What are competencies?


Competencies are identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and organizations. Competencies can be objectively measured, enhanced, and improved through coaching and learning opportunities. The identified competencies are applicable to most Commonwealth of Virginia employees.

The Commonwealth of Virginia competencies, which include expectations for success among all jobs in state government, are:

  • Technical and Functional Expertise

  • Understanding of the Business

  • Results Focus

  • Customer Service

  • Teamwork

  • Interpersonal Communication

  • Leadership

  • Personal Effectiveness

We first list and define the competencies. Then we list competency indicators. Agencies can tailor the indicators to more closely link to their organizational mission and values, and to individual job needs.



Why use competencies?


You can use the Commonwealth of Virginia competencies to help improve your individual performance, by modeling the behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use competencies to further your professional development. These competencies help lay out a road map to superior performance, but they do not ensure it. Only your personal commitment to excellence, motivation, and actual consistent performance determines your performance level.

Ideally, competencies can help fix your attention on key business goals and values, such as improved customer service. Competencies can help you be more flexible in meeting various work requirements. Applying the competencies at work will help you to become more creative in meeting job demands and allow you to quickly adapt to changes at work. Finally, competencies encourage teamwork by promoting cooperation and sharing.



How can competencies be used?


Competencies provide an opportunity to see what it takes to be fully successful in your career. Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others at work. Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career and the work you do. You can empower yourself to make positive contributions at work and find the work you do rewarding and meaningful.

At the end of this document is an assessment tool. You can complete a self-assessment, to help determine your strengths and areas for further development. You can also ask your supervisor to assess you, using the competencies. It can be very helpful for your career development to then meet with your supervisor to compare your self-assessment with your supervisor's assessment of you. If there are significant differences in specific ratings, those areas are worth further discussion.

Team members and team leaders can use competency self-assessments and multi-rater assessments to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. The competencies can also be used for upward feedback to supervisors and managers or as a multi-rater instrument, such as 360-degree feedback tool, to get input from others (for example, direct reports, bosses, peers, and customers). We recommend organizations in the Commonwealth seek professional assistance when using the competencies for upward feedback and 360 degree ratings.

In addition to their applicability to career development, agencies have flexibility in how to use the Commonwealth of Virginia competencies. They can add to them, change them, delete some, and adapt them in other ways to help meet business needs. Your organization can use the competencies for training and development, selection and placement of workers, performance management, and compensation decisions.

Assessment Tool



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