Competencies for Performance Appraisal

Locust Walk Bridge and Huntsman Hall

New Competency Curriculum

Develop your job-related competencies with 19 online modules in Workday Learning. Learn more below.

A New Framework

Now staff and supervisors can use Workday performance management tools, including a new competencies framework. Competencies will be applied automatically based on job profiles and management level.

For questions or additional information, contact your school or center Human Resources professional, or contact Human Resources Staff and Labor Relations at 215-898-6093.


Competencies are observable and measurable skills and behaviors that contribute to workplace effectiveness and career success. They are used to evaluate performance, make hiring decisions, identify development needs, and establish a strong talent pipeline. In 2022, in conjunction with the job architecture project of Workday Wave 2, the University acquired Korn Ferry’s set of 38 competencies.

Five University-wide Competencies

In consultation with senior leaders, the University has identified five university-wide competencies that are assigned to every staff member regardless of job family or job level.

These are:

  • Ensures Accountability
  • Collaborates
  • Communicates Effectively
  • Customer Focus
  • Values Differences

Job Family Competencies

Additionally, five competencies are assigned based on job family. These five competencies were identified in a survey of representatives from each job family asking which of the 38 competencies they used most frequently and how important each was to effectiveness in their role.

Thus, each staff member will have a total of 10 competencies.

Each competency description comes with behavioral examples for four organizational levels:

  • Entry/Support
  • Individual Contributor
  • Supervisor/Manager
  • Director/Executive

These behaviors are further arranged into behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) that provide a consistent description and vocabulary to use when thinking about or discussing on-the-job behavior. BARS provide a means to evaluate on-the-job performance or candidate potential. 

Proficiency Ratings

Staff and their managers are required to provide a proficiency rating for each of the 10 competencies. The proficiency rating values for competencies include the following:

  • Needs improvement
  • Meets expectations
  • Exceeds expectations

The information in each staff member's performance review provides specific examples which will help in determining the appropriate proficiency rating for each competency.

Competency Curriculum

HR Talent Development has created an online competency curriculum to support Penn staff and leaders in understanding and developing their job-related competencies. These self-paced courses can be completed in any order. Click on the links to access each course. 

You can also access the competency courses on Workday Learning. New modules will continue to be added to this curriculum, so check back frequently.