3 Why is competence important?

There may be situations where some competencies are critical to performing a work activity, in which case having confidence in the individual’s ability becomes a significant factor. For these situations, how often and in what manner the competency is being measured is important. Descriptions of competent performance are necessary so that the expected performance can be measured. Assessment is not always directly built into a competency framework, but the structure of how competencies are written needs to make assessment possible. Without this, there are too many variables, and the link between measuring competent performance and an individual’s demonstrated actions may be broken.

Another reason why competence is important is that different job roles may have different requirements in terms of the level of proficiency required in the same area. For example, many jobs have an expectation that everyone has a basic level of proficiency in using common office applications like word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software. Certain roles may require different levels of competence, as those in marketing and communications might require expert proficiency in using presentation software, and finance roles may require expert proficiency in using spreadsheets. Moving between roles often requires some additional learning and practice in order to meet those expectations.

The need to identify the level of proficiency and to construct competencies that allow for assessment are reasons for having well-defined competency statements and descriptions.


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eCampusOntario Open Competency Toolkit by Dennis Green and Carolyn Levy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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