Competency models – how to define competencies and required levels of evaluation?

Competencies are one of the first things we look at during the recruitment process.
Recruitment is not the last process in which we assess competences. The analysis of the increase in employee competences during the current employment period in our company is equally important, for example when granting a raise or promotion.

What are soft skills?

Soft or interpersonal, behavioral competences are essential competences that are part of the personality of employees. They may prove necessary to achieve the maximum results of the work performed and may enable the effective operation of employees.

Highly developed soft skills are an indispensable element of recruitment requirements for managerial positions or positions related to human resource management and creativity. Soft skills can also be an element of organizational culture.

The soft competences include, among others:



identification with the company

planning and organization



Soft competences may also have their own indicators according to which a given competence will be assessed. The indicators will help to achieve even better results of employee evaluation.

The library of competences is broad and should be adapted to the actual business needs of the organization – only the skills required and necessary to maintain the business should be assessed.

However, it may be a challenge to assess employees’ soft skills and to define competency models for individual positions.

How to define the competency model and what is it for?

Competency models are created to define the competencies required within the entire organization, but also at the levels of individual roles and positions. Models created in the context of positions allow to distinguish competencies necessary to work in a given role, while company-wide models allow to define competencies required on the scale of the entire organization. Models combined with competency profiles will create transparent requirements for work both in the company and on individual positions and will facilitate the implementation of a uniform system of periodic assessments.

How to assess soft competences?

In order to assess soft skills, tools such as assessment center, development center and periodic assessment systems as well as 360-degree assessment are used. However, a key element may be a rating scale according to which behaviors and attitudes are assessed.

It is worth ensuring that the assessment scale has appropriate descriptions of behaviors for specific indicators or competences. This will help to reliably define employees’ attitudes and assess soft skills. Thanks to the descriptive scale, the employees in question receive valuable feedback on the level of their competences, because the descriptions of behaviors clearly define the attitudes required to obtain individual levels of grades.

How often to assess soft skills?

Each organization has its own assessment policy. There is no recipe for assessing soft skills of employees. There are many approaches, from once a year assessments to quarterly or even monthly assessments.

During the annual assessment programs, it is worth remembering to verify the competency gaps between periods and to avoid the freshness effect – this can have a large impact on the assessment of competencies.

How to support the assessment of employees’ soft skills?

The verification of competency gaps will help supervise the employee’s development and enable a quick reaction to the lack of progress. In addition, it supports the next assessment program, where an objective assessment can be made on the basis of verification.

Recording employee-related events may also be helpful to take into account the overall period for which competencies are assessed when assessing competencies. Events can be both positive and negative.

SkillBox Competence Matrix has a module of the Periodic Employee Assessment System, in which it is possible to create a transparent system for assessing soft competences. The event recording function allows you to record employee-related events in the system in the context of individual competences or indicators, and the possibility of verifying the progress in improving soft skills allows you to supervise the employee’s development. In order to implement the program, catalogs of competences and job groups are made available, thanks to which competency models are created. For each competency model, it is possible to determine whether the competency is required for the assessment for individual job groups, optional for the assessment or not required in the assessment process. Competency profiles, which are created on the basis of job groups, will allow you to define the required competency levels and identify competency gaps and employee potential thanks to the reporting module.

The created programs generate competency assessment questionnaires that can be defined individually for groups of positions. The assessor, while assessing the competences of employees, generates a Competency Matrix, which includes the results of all employee surveys.

In order for the periodic evaluation system to be a comprehensive tool in SkillBox, we enable employee self-evaluation thanks to the My SkillBox module.

Check the possibilities of our Periodic Assessment System!

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