Competence is a much-used expression in the present business environment but surprisingly, it is a concept which is commonly misunderstood. In support of recruitment, competency based systems have been around for many years. Many businesses have used competency assurance systems, often driven by quality management systems, for some time. Internal staff assessment processes using competencies as their measurement system are also quite commonplace

Part of the difficulty many people have with competence assessment is that it tends to be something ‘done to them’. Individuals rarely see any personal advantage to having their competency assessed or any advantage to contributing to the assessment of others. It is often viewed as a necessary evil that the business needs, perhaps to sell into certain markets or to keep up with the competition. It can be seen as a business overhead, a non-value adding activity and worst of all perhaps, a paper chase.

When competence based systems are viewed in this way, organizations are simply not getting the value that such an approach can yield. Viewed as a paper chase, competence assurance is an overhead, a cost and, other than ‘ticking the box’ in your quality management system, does little for the efficiency of you business.

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