What is Competency? Meaning and Definition

Competency refers to having the required skills, knowledge, and capabilities to do a particular job or task well. It is about being competent and effective in what you can do. Competence means that you can be able to handle the tasks and requirements of a job or situation. It covers knowing what needs to be done, having the necessary skills, and using the skills appropriately. Competency is key in many spheres of life and work.


Competencies can be broadly categorized into 

1. Technical Competencies:

Technical competencies are the specific skills and expertise that are needed to perform excellently in a certain job or field. They include the development of the technical skills that enable one to handle them efficiently. It’s like having a toolbox with all the specialized abilities you need for your job, whether it’s repairing machines, programming software, or doing science experiments. These skills guarantee you can handle the technical issues of the job helping you achieve success in your profession.

2. Behavioral Competencies:

Behavioural competencies, or soft skills or interpersonal skills, are all about how you relate to others, communicate, solve problems, and understand emotions. It’s like being skilled in teamwork, active listening, and conflict handling. These skills enable you to work well with people, whether it’s cooperating on a project, resolving conflicts, or building good relationships. Behavioural competencies are key to success in both personal and professional life.

Competencies are an important aspect of recruitment, performance appraisals, and staff training. They assist in identifying the right person for a job, tracking the progress, and identifying the areas for improvement. They also play a key role in personal and professional development. In the long run, people can augment their abilities and competencies, thus becoming more efficient in their work. Whether it is career advancement or personal enrichment, constant growth of competencies is a success factor for various aspects of life.


What are Competency Management Strategies?

 1. Competency Mapping:

The process of competency mapping involves identifying the key competencies that are required to carry out each job role in the organization. This is generally done by performing job analysis which allows determining the tasks, responsibilities, and skills necessary for each position. Once the key competencies are determined, they are matched with the corresponding job titles to ensure that employees have the right skills and characteristics that are needed for them to be effective. This alignment helps with the hiring process, performance evaluation, and career development by defining the required skills for different positions.

2. Competency Assessment:

The assessment of competency is a process of measuring the existing skills and abilities of employees in comparison to the competencies required for their roles. This appraisal can be done through different methods like self-assessment, peer assessment, manager’s assessment, or competency-based interviews. Through the identification of the strengths and the areas of improvement, organizations can design customized training and development programs to increase employee skills. Competence assessments are also used as bases for performance evaluations and the development of succession planning for career advancements.

3. Customized Learning Paths:

After the competency assessments are done, organizations can develop individual learning paths or development plans that are tailored to the needs of the employees based on their competency profiles. These plans map out the specific training, learning exercises, and development opportunities that are designed for each individual to suit their strengths, weaknesses, and career goals. Through the creation of personalized development plans, organizations can guarantee that their employees get learning experiences that are relevant and targeted to them thus acquiring the necessary skills and competencies to perform better in their jobs.

4. Regular Revisions:

Competency models should be subject to regular review and revision to make sure they stay in line with the dynamic needs of the business. This implies carrying out regular evaluations of existing competencies, identifying emerging skills, and making adjustments accordingly to address technological changes, industry trends, or organizational objectives. Organizations can stay ahead of the curve by keeping the competency model current so that employees are well-positioned with the current and sought-after skills that will contribute to business success.


How is competency assessed or verified?

Competency assessment or verification is the process of evaluating a person’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviours to determine their proficiency in certain topics or tasks. Here are five common methods used to assess or verify competency:

  1. Observation and Performance Evaluation: Supervisors or assessors watch people performing their work in real or simulated situations to see how competent they are. This can involve tasks, projects, or role-plays that assess particular skills and behaviours required for the job.
  2. Skill-Based Assessments: People could be required to accomplish practical assessments or tests to prove they are capable of doing some skills or tasks that are connected to their role. These assessments can be in the form of hands-on activities, written exams, or computer-based simulations.
  3. Self-Assessment and Reflection: The standardized procedures ask the individuals to self-evaluate their own competencies according to predefined criteria or standards. This may be through filling in competency-based questionnaires, self-reflection, and areas of improvement based on one’s insights.
  4. Peer Reviews and Feedback: Colleagues, peers, and team members give feedback about an individual’s performance and behaviour as they relate to specific competencies. This can be done through informal chats, 360-degree surveys, or structured feedback sessions.
  5. Formal Qualifications and Certifications: Competency can be measured through the academic qualifications, certifications, or licenses that are achieved through education, training, or professional development programs. These qualifications are the proof of one’s expertise in a certain sphere and might be needed or acknowledged by the industry standards or regulatory bodies.

Through the application of these methods, organizations can measure and confirm the level of competence of their employees, identify areas that need improvement, and ensure that each person has the requisite skills and abilities to carry out their roles efficiently.

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Core competencies are the unique strengths, capabilities, and skills that set an individual, team, or organization apart from others in their field. These competencies represent the fundamental abilities and expertise that enable superior performance and competitive advantage. They are essential for achieving strategic objectives and fulfilling key responsibilities within a specific role or industry. Core competencies are often aligned with the organization’s mission, vision, and values, and they contribute significantly to its success and effectiveness in the marketplace.

Communication competence refers to the ability to effectively convey and understand messages in various interpersonal, group, and organizational contexts. It involves having the skills to articulate thoughts clearly, listen actively, and adapt communication style to suit different situations and audiences. Communication competence enables individuals to build rapport, resolve conflicts, and achieve desired outcomes in interactions with others. It encompasses both verbal and nonverbal communication skills, as well as the ability to interpret social cues and respond appropriately. Overall, communication competence is essential for successful relationships, teamwork, and professional growth.


A competency framework is a structured approach used by organizations to define and outline the key skills, behaviors, and attributes required for success in various roles within the organization. It provides a clear and standardized framework for assessing and developing the competencies of employees. A competency framework typically includes a set of core competencies that are essential across the organization, as well as role-specific competencies that are tailored to individual job roles or functions. This framework serves as a reference guide for recruitment, performance management, training, and career development initiatives, helping to ensure alignment between employee skills and organizational goals.


A competency matrix is a visual tool used to assess and track the skills and competencies of individuals or teams within an organization. It typically consists of a grid or table that lists specific competencies or skills required for a job role or project, along with proficiency levels or ratings for each competency. Employees or team members are then evaluated against these competencies, usually using a rating scale or scoring system. Competency matrices help organizations identify skill gaps, plan training and development activities, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions about recruitment, promotion, and project assignments.