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Competency Fit: The Key to Improving Job Performance

Finding talent with the right fit is not enough—you need to define the ‘how’ of the task too. Learn how SHL helps organizations improve job performance through competency fit.

Every organization sets their unique goals that they would want to achieve. To accomplish that, there is a high demand for competent talent that can handle the complexities of different nature. Twenty two percent of potential value from change is lost due to poor strategy and talent alignment. So, the very first step for organizations is to invest in a talent that is not only skilled but is also aligned with the organization's visions and growth objectives. Thus, the burning need is not just to find the right talent and the right ‘fit’. And for that, the ways to define the ‘how’ of the task is crucial to determine a fit and to ensure high job performance.

What summarizes job performance and its prerequisites?

We all know that ability, knowledge, and skills are key components that help establish individuals' performance. But these components capture the traditional job analysis perspective. Knowledge focuses on the specialized information acquired through education. Skills cover the applied behaviors learned through training or practice. Ability showcases the practical skillset that an individual naturally possesses and can be enhanced through training.

Apart from this, there are other characteristics and observable behaviors that touch upon personality, motivation, values, and interests. In his research, Bartram discusses ability and personality being good indicators of job performance. The big 5 personality traits, specifically conscientiousness and emotional stability, play a general role in job performance. Hence, being the building blocks for establishing competency as the main tool for job performance.

How are job performance and competency fit related?

Competencies and job performance are interconnected. While job performance is related to business outcomes and involves the description of tasks, functions, or objectives, competencies relate to the behaviors underpinning successful performance. In order to understand this relationship, competency should be seen as a guide that illustrates the positives of job performance—what good looks like, what the challenges are in the role, what behaviors need to be emulated to overcome them, what distinguishes good from average performance, what is required to for one to go to their next level. It is through analysis of an individual's performance against a measurable, discreet, and manageable set of competencies that can be a successful indicator of their job performance.

It is safe to say that competencies determine whether or not people will acquire new job knowledge and skills, and how they will use that knowledge and skills to enhance their performance in the workplace. Competency frameworks are the foundation of understanding all talent requirements:

  • Behavioral Capabilities: behaviors that are used to achieve outcomes within a specific role or job family

  • Technical Capabilities: the essential skills and knowledge that are needed in order to be effective in a role or job family

  • Core Capabilities: behaviors that support important aspects of the organization’s culture and values

This combination results in a variety of benefits for the organization. In the Bartram study, overall job performance ratings were consistently influenced by competency factors, especially Analyzing & Interpreting, Organizing & Executing, Enterprising & Performing, Leading & Deciding, and Creating & Conceptualizing.

Those competencies, which fall under ability and personality, have a strong correlation with overall job performance. This correlation suggests that a good indicator of an individual’s fit on competencies will also provide high success in predicting good job performance. Not only this, with the right competency fit, improvement and development of talent becomes more targeted and directed towards role outcomes which among the talent is a necessity for enhanced job performance.

While job performance is related to business outcomes and involves the description of tasks, functions, or objectives, competencies relate to the behaviors underpinning successful performance.

How does SHL help organizations improve job performance by improving competency fit?

SHL developed a structured and evidence-based competency framework in 2021 that provides a rational, consistent, and practical basis for understanding people’s behavior at work and their likelihood of success. The Universal Competency Framework, due to its inclusive nature, gives the organization the ability to assess the competence of their talent through its own unique design. SHL recognizes the importance of competencies and how it shall affect the journey of an individual in the industrial landscape. Through UCF, the organization now has the blueprint, pointing them in the right direction through directed developmental initiatives.

As individuals change along with the organization’s progress, predicting the right fit while allowing room for change is important. Therefore, it is crucial to have a set of competencies that evolves alongside the individuals to ensure that job performance also improves. By focusing on competency potential (future potential), developed competencies (current status), and behavioral outcomes (results from past actions), SHL has supported gaging improvement in competency fit, which ultimately improves job performance.

With the help of SHL’s Universal Competency Framework, which is a remarkable tool backed by empirical research, we are scientifically helping organizations manage their talent transformations in the current corporate landscape for the better. Since 2001, SHL has supported in creating 403 new competency models with 299 consultants working in 24 different countries with 117 client organizations. And guess what? You too can leverage SHL’s Universal Competency Framework to create bespoke models and frameworks that can be mapped to your exact needs to attract, recruit, manage and develop your talent.

Find out how we can help you with your talent needs today!

headshot shweta srivastava


Shweta Srivastava

As the Lead Pre-Sales Consultant for Talent Management in India, Shweta is responsible for helping organizations drive their talent strategies aligned to their business objectives by leveraging innovating, data-driven talent solutions. She holds master’s in business administration in Human Resources. Outside of work, she is a singer-songwriter.

headshot anika singh


Anika Singh

Anika Singh is an Intern for SHL India. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Mount Holyoke College. Her current pursuits include research in language prosody and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R). She spends her free time as a Staff Writer for the Arts & Entertainment section of the Mount Holyoke News.

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