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Using Core Competencies to Define your Organizational Values

Too often, organizations have vision and value statements that sound nice but have no real meaning. For example, “We value team spirit” or “We put the client first” or “Integrity above all else.” What do these statements mean exactly? How do I know if I am acting with integrity or promoting team spirit? What does that look like?

Fortunately, core competencies can be a way to bring your organizational values to life, give them meaning, and make them observable and measurable. Core competencies refer to those competencies that apply to every job within the organization and are often linked to the vision and/or values of the organization. For example, if being innovative and creative is a critical value of the organization, Innovation may be a core competency that is essential for every role and would be found in each competency profile across the organization.

These core competencies would include specific and measurable example behaviours that highlight what successful performance looks like from more entry-level positions up to higher-level positions. Click here to see an example of our 4-level competencies.

How to select core competencies that map onto your organizational values?

Option 1: If you have values in place already, you can map those values to pre-existing competencies (like the ones we have here).
Option 2: If you do not have values in place already, you can consult with senior management to identify what the 2-3 most critical competencies are for all employees within the organization to possess.

What do we do with these core competencies?

After your core competencies are defined you can start applying them to all your HR processes, including hiring, onboarding, performance management, learning and development, career pathing, and succession planning. For example, you can assess job applicants against the core competencies to ensure that applicants can demonstrate the critical behaviours that align with the organization’s vision and values. You can also assess current employees against the core competencies to ensure that they possess the skills or competencies that help to define your company’s unique culture as well as those skills that help to differentiate your company from all the rest.