• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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Competence and competencies (2)

Competence and competencies (2)

Congratulations if you are a worker. To be gainfully employed is not “puff puff” as my children say. I would just like to advice that you take your job seriously. Many workers are working hard but are not developing themselves enough. Mediocrity is rife and employers are really stumped (that is completely unsure of how to proceed).

Many workers think just showing up at work is the work. They cannot seem to be able to correlate their roles with the final output from their organisation and then with their remuneration. They want to earn a lot because they see some people earning a lot, without putting in the sweat, blood and tears it requires.

Clearly I am sure you know when I say some and many, I am not at all referring to the majority of the Nigerian workforce. I think most of our workforce rock. Therefore, whether you rock I celebrate all workers because even the not so good worker is a worker and has the latitude to improve.

Competence and competencies mean different things in the workplace. We highlighted those differences in my last week. Even though the terms sound similar, they are different, they both matter, and fail without the other.

Competencies fall into three main categories: Core, Cross-functional and Functional. All are important, but there is a hierarchy.

Core competencies are at the top of the hierarchy and are considered mandatory. They align with and are central to an organization’s ability to achieve its strategic intent — that is, those functional areas that, in the company’s mind, create competitive advantage when executed properly.

They include such things as decision-making skills, team effectiveness, individual reliability, motivation and commitment to task, adaptability and flexibility, demonstration of the skills required to solve complex problems, individual integrity, excellent written and verbal communication skills, initiative (sometimes called bias for action) and true grit — that is, the demonstration of perseverance required to achieve a desired goal.

Generally speaking, all employees in the organization should demonstrate these competencies. In fact, many HR organizations rely on them as indicators of employee “fit” when selecting individuals for onboarding.

Cross-functional competencies are useful across a broad matrix of organizations and organizational silos. They support the organization’s ability to reduce or eliminate silo thinking and silo management practices. Instead, they ensure such valuable qualities within the organization spread through knowledge-sharing across organizational entities.

Cross-functional competencies include financial acumen, demonstrable computer application skills, market awareness and enhanced research skills, among many others.

Functional competencies, sometimes called technical competencies, define the specific skills that professionals in a given field or position require on a daily basis. They are job-specific and relatively easy to identify in terms of the elements of success they require.

Examples include sales acumen, negotiation skills, risk assessment skills, platform skills for trainers/educators, the ability to code efficiently in a given programming language, the ability to perform and interpret the results of data analytics, financial analysis, knowledge of the tax code, engineering skills, language proficiency and so on.

These are the competencies that drive results and performance.

Read also: The impact of leadership style on workplace trauma

Two authors once put it succinctly that “Competencies owned and nurtured by a company represent its critical resource and competitive advantage, and the company should create a portfolio of services that contribute to and extract value from those competencies.”

When hiring for a position within the organization, hiring managers should think beyond the functional competencies required for the individual to succeed at the job for which they are to be hired.

These days when going into universities, the school authorities like to see straight As but they also want to see extra-curricular activities because that is where you start building all these competencies.

This also should help us in deciding what schools and what activities you should be ensuring your children get into. Please do not solely focus on Maths and English. Sports Chess, musical instruments, mountain schools, summer schools and such like.

By considering the value of cross-functional and core competencies, new employees succeed at their career with the organization and are seen as human capital (an asset to be developed and nurtured) rather than a human resource (an asset to be consumed).

Human capital is finally coming into its own. A place where they are recognised as a force to reckon with. If you work in a place where you are not appreciated, let someone that can make decisions know about it. If nothing happens to improve the situation, it is time to leave for greener pastures.

Have a great weekend. TGIF