Description of Core Competencies
Description of Competencies
These descriptions are general and allow for flexibility in how criteria are applied. Competencies should
be defined in a way that is appropriate for the expectations of the position and the work environment.
Core competencies identify behaviors and skills all employees are expected to demonstrate to carry out
the mission and goals of the Laboratory.
Initiative and Creativity
Plans work and carries out tasks without detailed instructions; makes constructive suggestions; prepares
for problems or opportunities in advance; undertakes additional responsibilities; responds to situations as
they arise with minimal supervision; creates novel solutions to problems; evaluates new technology as
potential solutions to existing problem
Makes sound decisions; bases decisions on fact rather than emotion; analyzes problems skillfully; uses
logic to reach solutions.
Works harmoniously with others to get a job done; responds positively to instructions and procedures;
able to work well with staff, co-workers, peers and managers; shares critical information with everyone
involved in a project; works effectively on projects that cross functional lines; helps to set a tone of
cooperation within the work group and across groups; coordinates own work with others; seeks
opinions; values working relationships; when appropriate facilitates discussion before decision-making
process is complete.
Quality of Work
Maintains high standards despite pressing deadlines; does work right the first time; corrects own errors;
regularly produces accurate, thorough, professional work.
Personally responsible; completes work in a timely, consistent manner; works hours necessary to
complete assigned work; is regularly present and punctual; arrives prepared for work; is committed to
doing the best job possible; keeps commitments.
Commitment to Safety
Understands, encourages and carries out the principles of integrated safety management; complies with
or oversees the compliance with Laboratory safety policies and procedures; completes all required
ES&H training; takes personal responsibility for safety.
Support of Diversity
Treats all people with respect; values diverse perspectives; participates in diversity training
opportunities; provides a supportive work environment for the multicultural workforce; applies the Lab’s
philosophy of equal employment opportunity; shows sensitivity to individual differences; treats others
fairly without regard to race, sex, color, religion, or sexual orientation; recognizes differences as
opportunities to learn and gain by working together; values and encourages unique skills and talents;
seeks and considers diverse perspectives and ideas.
Examples of Job-specific Competencies (Optional)
Job-specific competencies are behaviors and skills required of a specific position or work environment.
Job Knowledge/Technical Knowledge
Demonstrates knowledge of techniques, skills, equipment, procedures and materials. Applies knowledge
to identify issues and internal problems; works to develop additional technical knowledge and skills.
Quantity of Work
Produces an appropriate quantity of work; does not get bogged down in unnecessary detail; able to
manage multiple projects; able to determine project urgency in a meaningful and practical way;
organizes and schedules people and tasks.
Writes and speaks effectively, using conventions proper to the situation; states own opinions clearly and
concisely; demonstrates openness and honesty; listens well during meetings and feedback sessions;
explains reasoning behind own opinions; asks others for their opinions and feedback; asks questions to
ensure understanding; exercises a professional approach with others using all appropriate tools of
communication; uses consideration and tact when offering opinions.
Listens and responds effectively to customer questions; resolves customer problems to the customer’s
satisfaction; respects all internal and external customers; uses a team approach when dealing with
customers; follows up to evaluate customer satisfaction; measures customer satisfaction effectively;
commits to exceeding customer expectations.
Anticipates problems; sees how a problem and its solution will affect other units; gathers information
before making decisions; weighs alternatives against objectives and arrives at reasonable decisions;
adapts well to changing priorities, deadlines and directions; works to eliminate all processes which do
not add value; is willing to take action, even under pressure, criticism or tight deadlines; takes informed
risks; recognizes and accurately evaluates the signs of a problem; analyzes current procedures for
possible improvements; notifies supervisor of problems in a timely manner.
Attention to Detail
Is alert in a high-risk environment; follows detailed procedures and ensures accuracy in documentation
and data; carefully monitors gauges, instruments or processes; concentrates on routine work details;
organizes and maintains a system of records.
Remains open-minded and changes opinions on the basis of new information; performs a wide variety of
tasks and changes focus quickly as demands change; manages transitions from task to task effectively;
adapts to varying customer needs.
Able to manage multiple projects; able to determine project urgency in a practical way; uses goals to
guide actions; creates detailed action plans; organizes and schedules people and tasks effectively.
Works to improve the performance of oneself and others by pursuing opportunities for continuous
learning/feedback; constructively helps and coaches others in their professional development; exhibits a
“can-do” approach and inspires associates to excel; develops a team spirit.
Establishes high standards and measures; is able to maintain high standards despite pressing deadlines;
does work right the first time and inspects work for flaws; tests new methods thoroughly; considers
excellence a fundamental priority.
Responsiveness to requests for service
Responds to requests for service in a timely and thorough manner; does what is necessary to ensure
customer satisfaction; prioritizes customer needs; follows up to evaluate customer satisfaction.
Able to challenge conventional practices; adapts established methods for new uses; pursues ongoing
system improvement; creates novel solutions to problems; evaluates new technology as potential
solutions to existing problems.
Managerial/Supervisory Competencies (For employees who supervise others)
Values and Ethics:
Integrity and Respect
Demonstrated respect of people and laboratory principles. Incumbent maintains a respectful, diverse and
inclusive work environment where decisions and transactions are transparent and objective. They hold
themselves, their employees, and their organizations accountable for their actions.
Incumbent offers advice and creates plans based on analysis of issues and trends, and how these link to
the responsibilities, capabilities, and potential of their organization. Scan an ever-changing, complex
environment in anticipation of emerging crises and opportunities. Develop well-informed advice and
strategies that are sensitive to the various needs of multiple stakeholders and partners, reflect the strategic
direction of the department and position the organization for success.
Engage people, organizations, and partners in developing goals, executing plans, and delivering results.
Mobilize teams, building momentum to get things done by communicating clearly and consistently,
investing time and energy to engage the whole organization. Use negotiation skills and adaptability to
encourage recognition of joint concerns, collaboration, and to influence the success of outcomes. Follow
and lead across boundaries to engage broad-based stakeholders, partners, and customers in a shared
agenda and strategy.
Deliver results by maximizing organizational effectiveness and sustainability. Ensure that people have the
support and tools they need and that the workforce as a whole has the capacity and diversity to meet
current and longer-term organizational objectives. Align people, work, and systems with the business
strategy to harmonize how they work and what they do. Conscientiously assign performance goals, offer
year-round performance feedback, and conduct timely performance discussions and reviews.
Management of other
Accesses and reviews standard budget reports as appropriate for the organization; creates yearly spending
plan for all budget accounts; keeps appropriate records of organizational spending and tracks it against
spending plan; reallocates resources as organizational change occurs. Regularly analyzes budget data to
identify trends and improve the cost effectiveness of unit processes and practices; gathers and organizes
credible data to make a business case for changes and additional resources.