What’s the Difference Between Core Values and Core Competencies?

So, you have company values in place. But not everyone seems to know what these values mean. You struggle with finding a way to reinforce them. You have heard that core competencies may be able to help with that. But what are these exactly and how are they different from core values?

Let’s explore the key differences between core values and core competencies and how core competencies can help bring your company’s values to life!

Core Values: What are They?

Core Values or Company Values describe the company’s beliefs, principles, and their philosophy or the “why” behind these values.

They describe your company’s ethical standards or what you stand for.

They support your mission statement (what you do) and your vision (what you hope to be).

Some Examples of Core Values:

  • Act with Integrity: We always act honestly and with integrity and place ourselves in each other’s shoes.
  • Customer First: We place the customer first in everything that we do!


Core Competencies: What are They?

Core competencies describe the company’s vision, mission, and values in terms of the key behaviours needed for successful performance.

They describe the “how” people need to behave for the company’s culture to thrive.

Core competencies:

  • Apply to every job within the company.
  • Describe what successful behaviours looks like across your entire company, from entry-level positions to higher-level positions.
  • Link employee performance to the goals of the company.


Core Values Versus Core Competencies: A Side-by-side Comparison

Core Values Versus Core Competencies

Core Competencies in Action: An Example of Core Competencies

Imagine one of your company values is “Putting the Customer First.” You can map this value to a core competency – Customer Centric.

This core competency would include specific, measurable, and observable behaviours of what “Putting the Customer First” looks like across the entire company and across different roles.

Example Core Competency

What can you do with these Core Competencies?

You can use core competencies in all your HR processes, from hiring to onboarding to learning and performance.

You can assess job candidates and even 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.

Don’t wait, make your company values clear and measurable today using core competencies!


Learn how to add competencies to your talent management programs in only easy 4 steps!