Competencies: What are they?
Competencies are abilities or attributes, described in terms of behaviour, key to effective and/or highly effective performance within a particular job.
They are applicable across a range of jobs, unlike specialist or technical skills which may be job specific. They provide a common language for describing performance and the abilities/attributes displayed by individuals. They focus on ‘how’ tasks are achieved, not ‘what’ is achieved.
Competencies differ from competence, which relates to tangible knowledge and skills relating to a particular job or task (normally covered in the skills and knowledge section of a role profile).
It is important to note that competencies do not affect job evaluation and job size as they relate to how a job is done and not what the job is, also competencies are not used to determine pay and grading although they may impact how an individual performs in their role and consequently how they progress in the pay system.
The competency framework contained within this document is not intended to be specific to roles or areas of work within the University, but more of a guide to what effective behaviour may look like for general abilities or attributes that can be applied across the whole University including indicators for different levels of staff or staff with a specialist focus.
They are often used to help identify areas of potential development and help the manager/reviewer and role holder to articulate how focusing on particular competencies may aid the overall performance of the individual in their role. With this in mind, managers will need to discuss (and agree) what particular competences are relevant to the member of staff, their role and their level and what these may look like in their specific area of the University.
Such discussion and agreement will help to promote consistency of appraisal, rating and focus on development which will in turn ensure a fair and equitable process.
These competencies are not designed for rigid assessment and for best results should be used with a large application of common sense.