No person will be assigned to any position until it has been properly allocated to a job family and zone.
If a filled position is reallocated to another job family/zone, the
incumbent will not be automatically qualified to continue filling the
position unless he or she possesses the minimum qualifications
necessary to perform the work satisfactorily. The incumbent of a
position reallocated to another family zone who is not qualified to
remain in the position will be reassigned if warranted, or will be
separated from the University.
The standard job title, created by combining the job family name and
the zone name, is the job title that will be used on personnel
documents. For example, if an employee were in the library services job
family and in the associate zone, the standard job title would be
“Library Services Associate.” The organizational units are encouraged
to use a working title that matches position responsibilities and
reflect the job family, such as Acquisitions Associate.
Competency is the combination of observable and measurable
knowledge, skills, abilities and personal attributes that contribute to
enhanced employee performance and ultimately result in organizational
success. To understand competencies, it is important to define the
various components of competencies.
- Knowledge is the cognizance of facts, truths and principles gained
from formal training and/or experience. Application and sharing of
one's knowledge base is critical to individual and organizational
- A skill is a developed proficiency or dexterity in mental
operations or physical processes that is often acquired through
specialized training; the execution of these skills results in
- Ability is the power or aptitude to perform physical or mental
activities that are often affiliated with a particular profession or
trade such as computer programming, plumbing, calculus, and so forth.
Although organizations may be adept at measuring results, skills and
knowledge regarding one's performance, they are often remiss in
recognizing employees' abilities or aptitudes, especially those outside
of the traditional job design.
- Individual attributes are properties, qualities or characteristics
of individuals that reflect one's unique personal makeup. Individual
attributes are viewed as genetically developed or acquired from one's
accumulated life experiences. Although personal characteristics are the
most subjective of the components, a growing, significant body of
research links specific personality traits to successful individual and
- Individually recognizing and rewarding any of these sources of
expertise provides a strong basis for individual performance
engagement. However, it is their combination that results in the
unleashing of resources that are all too frequently untapped.
When utilizing competencies, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Competencies do not establish baseline performance levels; rather
they are used to raise the bar on employee performance. They provide
employees with road maps to increase their capabilities incrementally.
- Competencies focus on an organization's culture and values.
Consequently NU has selected a unique set or combination of
competencies that support and facilitate its mission.
- Competencies reflect the organization's strategy; that is, they are aligned to short- and long-term missions and goals.
- Competencies focus on how results are achieved rather than merely
the end result. In this manner they bridge the gap between performance
management and employee development and are an integral component of
personal development plans.
- Competencies close skill gaps within the organization.
- Competency data can be used for employee development, compensation, promotion, training and new hire selection decisions.
How Will Competencies Be Used?
At NU, competencies are the foundation for the compensation and
performance engagement programs. NU's philosophy in recognizing and
rewarding specific competencies is the key to NU's continued and
growing success. Accordingly, development and proficiency of
competencies leads to:
- Distribution of monetary awards through salary adjustments.
- Creation of employee development and succession planning opportunities.
- Development of customized training modules and identification of already available training programs.
- Identification of critical selection criteria for candidates desiring employment at the University.
Because competencies are aligned to an organization's strategy, they
were carefully selected. Accordingly, NU has identified and determined
competencies that are critical to its short- and long-term success.
These competencies are applicable to all managerial/professional and
office/service jobs within the entire University. Definitions of
competencies have been developed to ensure a common understanding of
the competencies across campuses and organizational units within the
University. Competencies were applied to each job family to develop
performance engagement and measurement criteria for employees and will
be used to ensure reliable and valid comparative data when reviewing
candidates’ credentials during the selection process. In order to have
a clearer picture, the NU competencies are further defined in terms of
specific behaviors (observable measures) and variable levels of
expectation for each job family.
Accepts responsibility for own
actions and decisions and demonstrates commitment to accomplish work in
an ethical, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Adjusts planned work by gathering
relevant information and applying critical thinking to address multiple
demands and competing priorities in a changing environment.
Effectively conveys information and
expresses thoughts and facts. Demonstrates effective use of listening
skills and displays openness to other people's ideas and thoughts.
Anticipates, monitors and
meets the needs of customers and responds to them in an appropriate
manner. Demonstrates a personal commitment to identify customers'
apparent and underlying needs and continually seeks to provide the
highest quality service and product to all customers.
Fosters respect for all individuals
and points of view. Interacts appropriately with all members of the
campus community, campus visitors and business and community partners
without regard to individual characteristics. Demonstrates a personal
commitment to create a hospitable and welcoming environment.
Communicates the University's vision in ways that gain the support of others. Mentors, motivates and guides others toward goals.
Occupational Knowledge/Technology Orientation
the appropriate level of proficiency in the principles and practices of
one's field or profession. Demonstrates a commitment to continuous
improvement, to include understanding and application of technology
(hardware, software, equipment and processes).
Works cooperatively and effectively with
others to achieve common goals. Participates in building a group
identity characterized by pride, trust and commitment.
Competencies were selected to help support and drive NU’s strategic
goals. Because these competencies are so critical to the performance
management and employee development programs, it is important to
provide tailored measures of these competencies that reflect job
duties, responsibilities and actual behaviors. From a motivational
point of view, it is critical to communicate to employees key
performance expectations and provide actionable feedback regarding
their performance relative to the competencies. In order to do this,
objective and observable measures were developed for each job family.
We call these measures key behaviors.
Developing Key Behaviors for Different Job Family Zones
Since there are various levels of jobs within a job family, key
behaviors were developed with jobs in mind that represented each job
zone. The difference by levels can be found in the Index of Key Behavior Statements by Competency (PDF).
Naturally, one would expect to find differences in skill development,
knowledge and abilities as you contrast a lower level key behavior to
the higher level ones within each competency. To this end, the key
behaviors were developed for each job family along a continuum from
Assistant to Senior in a way that matches the arrangement of jobs in
The following factors were used when developing the key behaviors.
- The purpose of key behaviors is to tailor the competencies to the job family.
- Two to four key behaviors were written for each zone of each competency.
- Key behaviors are observable.
- Key behaviors are measurable.
- Key behaviors are written in a language that is understood by both employees and supervisors.
- Key behaviors are written as succinctly as possible.
- Key behaviors drive the successful performance of the competency.
There must be a meaningful difference in skills, abilities and
knowledge requirements reflected in the behaviors from one zone to the
next. In many instances, the same behavior was used for more than one
zone by adjusting magnitude, frequency level, and so forth from one
zone to the next. In some instances, different behaviors that measure
and reflect distinct skill sets were used to differentiate one zone
from the next. When using different behaviors, the behaviors used for
higher job zones truly reflect enhanced levels of skill and knowledge
than the behaviors used to describe lower zone job requirements and
In order to develop appropriate and meaningful key behaviors, job
experts from all four campuses and Varner Hall gathered in
job-family-based groups to develop and refine them. An editor from
theUniversity of Nebraska Press reviewed all of the key behaviors and
recommended changes to standardize the format and language usage.