develop behaviour/performance.

There are large numbers of competencies which may be required by an organization to excel. The organization goal is not to pick as many competencies as possible which may apply to the work in the organization. The key is to focus on a number of competencies (there is no magic number) most critical competencies as a competency framework / model, then narrow these competencies to a few for use in performance development/management. When choosing the few competencies, a good practice is to pick those few competencies which are important strengths (based on organizational goals), to continue to build upon. In addition, a few competencies are to be which are developmental in nature. This provides balance between strengths and developmental needs.

Most of the competencies can be grouped in three categories (Fig 1). These competencies groups are (i) delivery related competencies, (ii) interpersonal competencies, and (iii) competencies of strategic nature.

Fig 1 Three groups of competencies

The various types of competencies are described below.

Accountability – This competency demonstrates dependability in all aspects of own work and takes responsibility for own words and actions and can be relied upon consistently.

Adaptability – Adaptability consists of maintaining effectiveness when experiencing major changes in work tasks or the work environment.  It involves adjusting effectively to work within new work structures, processes, requirements, or cultures.

Aligning performance for success – It consists of focusing and guiding others in accomplishing work objectives.

Applied learning – It is assimilation and application of new job-related information in a timely manner.

Building a successful team – This competency means use of suitable methods and a flexible inter-personal style to help build a cohesive team, which helps in facilitating the completion of team goals.

Building of customer loyalty – This competency means meeting of customer needs effectively. It consists of building of productive customer relationships and taking responsibility for customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Building of partnerships – Building partnerships is identification of the opportunities and taking action to build strategic relationships between the employee’s area and other areas, teams, departments, units, or organizations to help achieve the business goals.

Building positive working relationships – Working relationships are built through teamwork and collaboration. The competency consists of development and use of collaborative relationships to facilitate the accomplishment of work goal.

Building of trust – It consists of interaction with others in a way which gives the employees confidence in the employee’s intentions and those of the organization.

Coaching – Coaching consists of providing timely guidance and feedback to help others strengthen specific knowledge/skill areas needed to accomplish a task or solve a problem.

Communication – Communication competency makes the employees to effectively convey clearly information and ideas through a variety of media to individuals or groups in a manner which engages the audience and helps them understand and retain the message. The competency helps in listening carefully, clarifying understanding and taking into consideration different viewpoints.

Continuous learning – It consists of (i) actively identifying new areas for learning, (ii) regularly creating and taking advantage of learning opportunities, and (iii) using newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job and further learning through their application.

Contributing to team success – Employees having this competency actively participates as a member of a team so as to move the team towards the completion of goals.

Customer focus – Employees having this competency make customers and their needs as a primary focus of their actions. They develop and sustain productive customer relationships.

Decision making – Decision making is a competency through which employees identify and understand issues, problems, and opportunities. They compare data from different sources to draw conclusions and use effective approaches for choosing a course of action or develop appropriate solutions. They take actions which are consistent with available facts, constraints, and probable consequences.

Delegation – Through the competency of delegation, employees are allocated decision-making authority and/or task responsibility to appropriate others to maximize the organization’s and employees’ effectiveness.

Developing others – This competency consists of planning and supporting the development of employees’ skills and abilities so that they can fulfill current or future job/role responsibilities more effectively.

Energy – Competency energy helps employees (i) to consistently maintain high levels of activity or productivity, (ii) to sustain long working hours when necessary, and (iii) to operate with vigor, effectiveness, and determination over extended periods of time.

Facilitating change – Employees with this competency encourage other employees to seek opportunities for different and innovative approaches for addressing various problems and opportunities thus facilitating the implementation and acceptance of change within the workplace.

Follow-up – With the help of competency follow-up employees monitor the results of delegations, assignments, or projects while considering the skills, knowledge, and experience of the assigned employee and the characteristics of the assignment or project.

Formal presentation – Employees having this competency present ideas effectively to other employees or groups of employees when given time to prepare. They deliver presentations suited to the characteristics and needs of the audience.

Gaining commitment – This competency helps the employees to use appropriate interpersonal styles and techniques to gain acceptance of ideas or plans. The employees modify their own behaviour to accommodate tasks, situations, and individuals involved.

Impact – Employees with this competency create a good first impression, command attention and respect besides showing an air of confidence.

Information monitoring – This competency consists of setting up ongoing procedures to collect and review information needed to manage the organization or ongoing activities within it.

Initiative (initiating action) – By having the competency of initiative, employees take prompt action to accomplish objectives. They take action to achieve goals beyond what is needed by being proactive.

Innovation – This competency consists of generating innovative solutions in work situations by trying different and unique ways to deal with work problems and opportunities.

Leading/Living the vision and values – Employees are required to have this competency since they are to keep the organizational vision and values at the forefront of decision-making and action.

Management of conflict – Employees having this competency deal effectively with others in a hostile situation. They use appropriate inter-personal styles and methods to reduce tension or conflict between two or more people.

Meeting leadership – This competency ensures that the meetings serve their business objectives while using suitable interpersonal styles and methods and considering the needs and potential contributions of others.

Meeting participation – This competency ensures use of suitable interpersonal styles and methods to help reach the goals of a meeting while considering the needs and potential contributions of others.

Negotiation – Competency in negotiation helps employees to explore effectively different alternatives and positions to reach outcomes which gain the support and acceptance of all parties.

Persuasiveness/sales ability – It consists of use of proper interpersonal styles and communication methods to gain acceptance of a product, service, or idea from prospects and clients.

Planning and organizing – It consists of establishing a realistic and systematic course of action for self and others to accomplish objectives, and determines priorities and allocates resources effectively. This competency ensures that the work is completed efficiently.

Professional/technical knowledge and skills – This competency helps the employees to achieve a satisfactory level of professional and technical knowledge and skills in position-related areas and to keep up with current developments and trends in areas of expertise.

Quality orientation (Attention to details) – This competency helps employees to accomplish tasks by (i) considering all areas involved, no matter how small, (ii) showing concern for all aspects of the job, (iii) accurately checking processes and tasks, and (iv) being watchful over a period of time.

Results focus – Result focus is the competency which focuses on and assumes accountability for the delivery of agreed results, and demonstrates an understanding of how these contribute to the goals of the organization.

Risk taking – Risk taking consists of initiation of action which tries to achieve a recognized benefit or advantage when potential negative consequences are understood.

Safety awareness – This competency is concerned with the safety at the work place. It consists of Identifying and correcting the conditions which affect employees’ safety by upholding the safety standards.

Strategic decision making  – It is regarding (i) obtaining information and identifying key issues and relationships relevant to achieving a long-range goal or vision, and (ii) committing to a course of action for accomplishing a long-range goal or vision after developing alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, available resources, constraints, and organizational values.

Stress tolerance – This competency helps employees in (i) maintaining stable performance under pressure or opposition (such as time pressure or job ambiguity), and (ii) handling of stress in a manner which is acceptable to others and to the organization.

Tenacity – This is the competency which makes the employees stay with a position or plan of action until the desired objective is obtained or is no longer reasonably attainable.

Time management (Managing of work) – The competency of time management helps employees to manage effectively the time and resources for ensuring that the work is completed efficiently.

Valuing diversity – This competency makes employees appreciate and leverage the capabilities, insights, and ideas of all individuals, so that they can work effectively with individuals of diverse style, ability, and motivation.

Work standards – This competency helps in (i) setting high standards of performance for self and others, (ii) assuming responsibility and accountability for successfully completing assignments or tasks and (iii) self-imposing standards of excellence rather than having standards imposed.