Capabilities on top of skills in the workplace

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Capabilities on top of skills in the workplace

To ensure that skills have significant impact on any organization, capabilities should be highly considered. These can be described as knowledge in various areas, abilities as well as the attitude an employee possesses measured against company goals. They are a great element whenever the process of evaluating an employee’s effectiveness is undertaken or in recruitment.

In the workplace, the measure of capabilities is a good yardstick for a fair distribution of duties as well as determining remunerations. To embark on evaluation, an employer can use several job assignments to effectively gauge someone’s capability.

Principles of capabilities

The principles of workplace capabilities play a major role by providing relevant information to employees concerning what is required of them. That information is related to performance and proficiency in executing assigned duties. One important aspect of it is the emphasis in not just academic qualifications but career achievements as well.

There is always the danger of employing highly qualified individuals in terms of academics but totally ineffective in terms of skills and capabilities. On the other hand, highly skilled and capable individuals who can make great employees are ignored because they are not as academically qualified. It should take more than just academic credentials to impress.

Categories of capabilities

To help every leader identify workplace capabilities in their employees or prospective hiring, there are two major categories to observe. The two may further be broken down or rearranged depending on how one chooses to define and look at them.

Behaviour capability: An employee’s behaviour capability can be considered positive or negative in the work place depending on organizational goals. For instance, qualities such as effective team leadership, integrity and confidentiality are highly positive and desired. Being curious, refusing to follow orders, always arguing with superiors can be considered as negative behaviour capabilities. Other behavioral capabilities include motivating fellow employees, keeping time and regularly submitting relevant reports to higher authority.

Technical capability: This consists of issues regarding how things run in an organization. Work flows, procedures, protocols among others are some of the areas covered under technical capability. A good example is being able to abide to the set procedures in filing a complaint or asking for leave. Being able and willing to diplomatically settle conflicts in the work place and communicate effectively with different stakeholders are major aspects of technical capability desirable in employees.

There are two major workplace capabilities we think employers should be on the lookout for. These are teamwork nurturing capability and ability to sponsor change.

Team work nurturing capability: This is the capability of an employee to bring about cooperation among employees. It is further described as the ability of a team member to develop and show interest on encouraging the team to come together and collaborate in accomplishing a task.

Ability to sponsor change: This is the capability of an employee to identify, voice and influence changes that could bring about a significant impact to the organization. The impact can either bring great benefits to the organisation or cause its downfall.

Designing workplace capabilities

In designing capabilities needed in the workplace, an organization can be guided by the need for integration, performance and constant evaluation of operations. They should also consider whether new employees should be trained on what is expected of them for proper integration. The design should harmonize itself with legal requirements as well as equality. While a well-thought-out capability design has the potential to bring great impact in the workplace, it is important for an organisation to bear in mind that it does not come with 100% guarantee.


Most employers will take great interests on key qualifications of potential employees during interviews and miss out on key skills and capabilities. This should not be the case. Finding out the interviewees’ skills and capabilities will determine how successful their integration into the workplace will be, something that will directly affect productivity.

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