How should businesses assess the performance of their employees? Should they rely solely on the existing skills of their employees? Should they base their performance assessments on the tasks they finished and the goals they met? Employee competency assessments stood the test of time because they are reliable. They work. But many organizations don’t understand what employee competency means and how they also play a role in developing these core competencies among their employees.
When you talk about employee competency, it does not refer to the skills that the employees came with when they first got hired. It’s not about a specific skill, knowledge, or qualification. Competency refers to the sum of all these things—hard and soft skills, academic qualifications, attitudes, traits, behaviors, and expertise in a specific field. Examples of competency are integrity, focus, goal-oriented, technical ability, and more.
In a nutshell, it is not about if the employees completed their tasks. It’s about how they did it. It’s about how they used their combination of knowledge, skills, and attitude to help the company fulfill its mission. Often, competency is misconstrued to mean skills development or the ability of employees to apply themselves to their tasks.
This does not give competency a clear picture. Rather, you will say an employee is competent when applying the knowledge and skills on a given task while also collaborating with their co-workers.
The Role of Organizations in Developing These Competencies
Employees will not walk into your office armed with everything you need them to have. Many of them will develop their skills and improve their knowledge while employed with you. The organization is as responsible for these developments as the person who will benefit from them. After all, companies need competent employees to bring them to success. A good staff will keep your business afloat during hard times, but a great staff will help your business be the best even amid turbulent situations.
In exchange, companies must invest in their workers. In Singapore, employees are allowed to enroll in and pursue SSG-funded courses to upgrade their skills or for them to learn new ones that will be beneficial for the organization. These courses are designed mostly for mid-career workers who need advanced or extra skills to take another step in the corporate ladder.
But What Should Be the Focus of Competency Development?
Many people have a misconception of what skills to develop when they are working. They also lose sight of the real goals. While money is always a motivating factor, millennials, which composed the majority of the workforce right now, are into more important things such as work-life balance and wellness. They want their jobs to be meaningful. Organizations will do well in mixing this new demand into their programs and training that aim to develop their employees’ core competencies.
When reskilling and upskilling people, it’s not just about giving them the tools to do something. It’s about developing those skills in a specific way toward a direction that will be beneficial for the employee and the company. This is why it is important to integrate things that the employees value. If a work-life balance is important to them, then take that into consideration. If their driving force is monetary compensation, then that should be in the mix, too.
There are two ways to develop competencies. Both of these are extremely important to the employees and organizations they work for. The first one is improving the existing competencies, which involves changing attitudes, gaining knowledge, and targeting weaknesses with workshops. The second one is adding new competencies, which refers to continuous learning and the openness of the employees to new challenges.
What Do Organizations Get from Developing Employee Competency?
The first one has to do with reaching the goals of the organization. You will meet candidates with particular skills that you believe will work for the company. Once they are working with you, that’s when you realize they don’t know how to apply these skills. That is what development is for. You are going to help align these skills to meet the objectives of the company.
The second one will also be beneficial for the organization. When employees realize that the management cares about developing their existing skills and arming them with additional ones, they will feel more involved. As a result, they are more likely to stay with your company. They are also going to be more productive.
Employers are responsible for the development of their employees. You need to help them through seminars, conferences, and workshops. Investing in your people does well for the company in the short and long term.