Skip to Content


What are Competencies?

Lead consultant at Test Partnership, Ben Schwencke, explains what competencies are.

grey clock icon 0:56 Quickly understand what competencies mean.

In the context of the workplace, competencies are behaviours, skills, or aptitudes which underpin performance. Sometimes, these competencies are required for performance in specific roles, whereas other competencies are designated at the organisation-level, and is thus required for all employees. For example, in an administrative role, an employer may deem “organisational skills” to be a core competency, requiring all employees to display these behaviours. Additionally, they may deem “Teamworking” to be a core competency at the organisation-level, requiring all employees to show appropriate teamworking skills.

Consequently, organisations often develop “competency frameworks”, which are collections of distinct competencies which collectively underpin performance. Competency frameworks outline the specific behaviours which underpin performance, but also often along standardised levels of performance. For example, graduates could be expected to show an entry level of “organisational skills”, but managers may be required to show a more developed level of organisational skills. Competency frameworks are therefore often accompanied by formal documentation which outlines levels of development and associated behaviours, helping to add structure to the competency framework.

Back to top