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What is a Competency Appraisal?

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  • Written By: Lee Prangnell
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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A competency appraisal is a process in which an individual is assessed for his or her competence in a particular area of employment. The main objective of the competency appraisal is to ascertain whether an employee is able to carry out his or her duties in a professional role. A typical scenario would involve an employee — the person being assessed for competence — and one or more of his or her seniors. It normally would take place in a private location, such as an unused office. The duration of a competency appraisal depends on the nature of the appraisal; the actual meeting between the senior professional and the employee typically lasts one to two hours.

There are certain professions in which a competency appraisal is of critical importance, such as medical professions in which human safety is an essential priority. If patients are exposed to incompetent medical practitioners, this could be a potential threat to the patient's health and safety. In developed nations, competency appraisal in the medical professional is highly prevalent as it is considered to be absolutely necessary; medical practitioners, particularly in their first years of practice, are monitored closely by senior medical professionals.

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In the corporate office environment, particularly within transnational corporations in which rigorous centralized standards have been implemented on a company-wide scale, the competency appraisal is a commonly utilized practice. Within developed nations in which there is a prevalence of centralized corporate standards, a competency appraisal typically is carried out by a senior professional who is present within the employee's department. The competency appraisal might also include another senior professional, such as a human resources employee.

During the appraisal, the employee is assessed in a number of areas. First and foremost, it will be established by a senior professional whether the employee is capable of carrying out his or her professional duties to an acceptable standard after months of employee monitoring. If the employee is deemed incompetent by his or her seniors, he or she might get an extension trial period to assess whether improvements can be made. If the employee is performing poorly and is in a probationary period, he or she might be informed that his or her contract of employment is going to be terminated if an improvement in performance is not made. Otherwise, if the employee has been employed with the company or organization for a lengthy period of time, he or she might receive a verbal or written reprimand warning him or her of the potential of contract termination if his or her performance does not improve.

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