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Managing Performance / Setting Goals

Setting Performance Standards Using Competencies

Developing People asked:

However, it is also important to set expectations about how job responsibilities should be discharged and targets delivered as it is unacceptable for staff to deliver these at ‘any cost’.

Setting behavioural expectations or ‘competencies’ are an intrinsic part of managing the performance managers and staff. By setting these expectations the business clearly communicates how managers and staff should behave on a day to day basis. Competencies can be set around a range of different areas such as:

• Leadership

• Team working

• Developing people

• Communication

• Ownership

• Improving results

• Customer focus

• Diversity.

In addition, competencies can have different ‘levels’ that set expectations for different hierarchy of management responsibility within an organisation. For example, an organisation may wish to set three different levels of competence that apply to:

• Front line managers and team leaders.

• Department managers and functional heads.

• Senior managers and directors.

To help to communicate competencies clearly, they can be set in terms of what’s not expected as well as what is expected. As an illustration the following statements are from a competency describing effective team working:

We expect you to:

• Promote tolerance and respect.

• Take time to understand others cultural norms, perspectives and rules.

• Work effectively across countries and cultures.

• Develop and maintain effective internal and external working relationships.

We don’t expect you to:

• Ignore cultural norms, values and approaches.

• Take a narrow personal view.

• Stereotype the views and contributions of others.

• Put others down.

By defining the competencies likely to produce success in a particular role, the organisation clearly communicates the standards that are expected for successful performance within the business. In addition, competencies provide a means of objectively assessing an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and as such form the basis of personal development.

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