Competency management is a system of related processes that include the identification of competencies, assignment of competencies to positions, assessment of competencies demonstrated by employees, collection and organization of competency data, and use of competency information in human resources decisions.
A competency is commonly defined as an observable, measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles or occupational functions successfully. Competencies specify the "how" of performing job tasks, or what skills the person needs to do the job successfully.
Competencies tend to be either general or technical. General competencies reflect the cognitive and social capabilities (e.g., problem solving, interpersonal skills) required for job performance in a variety of occupations. On the other hand, technical competencies are more specific as they are tailored to the particular knowledge and skill requirements necessary for a specific job.
Proficiency scales may be developed to identify the level of competency needed for a position. Level descriptors may vary among organizations; however, they typically reflect none, little, good, very good, and expert. Levels of importance may also be identified for competencies such as relevant, important, and essential.