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Competencies for NIH Employees

NIH is implementing a competency management initiative to assist the organization in managing its human capital resources. To effectively capture what staff needs to know as well as how they demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Using the Competency Dictionary and Competency Models

To begin, select applicable competencies from the Competency Dictionary or start with one of the suggested Competency Models .

What is a Competency?

Competencies encompass knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), combined with other personal characteristics such as values, initiative, and motivation that contribute to successful individual and organizational performance. Competencies are not only about what you know, but how you apply what you know. Competencies are supported by key behaviors that describe ways the competencies may be demonstrated in the workplace. Competencies are frequently grouped together into competency models.

Competencies should:

  • Define expectations, not tasks.
  • Provide clarity through measurable and/or observable knowledge, skills, abilities, characteristics and behaviors
  • Provide maximum flexibility to respond as job functions, roles, and technology evolve.
  • Describe the work of an organization.

Why Invest in Competencies?

The workplace and the workforce are changing; leadership must consider what is essential for staff to achieve the organization’s mission. Staff must think differently and have a broader focus. Competencies help align individual behaviors and skills with the strategic direction of the organization.

How is NIH Using Competencies?

NIH is using competencies to better define organizational and individual requirements and to:

  • Identify hiring needs proactively based on competency gaps
  • Find the most appropriate pool of candidates
  • Clarify expectations of a position
  • Assist employees in creating Individual Development Plans (IDPs) based on self assessments to target development that links to organizational goals.

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