Retaining skilled employees can be a difficult task for non-profit organizations, as is the process of hiring and managing talent. Employees are often motivated to leave such concerns for better, more lucrative job opportunities. But that is avoidable to a great extent, if the management is skilled at managing competencies. Since competencies are those skills, talents, knowledge levels and often personality traits that help an employee work efficiently, it is crucial for non-profit organizations to know how to manage them, and what mistakes to avoid-
Limiting competencies required to certain roles only
Leadership competencies are often forgotten about when the company is deciding upon job-related competencies. This is a big error, as leadership competencies are skills that are important to most of the senior level of the organization, and can be useful otherwise as well, in building the morale of the staff and motivating the employees to reach optimum productivity. Thus, when setting competencies, ensure that they are broadly oriented towards the whole organization, keeping in mind the multifaceted needs of the organization.

Gauging employee performance based on competencies
While a set of competencies already defined serves as a good benchmark to hire and train employees, it is not the best determinant of performance. As a manager or supervisor, you must remember not to assess an employee’s performance on the parameters of competencies. Instead, it is prudent to observe the employee’s performance and then decide upon the competencies he or she needs to improve upon. Based on your feedback, the employees can work on their shortcomings and reach proficiency.
Defining competencies in narrow, short-term scope
It is necessary to be goal-oriented and focused on the long term when determining the key competencies your non-profit organization needs in its employees. As a manager, you must define and explain competencies in such a way that employees are able to understand the learning curve and scale of growth required to be proficient in each competency. If you do not do this, there may be ambiguity regarding skill development goals and the specific duties and responsibilities of each employee. As such, defining competencies will avoid misuse of competencies, and will ensure that your organization performs well in the long run, as each employee understands what to work on.
Not following a customized set of competencies
One size doesn’t fit all, when it comes to subjective skills that are competencies. Based on the organization’s long term aims, the values and practices followed by the organization, and its overall needs, competencies must be defined and listed in a customized manner. The biggest mistake would be to follow a common list of competencies that may be followed by other organizations, because what could be a perfect set of skills for them may not be as ideal for you.
Keep in mind that competency management can make or break the future of your non-profit organization, depending on the way you utilize it. When in doubt, remember the points mentioned above, and avoid making these mistakes in order to make the most out of your employees’ competencies!

Managing competencies is important for non-profit organizations looking forward to tap talent on a long-term basis. While managing competencies, such entities should refrain from mistakes like narrowing down competences to specific roles, measuring performance on the basis of competencies, or using a common set of competencies instead of customized ones.

Author's Bio: 

Reshali Balasubramaniam
Head of HR, HR Counselor and adviser at Do you offer a Service? Signup for an account at