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How Employee Core Competencies Can Improve Your Organization

By Onyeka Ndukwe on June, 10 2020
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Onyeka Ndukwe

Do you desire to improve the current state of your organization or company? It starts with investing in your most valuable resource: your employees!

This blog post will show you how utilizing employee core competencies can help improve your organization and what it looks like to embark on this type of project.

In a hurry? Jump straight to your section of interest by clicking on a link (see below).

Article table of contents (jump to a section):

1. Core Competencies Definition
2. What Are Employee Core Competencies?
3. Employee Core Competencies Examples
4. Implementation of Employee Core Competencies (Case Study)
5. Next Steps


Core Competencies Definition

To properly define core competencies, we must first start by answering this question: what are competencies?



Competencies help pinpoint the visible behaviors that successful performers demonstrate while working on any given job. These behaviors are the result of various skills, motivations, abilities, traits and knowledge an employee may possess.

In the context of an organization, core competencies represent critical behaviors required by every employee to enable a company to achieve its vision, mandate and business objectives/goals.


What Are Employee Core Competencies?

Employee core competencies are specific competencies that help identify the key strengths and values shared by every worker in an organization (regardless of their job).

The core competencies of an organization can help define its mission and vision in measurable employee behaviors as applying these competencies to its workforce can have positive impact on its employee morale as well as profitability.

A forward-thinking organization can hire the right candidates based on its own core competencies by conducting competency-based interviews during which a candidate is asked a series of behavioral interview questions (pertaining to a company’s core competencies).

By asking the right behavioral interview questions, you can better identify the behavioral indicators of your core competencies. It can help an interviewer select the candidate who best indicates their alignment with the core competencies for a job position.

Want to learn more about using core competencies? 

Fill out the form below to access our Core Competencies Toolkit today!


Employee Core Competencies Examples

Here are several examples of core competencies which can be applied to employees:

  • Client Focus can be a core competency for an organization that is invested in superb client or customer service. A bank or retail store are great examples of businesses that could have Client Focus as an employee core competency.
  • Teamwork can be a core competency for an organization that is heavily invested in collaboration between employees or departments for its various projects. A consulting firm or manufacturing plant are great examples of businesses that could have Teamwork as an employee core competency.
  • Safety can be a core competency for an organization that requires the highest safety standards due to the industry they operate in. A civil engineering firm or construction company are great examples of organizations that could have Safety as an employee core competency.
  • Fostering Communication can be a core competency for an organization that is focused on diffusing information to a large audience in a professional manner. A marketing agency or post-secondary institution are great examples of businesses that could have Fostering Communication as an employee core competency.


Implementation of Employee Core Competencies (Case Study)

This case study shows how the implementation of employee core competencies helped a manufacturing organization with redefining its values & goals.


Industry: Manufacturing (Aircraft products and services)

Company Size: 5,400 employees


Redefining the Road to Success (The Challenge)

After emerging from bankruptcy, this airline manufacturer developed new values and a new mission statement but needed to help its employees both understand these values and link them to their on-the-job individual performance.

The company saw that core competencies (as an end-to-end talent management tool) would be of tremendous help with bringing alignment between employee on-the-job behaviors and the company’s objectives. Unfortunately, their HR team hit a roadblock after several months of research and needed the right competency development expertise to refine and identify the best competencies to connect employee behaviors to organizational goals.


Application of Validated, Strategic Core Competencies (The Solution)

HRSG’s core competency package helped this airline manufacturer to identify core competencies capable of identifying the individual behaviors that led to success and clearly defining the company culture. This package included quality guides, tools and one-on-one consulting support with a dedicated HRSG consultant to help align organizational and personal success for the organization.

After reviewing the company’s values, mission statement and other corporate materials, HRSG selected a short list of competencies that matched the airline manufacturer’s goals and culture. In addition, the HRSG consultant provided step-by-step guidance to help the company engage its management and employees in the selection and validation process.


The Emergence of a Stronger Company Culture (The Results)

With expert guidance from HRSG, the company was able to embark on an internal process which engaged stakeholders such as employees and management. Round-table sessions for managers and executives were complemented by an employee survey that gathered and synthesized input from nearly 1,000 people across the organization.

Here are some of the benefits which resulted from involving stakeholders in this process:

  • Unified vision due to having a set of core competencies that properly reflect company culture and purpose.
  • Increased organizational buy-in
  • Enhanced morale

The company is now in the process of actively promoting their core competencies internally and externally with a series of promotional campaigns which include print advertising (on posters, desk calendars, warehouse flooring, vehicles, and more).



Next Steps

Having the right employee core competencies can aid in alignment between your organizational goals and the performance of your workforce.

A meta-analysis of competency-based talent management practices recorded a median 63% reduction in turnover, 19% improvement in employee performance, and 12.5% increase in sales and profits.

When it comes to employee core competencies, application and proper investment are the key differentiators which can lead to your company’s future success.

Before you go, here are 2 critical questions to ponder:

  • What are the employee core competencies at your organization?
  • How confident are you in the strength of your organization’s employee core competencies?


Post last updated: June 10, 2020.