The Importance of Maintaining and Developing Your Core Competencies
Every person has a unique set of skills they bring with them to their place of employment. Whether it’s a natural ability such as being comfortable communicating in front of a group, or trained abilities such as computer and digital technology skills, these traits (referred to as competencies) represent the value you can bring to your job.
A workplace can be as unique as the employees who work there, with requirements and expectations that demand a specific set of core competencies, regardless of role. To excel at your job, it’s a smart move to determine the competencies your workplace expects and develop your own accordingly.
That having been said, the pandemic is still causing massive changes in the way we work and learn. It has forced organizations to reconsider employee development strategies, and look at cost-effective and accessible options to maintain and improve the core competencies of employees. Increasingly, this means turning to virtual solutions which offer flexible and affordable solutions for training.
Here’s what you need to know about core competencies, and how to strengthen them:
What Exactly is “Competency” in a Workplace Context?
A competency describes a trait, behaviour or skill set an employee possesses which allows them to perform their role well. When referring to a “core competency”, workplaces expect their employees to possess and exercise specific behaviours and traits, regardless of their specific job description.
For example, it would be fair for many workplaces to expect strong organizational skills from everyone who works there. If you can’t manage your time, keep track of your work or manage your email, it would be very difficult to excel in any role. Making this an expected competency for all employees creates a foundation on which other skills can be built.
Establishing a list of core competencies expected from employees is an important first step for companies to take – it helps define routes towards excellence and can be a useful recruiting tool as well. Once essential competencies are identified, it’s critical to provide training opportunities for employees to improve upon them, and learn new ones as the need arises.
Examples of Relevant Competencies for the Current Work Environment
As work from home has become common for most office-based employees since the start of the pandemic, a whole slew of workplace competencies have become more important than ever. These include:
Computers and Digital Technology: If your computer was important to your job before, it’s now become absolutely essential. With meetings held virtually, new communication platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams becoming standard and no easily-available IT support, expanding your computer and technology competency becomes essential.
Communication: There’s a lot of subtlety conveyed in face-to-face communication that is lost in video chats and emails. But since that’s what we’re working with, honing your communication skills and learning how to best convey and receive information virtually is an extremely valuable competency to nurture.
Problem Solving: Solving problems is a core competency many workplaces already expect. But as new problems are posed in the wake of the pandemic, improving your problem-solving competency will be even more useful, especially without the ability for quick, in-person consultation with coworkers and managers.
Workload and Time Management: Working from home poses many new challenges for managing your time and workload. It can be difficult to keep regular hours outside an office context, and this “always on” mentality can put you at risk of burnout. Or, the distractions of work from home make it harder to manage your time effectively. Whatever the case, finding opportunities to develop this competency will only help you in the current work environment.
Each organization and industry will prioritize competencies differently, regardless of whether you work in the public or private sector. This is part of what makes up a workplace culture. However, according to Indeed, there are 17 core competencies to include on your resume, so that’s a good place to start if you’re looking to expand your skills and stay relevant.
We have put together a list of core competencies drawn from leading public sector organizations, each with definitions and expected behaviours.
Develop Competencies with Virtual Live Classroom Training
As we mentioned earlier, the pandemic has posed some serious challenges for organizations, especially as they relate to employee development. Getting large groups of people into rooms is still out of the question in most places, so finding solutions that allow employees to develop their competencies remotely is top-of-mind – especially with the evolving expectations of a digitally-driven work from home environment.
eLearning often relies on pre-recorded sessions that put the onus on the trainee to remain engaged and ensure a thorough understanding of the material presented. While this method can be effective, especially for certain topics like software, it lacks the interactive components that make live training more comprehensive. The ability to ask for clarity, or engage with fellow trainees, is an essential part of the educational process for many people.
Luckily, live online training courses exist to provide a “best of both worlds” scenario. With the same flexibility and accessibility of on-demand, pre-recorded training, live online courses provide the added bonuses of an instructor who can answer questions and provide exposition in real time. They also add the ability to leverage technology to bring new elements to training that would be unavailable even in a classroom setting.
Maintaining and learning new competencies is more important than ever in the pandemic era. Live online training offers high quality personal development opportunities, all from the comfort of your home office.
Possessing the skills, behaviours and abilities needed to excel in your workplace requires training and maintenance – especially when faced with new hurdles like those posed by the pandemic. Seeking opportunities to hone your current competencies and cultivate new ones will ensure you develop your foundation for career excellence.
PMC offers a wide range of live, online courses that are sure to help you develop your competencies online. Why not sign up for one today?