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Exploit the potential of the competency database in the job description and yearly assessments of your employees

In the article below we gave gathered the knowledge about efficiently keeping the record of employee competencies. You will learn how can your employee acquire and develop competencies, and how can you keep the record of the changes, so that they can be used to your benefit in the future. A properly created competency database will allow you to easily carry out the yearly assessment and identify promising talents.

What are competencies?

Competencies are a set of abilities that consists of three elements:

  1. Mastered knowledge from a specific area (“I know what”)
  2. Skills (“I know how and I can”)
  3. Attitude (“I want to and I’m willing to make use of my knowledge”)

In everyday life your employees gain new competencies and use those acquired earlier.

Competencies are not set and stable. They change with experience and professional development of the employee. You can’t determine once and for all if one person does possess a certain competency or not. The matter is further complicated by the fact that their measurement is a complex process which is mostly done with the use of a scale. In this process each competency is described on a set amount of levels (for example on a scale from 1 to 10, or 1 to 5, etc.).

For the employee competencies to be comparable, the requirements for every level on the scale need to be described in great detail.

Competencies and their breakdown

There is no universal list of competencies. Because of that the specialists create different kinds of breakdowns and sets.

We would like to propose a breakdown by the employee development path: manager and expert.


Development paths

In the beginning of the path each employee has to acquire basic knowledge about his profession, the company and its surroundings.


Basic knowladge

After acquiring the basics the employee development happens in one of the two directions – in the management path or the expert path. But not always does the employee have to make a choice – sometimes an employee can gather competencies from both paths at once.

Managment path


Management path

After acquiring basic knowledge the employee gathers competencies which help him work as a manager of the team. By developing them he will become an experienced manager, then talented manager and finally, achieving success and the highest level of competences, becomes a leader.

Presenting the manager competency development in the form of a pyramid was first proposed by F. John Reh. He divided it into four levels – each of it represented competencies that an employee acquires in a particular moment of his development.


Competencies on the manager path

Expert path

The development of the expert competencies is related to a thorough development of the technical knowledge and a specific type of skills needed for the self-development.


Competencies on the expert path

Measuring and recording employee competencies

The record and measurement of the competencies are done in the competency database. You will find such a base in the system, prepared by our company.

Creating the competency database

The first step would be creating a list of competences desired by the company. Elements picked from this list will help the employees create lists of their own companies, and HR department will be able to create descriptions of particular positions.

Next the company should determine the way of measurement. We should remember that it will happen with the use of the scale. So it’s a matter of determining the amount of levels and their names. An example would be a scale that has levels from 0 to 5, where 0 is no competence at all and 5 is an extremely well acquired competence.

With the list and a way of measurement, each employee should prepare his own sheet, picking competences from the list prepared for the whole company, then he should pick a level for each of them.

Like we said in the beginning, competencies are not set, which is why a yearly update of the competence level among the employees should be implemented.

Endorsing competencies by other employees

A vital element in the assessment system is endorsing. It allows an employee to acquire a confirmation from another person, who used to work or currently works with a particular employee, that the competency he listed and rated is valid and acknowledged.

The more endorsements an employee gets, the more reliable is the competency and its rating.

Using the competency database during the yearly assessment.

Competencies are subject to constant change. On one hand, an employee is learning and acquiring new ones, on the other hand, by not using particular competencies we might lose them. These dynamic changes, registered in the system, will allow to enhance the yearly assessment of the employees.

This system allows to easily depict all the changes in competencies of the chosen employee in relation to the last yearly assessment. These information are also a valuable way of supporting the development assessment, and, by the shown support, cooperation and the use of particular competencies by a specific employee during tasks requiring teamwork.

Using the competency database for job descriptions

The first step would be preparing a list of job positions with the desired competencies. By doing this in the proper way we make the process of looking for the right candidate easier and more efficient.

The search can happen inside the company, among the employees who are already in the competency database, or in the process of outside recruitment.

Using the system allows us to determine, in a mathematical way, how much does our candidate fulfill our expectations (in a percentage from 0% to 100%).

Using the competency database in the process of searching for individuals with unique competencies.

While looking for a person for a job vacancy in the company we might start by going through an existing competency database. We can start by filtering out the employees that interest us (for example only assistants or only the accounting department).

The more unique the competencies needed for the job position are, the more unique the search results for the particular candidate should be.

Using the competency database for identifying talented individuals

The competency database supports the process of identifying talented individuals in the company. We can support it in the system by identifying people who:

– get exceptional support,

– have unique, outstanding competencies

– strive for growth and constantly work on expanding the desirable and valuable competencies.

Creating a competency database doesn’t have to be hard, and it has multidimensional profits – both for the owner of the company and for the employees. A motivational endorsement system will cause the employees to want to reinforce their strengths, and a convenient database will allow the employer to have control over the development of its employees. If used properly, this tool can prove to be very useful.