Competencies are observable skills and behaviours required for success at work (Lombardo & Eichinger, 2009). They provide a snapshot of a person’s level of proficiency on work-related skills, revealing what the person is capable of doing now. Competency models have become a popular and effective tool for aligning and implementing HR and business initiatives.
Experiences are the roles and assignments comprising a person’s career history. They sum up major work-related events and accomplishments, highlighting what an individual has had the opportunity to do and learn. Highly developmental assignments take people out of their comfort zone and involve high visibility, a risk of failure, ambiguity, and a broad scope of responsibility. Examples include managing a turnaround, taking a global assignment, or managing a crisis.
Traits are a person’s natural tendencies and abilities, including personality traits and intellectual capacity. Traits guide an individual’s behavior, but can at times be difficult to observe. In addition, although traits reflect stable aspects of “who people are,” they can change slowly over time as people take on new challenges. For example, an introvert who wants to build networks or exert more influence may consciously reach out to meet new people and make an effort to speak out.
Drivers are the deep internal values, motivations, and aspirations that influence a person’s choices. They lie at the heart of critical questions: What is important to me? What do I find rewarding? Do I want more challenge in my work? Stability? Responsibility? Drivers capture the “will do” that creates engagement and energy for a task or role. Drivers are instrumental to cultural fit, employee engagement, and talent retention.