Become a WhatWorks® Member and gain access to all research resources.
See our Membership FAQs
“Functional competencies” are job-specific competencies that drive proven high-performance, quality results for a given position. They are often technical or operational in nature (e.g., “backing up an Oracle database” is a functional competency).
Competencies are used in human resources in a variety of ways: they describe the traits and skills and behaviors for a job role, they are used to establish performance and development criteria for performance management, they are used in the assessment of candidates for a position, and they are used in the assessment of people for leadership and new roles.
Our research shows that best-practices in competency management involve four categories of competencies: company values (core principles) which apply everyone, broad general competencies which apply to the entire company (e.g. communications, integrity, etc), leadership competencies (characteristics and skills we expect of leaders in our organization), and functional competencies (job-specific skills which are very different from role to role). Each of these four types of competencies is used for candidate assessment, evaluation, coaching, development, and assessment of potential.
Our research also shows that "building a global competency model" is often a poor way to implement competency management. Competencies can be used for assessment, hiring, training, leadership development, succession, and many other important purposes. Organizations should develop competency models with the end goal in mind. For more information, tools, and case studies visit the Bersin research library.