<i>Dear Workforce</i> How Do We Measure Competencies Of Salespeople In The Beverage Industry

December 5, 2003
A Dear Thirsty:
Competencies are behaviors, skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to achieve organizational goals that can be applied to all employees across an organization--from the administrative assistant to the executive vice president. They are excellent management tools that allow you to:
  • Define, refine, and communicate company values
  • Reward and value individuals
  • Attract and identify qualified potential employees
  • Identify deficits in expectations and employee performance.
Since these are broad-based behaviors, skills, etc., they may not be unique to the beverage industry. A quick review of some of the more well-known beverage companies' Web sites like Coca-Cola, Pepsi Co., and Snapple (a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes) reveals buzzwords--or competencies--such as creativity, enthusiasm, respect, teamwork, being results-oriented, willing to learn, having an ability to innovate, dedication, and sense of excitement. What makes these terms unique to the beverage industry, and a beverage company, is how they might be applied within that company.
Usually there are no more than 10 competencies for an organization. Some companies have defined specific competency levels based on the job grade or job band within an organization.
Your best bet is to:
  • First, articulate current and future strategic objectives for success and competitive strength.
  • Second, define the broad activities necessary to achieve these objectives.
  • Next, define the behaviors, skills, knowledge, and/or abilities necessary to perform those activities.
And remember, competencies should demonstrate a "deliverable," or outcome. They are not assessments of behavior or skill level. You can also do some research on your competition and see what they are doing.
Start small with three to five competencies, and grow to 10 over time. Competencies are a fairly sophisticated management tool, so there may be quite a bit of management education to incorporate them into the framework of your organization. Don't be surprised if you choose competencies like knowledge, teamwork, quality, creativity, and leadership. Then, it's just a matter of defining how they apply to your company in a way that support your overall goals and define your culture.
SOURCE: Don Gaile, principal, DMG Consulting Co., New York City, New York, Jan. 10, 2003.
LEARN MORE: Read a previous Dear Workforce article onHow to Develop Competency Models.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.