Competencies Overview

A competency is a cluster of highly interrelated attributes, including knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that give rise to the behaviors needed to perform a given job effectively.

Competencies can be either technical or behavioral. Technical competencies reflect the knowledge required to perform a specific role. Behavioral Competencies describe the KSAs that facilitate the application of technical knowledge to job-related behavior. In other words, technical competencies reflect what knowledge HR professionals apply to their jobs, and Behavioral Competencies reflect how they apply this knowledge.

A competency model is a set of competencies that collectively defines the requirements for effective performance in a specific job, profession, or organization. There are eight Behavioral Competencies and one Technical Competency, HR Expertise (HR Knowledge) in the SHRM Competency Model, which forms the foundation of the SHRM BoCK.


Leadership & Navigation The ability to direct and contribute to initiatives and processes within the organization.
Ethical Practice The ability to integrate core values, integrity, and accountability throughout all organizational and business practices.
Business Acumen The ability to understand and apply information with which to contribute to the organization's strategic plan.
Relationship Management The ability to manage interactions to provide service and to support the organization.
Consultation The ability to provide guidance to organizational stakeholders.
Critical Evaluation The ability to interpret information with which to make business decisions and recommendations.
Global & Cultural Effectiveness The ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties.
Communication The ability to effectively exchange information with stakeholders.
HR Expertise (HR Knowledge) The knowledge of principles, practices, and functions of effective human resource management.