How leadership and functional competencies grow your business

'Competencies’ or ‘Capabilities’ may seem like business buzz words to some, but if developed correctly, they really do have a positive impact on employees and the organisation as they communicate to employees what is expected of them and enables a line manager to benchmark their performance against it.

A ‘competency framework’ is a structure that sets out and defines each individual competency required by individuals working in an organisation. It should enhance how effectively an organisation operates and interacts and manages its employees to their full potential. Enabling individuals and Line Managers to have a clearer definition of the behaviours (the how) needed to successfully deliver the objectives (the what).

There is a clear distinction between leadership and functional competencies, but both have a vital role to play within the framework. Leadership competencies are universal to all employees, regardless of the function or the level you work at. You don’t have to be senior or a Line Manager to demonstrate leadership competencies. They should reflect the behaviours and skills that individuals should want to aspire to and should link to the overall company vision and values.

Functional competencies Are specific to those within a function, such as sales, finance or marketing etc. Functional competencies should reflect the requirement of the roles within the function and specific skills and behaviours required to do the role. These competencies should link to the overall department strategy or vision. You can also map expected levels of competency by role, recognising the required capabilities for the specific role, rather than the level of seniority.

Understanding these competencies enables and empowers individuals to lead and do their job more successfully. It also provides a common language for employees to engage with and understand across the business, regardless if they move from function to function.

By defining the competencies and what level is expected by role, you can then develop more accurate job descriptions. These should not simply outline the job title, salary and overview of the role, but also the key responsibilities and objectives of the role and how these fit within the overall organisation and detail the competencies that are required to the do the role; demonstrating to your employees the behaviours, values and functional capabilities that is expected of them to be successful within a specific role.

Dedicating some time to develop job descriptions and competencies gives clarity for everyone involved, not to mention reassurances. If you don’t tell employees what you’re looking for, how are they supposed to know? Not only can your team members work more effectively and achieve their potential, but there are also many business benefits to be had such as enabling you to recruit and select staff more effectively as you know exactly what is required to do the role, as do those applying.

It also makes it easier to evaluate performance and identify skills and competency gaps more efficiently. Specific actionable training plans can then be developed to address those gaps. As a team manager you can also succession plan effectively as you know the specific requirements for a role and identify potential candidates who have the skills and behaviours for it.

Regardless of your organisation structure or size, providing potential employees and existing employees with their role requirements and competencies really does benefit them, you and the business. Once in place, be sure to review them on-going and ensure they are still accurate and relevant, job requirements evolve as your business evolves. If there is a need to change some fundamental aspects of a job description, to avoid any issues with contracted roles, liaise with your HR or legal support.

We can help you develop job descriptions and competency frameworks to aid you and your teams to release their potential. For more information, contact us
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