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Developing core competencies for staff and using them in the hospice environment to define behaviour
  1. Alison Moorey and
  2. Jacqui Bourne
  1. St Wilfrid's Hospice Chichester


The development of core competencies to be used across the Hospice was prompted by an identified need to clarify the expectations of everyone working for the organisation.

In 2009 it was identified that competencies used in interviewing were not actively being used or understood and a project plan was developed.

A project lead was identified and seven members of staff from various departments joined the group, along with HR Consultants who volunteered part of their time so the cost was minimised.

The group initially defined and agreed seven competencies along with short descriptors:

  • People Care

  • Motivation and Initiative

  • Change and Adaptability

  • Planning and Organisation

  • Analysis and Decision Making Ability

  • Coaching and Teamwork

  • Leadership.

The next task of the group was to agree descriptions of behaviours for all three competencies at three levels. This work involved consulting with staff to ensure that the wording used was meaningful and relevant to the staff.

All job descriptions were reviewed to ensure that they specified the competencies required and at which level. Following this a question bank was developed which provides a range of interview questions for each of the competencies at each level; line managers were trained in interview techniques so they were able to judge the evidence from the answers.

All applicants for employment are sent a copy of the core competencies so that expectations of all employees are made clear from the outset. The final stage of the project is to include the core competencies in performance review documentation and this is currently being tested.

This project has been wide ranging and has enabled the Hospice to clarify expectations of staff at all levels as well as giving line managers the tools to effectively praise good performance as well as managing poor performance.

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