Mastering Competencies for Corporate Success

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn why more companies than ever rely on various types of competencies to manage performance. Discover the importance of competencies in the corporate setting and how you can use them to your company's advantage.

Leaders use competencies in various areas, including recruiting, hiring, employee development, performance management, and succession planning. Understanding competencies is essential to improving performance on an individual and organizational level. Employee competencies play an important role in corporate success by ensuring every team member has the skills necessary to drive results and propel the company forward toward its objectives.

Discover the benefits and challenges of key competencies in the workplace, explore different types of competencies, and learn how to identify and develop them within your team to support your organization.     

What are competencies? 

In the workplace, competencies encompass all the abilities, behaviors, knowledge, and skills your employees use to perform their jobs. Using competencies as a guide can help your company enhance employee learning and development for greater success. 

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5 types of competencies in the corporate setting

To understand competencies, it helps to divide them into different types. Five general categories include individual, interpersonal, leadership, occupational, and organizational competencies. 

1. Individual competencies refer to an employee's general attitude at work and their ability to self-manage. Examples of individual competencies might include:

2. Interpersonal competencies refer to an employee's ability to work with others. Examples of interpersonal competencies might include:

3. Leadership competencies refer to an employee's ability to lead or manage others. Examples of leadership competencies might include:

4. Occupational competencies refer to an employee's ability to complete tasks specific to their job. Examples of occupational competencies might include:

5. Organizational competencies refer to employees' ability to understand and contribute to a company's mission and goals. Examples of organizational competencies might include: 

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Why are competencies essential in the workplace?

When your employees have the competencies your company needs, you can meet company goals and objectives. Competencies also benefit you as a leader by:

  • Improving your hiring decisions

  • Enhancing your employee performance reviews

  • Making your employee training more efficient

Competencies benefit your employees by:

  • Outlining work expectations and optimal behaviors

  • Ensuring proper training needed for better job performance

  • Laying out more precise avenues for career advancement 

What are some challenges of a competency-based system?

Although a competency-based system benefits your company and employees, it may also present some challenges. These might include:

  • Alignment of employees' skills with company objectives

  • Aligning employee goals and aspirations with those of the company

  • Gaining support for your competency-based system from company stakeholders

  • Communicating competency strategies so everyone in the organization understands them

  • Assessing employee skills to determine training needs

  • Integrating technology to boost the efficiency of a competency-based system

4 steps for identifying and developing competencies in the workplace

Learning how to identify and develop competencies can help address many challenges as they arise in the workplace. Consider these four steps:

1. Define your goal. Decide what you want to accomplish through competency identification and development. For instance, do you want to include all employees in competency-based hiring and training practices or focus on particular employees or groups? 

2. Communicate your intentions. Open communication helps make a competency-based system work. To ensure smooth implementation, explain the reasons for creating your competency program, who will use it, and how it will work. Share this information well in advance with stakeholders and employees at all levels to clear up any conflicts and eliminate surprises. 

3. Compile your data. Analyze each position you want to target and determine what competencies you need from the person holding the job. For example, competencies required for a project manager might include:

  • Adaptability

  • Attention to detail

  • Decision-making

  • Good written and verbal communication

  • Experience leading and managing teams

  • Problem-solving

  • Project management experience

  • Time management

To come up with competencies, you can use an industry-based premade list, revise a premade list, or develop your original list.

4. Integrate competencies into performance management. Performance management refers to the ongoing communication between your supervisors and employees designed to enhance work performance and meet company goals. Communication subjects might include job duties, company expectations, and work progress. Integrate competencies into performance management using strategies like the following: 

  • Incorporate them into the recruiting and hiring process. By adding competencies to job announcements, job descriptions, and interview guides, your recruiters and hiring managers can help meet your company's competency standards.  

  • Make them part of onboarding. New hires with access to a competency model know what to expect regarding work abilities, behaviors, knowledge, and skills right from the start. This information might help motivate your employees to fill any competency gaps they might have. 

  • Link them to performance appraisals. A competency model gives your managers a comparative guide for performance appraisals. In addition, when employees know what to expect, performance appraisals become easier for all involved. 

  • Include them in career development goals and plans. After you conduct a competencies assessment, your managers and employees can create targeted career development plans. In addition to building a competent workforce, this can save your company money with more efficient budgeting and spending. 

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Incorporating technology into competency management

Technology makes competency management easier. For instance, competency management software may provide benefits to your company like:

  • Recruiting and hiring assistance: Helps screen outside job candidates for desired competencies or finds internal candidates

  • Competency mapping: Defines, analyzes, and tracks competencies across your company

  • Career and succession planning: Identifies areas for employee learning and development and creates a talent pool for position vacancies

Next steps with Coursera

Competencies have become essential to employee recruitment, hiring, and performance management. Knowing more about competencies and how to identify and develop them can help your team thrive. 

Consider turning to Coursera as a resource for building employee competencies. You can find courses covering a wide array of subject matter beneficial to business, including Foundations of Project Management offered by the experts at Google, the Business Analytics Specialization provided by instructors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Key Technologies for Business Specialization offered by the professionals at IBM. Courses vary in scope and length.

Featuring a curated catalog of guided tutorials and projects focused on high-value digital skills and tools, our Career Academy offers competitive career development opportunities with training programs from industry leaders like Google, Salesforce, Intuit, Meta, and Ashok Leyland, among many others. Explore Coursera for Business to learn how to provide the technology training your business needs to be competitive.

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Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.