Are you trying to work out how to rate competencies as part of your employee performance process? In this post, we outline 2 different competency rating methods and leave it to you to decide which is best – Spoiler it’s method 2 😉
As a side-note, the strategies work equally well for rating behaviours or behavioural competencies too.
So, if you are about to start the daunting task of creating a competency framework for your organisation, we think you will find this post extremely useful.
First – What is a competency?
Before we get stuck in, let’s just align our thinking here and outline what a competency is in performance management terms. Think of competencies as an employee’s strengths in the workplace, a combination of their skills, knowledge, and attitudes. These competencies, varying from one individual to another, are good indicators of future success at work.
You might already be evaluating these competencies without noticing it. For instance, when hiring, you list desired skills like customer service or analytical abilities. That’s essentially identifying necessary behavioural competencies required for the role.
These competencies differ in importance across roles. For example, great phone skills might be crucial for sales consultants, while strong organisational skills are more important for personal assistants.
Often, when creating a competencies framework, you would create a set of core competencies (used by most if not all roles). Then define a set of specific competencies for specific roles.
I’ve used “Communication” as my example competency below, but there are many types. Here are some examples:
Technical Competencies Examples:
- Financial Management: The ability to understand and utilise financial data effectively, particularly in budgeting and financial planning.
- Information Technology (IT) Proficiency: Competence in using software, hardware, and other technological tools relevant to the job description.
- Data Analysis: The ability to gather, analyse, and draw meaningful conclusions from data.
- Project Management: The ability to plan, organise, and oversee projects efficiently and effectively.
- Industry Knowledge: Understanding of the industry, including trends, technologies, and key challenges.
Behavioural Competencies Examples:
- Communication Skills: The ability to convey information clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Teamwork: The ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve common goals.
- Problem-Solving: The ability to identify, analyse, and find solutions to problems.
- Leadership: The ability to guide, motivate, and inspire others, fostering a positive and productive work environment.
- Emotional Intelligence: The ability to recognise, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.
Each role will require a unique mix of these and other competencies, depending on its role’s specific requirements and tasks.
Measuring these competencies can be challenging, especially for small businesses, as they’re less tangible than targets. However, they’re vital for effective workforce planning, recruitment, and training, helping to shape successful team members.
Method 1 – Simple Met/Not Met measures
Let’s say you define a competency such as “Communication Skills”. You might describe that competency in full, then have a simple rating scheme. Something like Exceeded, Met and Not Met. Here’s what it might look like in PerformanceHub.
This is fine in many cases, but what if the description needs to be different depending on the level of the person in the organisation? For instance, the description might be a lot more involved for a senior manager vs a new graduate.
If you do, you will now have to define that same competency multiple times and then apply the right ‘level’ of competency to the individual.
Again, this might be OK, if there are not too many levels or competencies needed, but it soon gets out of hand. Plus, you’ll be missing out on some great analytical data – see the next method.
Method 2 – Descriptive Measures
A better way would be to define the competency once for all levels, and weave the expected behaviours for each level of seniority into the ratings themselves.
For example, you would give the competency a title “Communication Skills” and then a brief, general description (rather than the more detailed one above) followed by the detailed ratings, like this:
As you can see, the expected performance levels build. Now, you set the expected performance level for each level of seniority. For example, a Graduate might be “Foundation” an Exec “Advanced” and a Senior Exec “Influencer”.
Doing things this way has a number of advantages:
- You define the competency once, and use the same one everywhere
- Employees can see what they would need to do in order to ‘move up the scale’ as the description is right there in front of them
- Managers choose better ratings because it’s a lot more descriptive as to which one should be chosen
- In reports, you know exactly how far off people are from targets, unlike Method 1 where you don’t know if “Exceeding” on a competency at one level is the same as Meeting it at the next level up.
So there you go, our take on the best way to rate an employee’s competencies or behaviours. Get in touch to let us know what you think.
If you want to learn more about PerformanceHub and how it can help you with your employee performance, then check out PerformanceHub’s features.