What’s The Difference Between Competencies, Skills And Behaviours

Jan 24, 2023 | Performance Management Discussion

competencies vs skills vs behaviours

You’ve likely been asked – Whats the difference between a competency and behaviour? Or what’s the difference between skills and behaviours? If you’re confused, you are not alone. It’s a subject that comes up regularly.

Effective employee management is essential to the success of any business. Implementing a continuous performance development process in your organisation can improve dialogue between management and employees, boost morale and increase retention rates.

Employee performance management is a multi-faceted process and requires a comprehensive review of an individual’s skills, competencies and behaviours. However, what do each of these three factors actually mean, and what are the differences? We thought we would take a closer look…


What are competencies?

Competencies are a set of qualities that an employee possesses which helps them successfully perform in their role. They combine skills and behaviour with aptitude, knowledge, beliefs and actions. When incorporating it into an employee performance management process, competencies can be broken down into three main categories:

1) Behavioural

This refers to the overall personality and behavioural traits that an employee possesses. These traits help to establish how employees complete their tasks and fit into the company and engage with their peers.

2) Knowledge

A knowledge competency refers to an employee’s overall understanding of the tasks and specific role or job description. It can also include general knowledge outside of the specific role, such as the use of IT systems, machines, and equipment.

3) Leadership

The final competency to review is employees’ leadership qualities and how well they can motivate and engage their peers.



What are skills?

While competencies explore the overall persona of an employee, the skills section of an employee management performance programme reviews their abilities to undertake the job role. This includes their education, previous work experience, on-the-job learning and further certification or courses they have undertaken.

Although skills and competencies are similar in that they help to identify the various abilities that employees have been able to acquire through their experience and training, they do have key differences. In the simplest term, skills inform employers of the talents that an employee has in relation to performing a specific task or activity, but they do not inform how they will be able to undertake them or their ability to fit into the workforce.


What are behaviours?

Employee behaviour refers to how individuals engage with work and how they react to particular situations. Many things can impact an individual’s behaviour, from your company’s culture to personal circumstances, so it is important to keep these considerations in mind when reviewing behaviour as part of your employee performance management programme.

Behaviours cover a wide array of areas, including things such as:

  • Adaptability: How well does the employee adapt to changing situations and roles?
  • Honesty and integrity: Is the employee honest and reliable?
  • Teamwork: Is the employee a good team player, and can they work well with others?
  • Willingness to improve:Are they willing to push themselves and develop new skills?
  • Dependability: Can you rely on the employee to be called upon in a crisis? Are they able to work without supervision?


The importance of combining Competencies, Skills and Behaviours

Although they might seem similar on the surface, when you look deeper into those skills, behaviours, and competencies are all different and play a vital role when it comes to employee performance management.


We hope that helps you tell what’s the difference between Behaviours, Competencies and Skills! Why not put them into practice by creating a competencies framework.

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So if you’re choosing employee performance management software for your organisation, you’ll be please to hear that PerformanceHub ticks all the boxes!


Here at Cogendo, our mission is to help your organisation and everyone in it to perform at their best. We will support you every step of the way, allowing you to save time, boost performance and continuously develop your business.

Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team today!


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