An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Core competencies

What Are Core Competencies?

Core competencies are the capabilities and advantages of a business or an individual that sets them apart from the competition.

Initially introduced in the business world in the 1990s by C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel as an approach to corporate strategy, core competencies have developed further to tap into employee competencies. These personal skills help employers proactively identify ways to nurture their team and recruit the right talent.

What Are the Three Conditions of Core Competencies?

According to Prahalad and Hamel’s article, “The Core Competence of the Corporation”, core competencies meet three universal conditions:

  1. They provide benefits to consumers.
  2. They are not easy for competitors to replicate.
  3. They can be leveraged to many products and markets.

Businesses must cultivate these core competencies to succeed against the competition and win lasting results. One key way to do so is by bringing together a strong team of individuals who possess the right personal core competencies. These skills should bolster the organization’s potential to succeed.

Employers may look for job candidates who possess the following abilities (this can vary depending on the role and company culture):

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Types of Core Competencies

There are two types of core competencies: organizational and employee.

Organizational Core Competencies

The core competencies that distinguish a company from its competitors vary by industry. For example, while a hospital might provide excellent amenities for long-term patients, this wouldn’t be relevant in an industry like media operations, where large digital archives and media coordination would be core competencies.

Therefore, identifying an organization’s core competencies requires tapping into its strengths and weaknesses. This might require your team to:

From here, you can put together a game plan on how to win opportunities that bring long-term success and hire people who embody these core competencies.

Employee Core Competencies

Employee core competencies can be broken down into categories like:

What Are Examples of Core Competencies?

Here are three businesses that carry notable core competencies: