Making the Case for Competencies

Posted by Julie • September 19, 2013 (Last modified June 1, 2022) • 1 min read

Our customers often ask, should performance Appraisals include competencies in the form? Or, should an appraisal contain only individualized goals, or reflective questions.

Let’s make the case for using competencies on Appraisal forms.

  • Competencies provide a level playing field, a common thread for all employees. If everyone is accountable for the same competencies, we’re all measured with the same stick.
  • Competencies allow organizations to pull meaningful reports, comparing things like departmental performance, individual performance, or organizational strengths. With common threads, data can be cross-compared.
  • Competencies can be used to differentiate positions. Use a set of common competencies for everyone, then add one or two to differentiate specific positions.
  • Competencies provide a way out. Have an employee and a job that aren’t making a match? When compared against others, competencies can reveal the mismatch.

In our experience, we’d humbly suggest keeping the quantity of competencies to a minimum, though. We recommend 5 competencies on a form, or fewer. Choose “big idea” competencies, like communication, for example. Or, teamwork. This way, the competency covers a large umbrella or performance, and it’s easier to have fewer on a form. Fewer competencies also means less rater fatigue (when a rater hurriedly rates an Appraisal because he/she is tired of the task.)

Some of the most popular competencies we’re seen are: communication, teamwork, work quality.

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