Basic competencies for your newest opening: Just how vital are they?

Wednesday, February 10
Basic competencies for your newest opening: Just how vital are they?

It’s Monday morning and you’ve just received word from the operations manager that it’s time to add several new employees to the roster. You need a shift manager, a skilled salesperson, and maybe some general laborers. Do you know where to start? Without any information about the company, its product, or the work environment, are you able to start to build at least the most basic requirements you might need for any of these positions?

With a baseline understanding of common, basic competencies, you could start building the preferred qualifications and skills that you may need for each of these positions. Basic, or core, competencies are a soft baseline for what skills or abilities are required for a particular position. When it’s time to hire, an applicant without the most basic skill set it would take to be not just efficient in the position, but proficient instead, might not be the fit a growing, goal oriented company would want to go. You don’t hire a team manager just because they know how to track labor and wages, attendance, and can open and close your business each day. You hire a team manager who can do all of that tedious management, but who can also inspire your team, increase productivity, and develop a happier, more motivated workplace.

Let’s dive into some examples of basic or core competencies we could use for the open positions that were dropped on your desk:

Shift Manager

As a manager, you need an employee who is capable of constantly monitoring, tracking, and assessing the activity of the team as it pertains to the business’s goals and deadlines. This person must be able to delegate tasks to employees, keep them on track, and ensure the work environment and legally required breaks and lunches are adhered to. A good manager should also be able to inspire growth in your team by building trust and confidence with the employees. Some core competencies that could be helpful and make the difference are:

  • Decision Making - A successful manager must be able to make decisions, sometimes at a moments notice, and utilize their full breadth of knowledge and experience to make choices that are not detrimental to the business, its customers, or its employees if at all possible.
  • Problem solving - When an issue occurs - an angry customer, an empty handed supplier, an absent employee - the manager or supervisor should be able to quickly offer solutions that will at the very least not produce a negative outcome.
  • Personal credibility - As a supervisor or manager, this individual should be prepared to not just take the blame when something goes wrong, but to actively review themselves to address issues that could have come from poor management or coaching. Personal credibility shows developed character and strong leadership (as compared to being a “boss”).

Skilled Salesperson

Your salespersons could sometimes be the first impression your company has on a potential client or customer. You give them a lot of responsibility and even more trust when it comes to representing your company in the public sphere. This means that without the right skillset and core competencies, your sales reps could actually do much, much more damage to your bottom line and your brand than good. Some essential competencies for a successful salesperson could be: 

  • Interpersonal skills - Part of the art of sales is in your ability to connect to a potential client or customer and truly understand what their need is. Whether that need be business or personal, a good salesperson must be able to understand it at a very basic level and be able to prove that your business is able to offer a solution. That means practicing empathy, compassion, and active listening.
  • Resilience - There will be many more nos than there will be yesses, unfortunately, when it comes to the world of sales. Your salespersons need to have a certain level of resilience so that they are able to get up and dust themselves off after their first 85 big ol’ nos and keep moving forward to secure those last 15 yesses. A salesperson who gets demotivated after a couple of “No, thank yous” is definitely not a successful salesperson.

General Laborers

Since we don’t know the industry and this job title is probably the most vague title you could ever receive, it’s back to the basics. What are the traits we most often favor for members of our team and how does that translate to a short list of core competencies that any, entry level employee should strive to have or develop? Let’s take a look:

  • Teamwork - Any employee who can’t work as a functional member of the team, is not going to be a positive force for the rest of your employees. You’ve probably heard the age old adage about the one bad apple, right? Well, an employee who doesn’t possess the competency of teamwork is your bad apple, and the bustle they’re going to rot isn’t just your team, it’s your business and your profit.
  • Customer oriented - No matter where you fall on the ladder of your team, your site, your branch, or your company, at the end of the day without satisfied customers our products are useless and our business gets boarded up. Every employee, but especially those doing the backbreaking grunt work, have to be customer oriented so that we send up quality products and services and retain satisfied, paying customers. If an entry level, general laborer doesn’t care about customer satisfaction, chances are you’ll hear about it sooner than later.

This brief overview and introduction just skims the surface of the topic of basic, or core, competencies. What competencies would you like to see us taking a deeper dive with? Have you noticed a missing competency in a particular field or position that you would like to see highlighted?