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Technical vs. Behavioural Competencies for HR Professionals

Posted on March 18, 2018 3:00 am;

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By Morgan International Staff Writers 

All successful HR professionals need both technical and behavioural competencies to excel in their roles. These are terms you may have heard before, but we will be explaining what each of them means and what mix you need to be effective in your role. A behavioural competency is an attribute such as knowledge, skillset, leadership skills and so on. A technical competence is the application of knowledge and skills to effectively perform in a role.

Behavioural Competencies

Broadly speaking there are five basic types of behavioural competencies;

  • Individual - Personal attributes such as confidence and self-motivation.
  • Interpersonal - Attributes such as high energy levels, communication skills, teamwork and persuasiveness.
  • Motivational - Attributes include leading by example, motivating overs, and taking the lead on new initiatives.
  • Managerial - Leadership skills, decisive decision-making, and managing teams and individuals.
  • Analytical - The ability to review data and scenarios and make good decisions in a timely fashion.

Behavioural competencies are intrinsic capabilities that are typically applicable to any role or organisation. That means they are portable and it is of huge benefit to establish a wide range of these skills.

Technical Competencies

Technical competencies for HR professionals are incredibly important and include knowledge and the ability to apply employment law and compliance regulations. Furthermore the HR team require specific business knowledge as they typically partner with specific functions/departments. For example a business partner to the finance function would require a certain level of technical finance knowledge to be successful in their role.

In Summary

I said in the introduction that we would consider the optimum balance between technical and behavioural competencies. The reality is that this will differ depending on the particular role and organisation. However broadly speaking an equal split will be required between the two. Behavioural competencies tend to be developed over a period of time and are not necessarily learnt in the same way that technical competencies can be through technical training.

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