Competencies and the Performance Review

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

May 08

In many companies, goals are not the only ingredient of a performance review. Indeed, what is called “competency” can be the deciding reason in a performance review rating.

Competencies address the job, teamwork, and business skills of the employee. Rather than a goal that needs achievement, a competency is a rating about how well the employee fits the job and the work group. Unlike goals that are measured and noted, competencies are the slippery slope of a performance review. Companies (and some web sites) have even suggested statements about a particular competency that ensures the statement is legal, even if not accurate.

Some classic competency categories include statements on teamwork, your business understanding, and improving your skills. Each company will then add their own specific or unique items that they want you evaluated for the performance review. These could include training, extra projects completed or corporate volunteer work done.

The problem with rating competencies on a performance review is the facts don’t relate to a rating. For a goal, the measurement should drive the rating. But listing five training courses completed at the direction of management translates to a 1 to 5 rating of….? You don’t know.

As a result, competencies are fuzzy math. They say more about your manager’s opinion of you as an employee than concrete facts translating to a rating. That being the case, this condition tells us how to approach what we write for our competencies to get the maximum rating.

What are the competency (non-goal) parts of your performance review? I’ll tackle “teamwork” and “understanding the business” tomorrow – any others?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.