Skills Versus Competencies: How Are They Related To Productivity?

ByMaslinda AT

OneĀ ofĀ theĀ mostĀ commonĀ questionsĀ IĀ getĀ whenĀ discussingĀ flexibleĀ workingĀ arrangements is about productivity.

MostĀ employersĀ statedĀ thatĀ teamĀ productivityĀ andĀ communicationĀ haveĀ decreasedĀ sinceĀ remoteĀ workingĀ wasĀ implementedĀ duringĀ theĀ pandemic.Ā AsĀ aĀ result,Ā mostĀ businessesĀ returnĀ toĀ on-siteĀ workĀ orĀ useĀ aĀ hybridĀ mode. I am one of the supporters and advocate for flexible working arrangements. While I understood the challenges that occur when adopting a remote work policy as a business owner, I do find that understanding skills vs competencies can be beneficial for fostering successful flexible working arrangements.

Skills vs Competencies

Skills refer to specific abilities that can be learned and developed through practice and training. Examples of skills include things like writing, programming, public speaking, and playing an instrument.

Competencies, on the other hand, refer to the behaviors and attributes that enable someone to perform a task successfully. Competencies can include a combination of skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values. For example, a competency for a project manager might include the ability to communicate effectively, collaborate with team members, and manage timelines and budgets.

In short, skills are specific abilities that can be learned and practised, whereas competencies are the underlying qualities and behaviors that allow someone to successfully complete a task.

Gaining knowledge of the differences between abilities and capabilities will help you to make use of them to improve efficiency and productivity. The question you may want to ask now is HOW?


Having an awareness of the differences between skills and competencies can be beneficial for fostering successful flexible working arrangements. This can help to promote productivity by recognizing the importance of both skills and competencies for facilitating a productive work environment.

For example, skills may include technical abilities, such as proficiency with certain software, while competencies may include qualities such as problem-solving, communication, and teamwork. By understanding the need for both, employers can create roles that accommodate both areas and create an effective flexible working arrangement.

Shared Understanding

Having a shared understanding of the qualifications and capabilities needed for a particular job or activity can help make sure that both employers and employees are on the same wavelength. This will minimize misunderstandings and help employees stay focused on the right assignments, leading to increased efficiency.

How this will lead to more productive and efficient ways of doing work?

Understanding the difference between skills and competencies can be useful in supporting productivity for flexible working arrangements in a few ways:

1. Clear communication

When employers and employees are able to clearly communicate the skills and competencies required for a specific job or task, it can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and has a shared understanding of whatā€™s expected. This can reduce confusion and help employees be more productive by focusing on the right tasks.

2. Effective performance management

By differentiating between skills and competencies, employers can better evaluate and manage employee performance. For example, they can track progress on skill development through training or professional development programs, and assess how well employees are demonstrating required competencies in their work.

3. Flexibility in hiring

Employers can use a competency-based approach to hiring to identify candidates who may have transferable skills and the potential to develop competencies required for a specific job, rather than just looking for someone with a specific set of technical skills. This can help them build a more flexible and adaptable workforce that can work effectively in a variety of roles and situations.

By exploring the distinction between skills and competencies, employers and employees can gain a better understanding of how to properly manage flexible working arrangements.

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