Rich stumbled across the SHL Universal Competency Framework which identifies eight core competencies (they call them the 'great eight') that they say are crucial for good performance in the workplace. SHL define universal competencies as:
It is a single underlying construct framework that provides a rational, consistent and practical basis for the purpose of understanding people’s behaviours at work and the likelihood of being able to succeed in certain roles and in certain environments.I know very little about SHL other than they are a commercial company, and there may well be a better list of competencies somewhere, but they seem like a useful starting point for conversations about employability, and indeed learning development, in the curriculum. The eight competencies are:
- Leading and deciding
- Supporting and co-operating
- Interacting and presenting
- Analysing and interpreting
- Creating and conceptualising
- Organising and executing
- Adapting and coping
- Enterprising and performing
|Leading and deciding||Takes control and exercises leadership. Initiates action, gives direction and takes responsibility.|
|Supporting and co-operating||Supports others and shows respect and positive regard for them in social situations. Puts people first, working effectively with individuals and teams, clients and staff. Behaves consistently with clear personal values that complement those of the organisation.|
|Interacting and presenting||Communicates and networks effectively. Successfully persuades and influences others. Relates to others in a confident and relaxed manner.|
|Analysing and interpreting||Shows evidence of clear analytical thinking. Gets to the heart of complex problems and issues. Applies own expertise effectively. Quickly learns new technology. Communicates well in writing.|
|Creating and conceptualising||Open to new ideas and experiences. Seeks out learning opportunities. Handles situations and problems with innovation and creativity. Thinks broadly and strategically. Supports and drives organisational change.|
|Organising and executing||Plans ahead and works in a systematic and organised way. Follows directions and procedures. Focuses on customer satisfaction and delivers a quality service or product to the agreed standards.|
|Adapting and coping||Adapts and responds well to change. Manages pressure effectively and copes with setbacks.|
|Enterprising and performing||Focuses on results and achieving personal work objectives. Works best when work is related closely to results and the impact of personal efforts is obvious. Shows an understanding of business, commerce and finance. Seeks opportunities for self-development and career advancement.|
So, for instance, a useful exploratory question when talking to an academic from a department could be: what are your students already doing in the curriculum that involves analytical thinking or solving complex problems, or learning new technology, or communicating in writing (Competency: analysing and interpreting)? Presumably quite a lot. Or how about what are they doing that involves planing ahead and working in a systematic and organised way, or following directions and procedures (Competency: Organising and executing). Some competencies will be easier to identify in the curriculum than others. For instance, 'Leading and deciding: takes control and exercises leadership. Initiates action, gives direction and takes responsibility.' This is probably easier to identify outside the curriculum, perhaps in involvement in clubs and societies, but even this one you could identify some elements of in lab work and fieldwork.
Clearly these competencies were written for a different context; the workplace. But if we need to identify how students are beginning to develop workplace skills then it seems like a good place to start. Once existing employability-related elements in the curriculum are identifying we could then work to supplement these with more traditional but contextualised careers skills. It would also help us when talking to employers to articulate our students' skills in a language they understand.
What do you think - are using competencies a good idea or not? What are the disadvantages? Have you tried it already? How will academics react? Is there a more appropriate set of competencies somewhere? Do you think the idea has legs? And if it has someone must have already done this somewhere else. As I'm new to this careers stuff I could do with some help.