Setting Performance Standards Using Competencies

By: Developing People

However, it is also important to set expectations about how job responsibilities should be discharged and targets delivered as it is unacceptable for staff to deliver these at 'any cost'.

Setting behavioural expectations or 'competencies' are an intrinsic part of managing the performance managers and staff. By setting these expectations the business clearly communicates how managers and staff should behave on a day to day basis. Competencies can be set around a range of different areas such as:

&bull Leadership
&bull Team working
&bull Developing people
&bull Communication
&bull Ownership
&bull Improving results
&bull Customer focus
&bull Diversity.

In addition, competencies can have different 'levels' that set expectations for different hierarchy of management responsibility within an organisation. For example, an organisation may wish to set three different levels of competence that apply to:

&bull Front line managers and team leaders.
&bull Department managers and functional heads.
&bull Senior managers and directors.

To help to communicate competencies clearly, they can be set in terms of what's not expected as well as what is expected. As an illustration the following statements are from a competency describing effective team working:

We expect you to:
&bull Promote tolerance and respect.
&bull Take time to understand others cultural norms, perspectives and rules.
&bull Work effectively across countries and cultures.
&bull Develop and maintain effective internal and external working relationships.

We don't expect you to:
&bull Ignore cultural norms, values and approaches.
&bull Take a narrow personal view.
&bull Stereotype the views and contributions of others.
&bull Put others down.

By defining the competencies likely to produce success in a particular role, the organisation clearly communicates the standards that are expected for successful performance within the business. In addition, competencies provide a means of objectively assessing an individual's strengths and weaknesses and as such form the basis of personal development.

Human Resources
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