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UGA Staff Competency Model Initiative


About the Initiative

With the support of senior leadership, the University’s Central HR team is undertaking a very large and complex assignment to revamp UGA’s position management and classification policies.  The UGA Staff Competency Model Initiative encompasses two major efforts: 1) analyzing and identifying the key tasks that must be performed in a given position; and 2) defining the critical behaviors and characteristics to successfully perform in a particular role—more specifically the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics (KSAOs) it takes to perform well in a job.

For many years, UGA’s job classification system included 1591 classifications across 20 job families.  With the adoption of the USG B-CAT job code structure in December 2018 (which brought UGA job codes into alignment with USG and Federal IPEDS job classification systems), UGA is now poised to further refine its position management and classification policies through this effort.

The objective of the UGA Staff Competency Model Initiative is to establish a competency-based staff performance management process at UGA that delivers:

  • transparent performance expectations;
  • alignment of performance standards across the institution;
  • targeted, consistent performance feedback and guidance ; and
  • performance based criteria for personnel decisions.

UGA’s staff competency model will consist of multiple competencies that jointly represent the mix of KSAOs that define successful job performance. Behavioral descriptions will be written for each competency to enable supervisors to communicate clear performance expectations and guide career development.

For more information on competency models and how UGA will apply a competency model to its workforce, please see Frequently Asked Questions.   


How Will UGA Achieve Its Staff Competency Goals?

Realizing the complex nature of this undertaking, the Central HR team has engaged members of UGA’s Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program, led by Director Brian Frost, contracted with outside consultants to help collect and analyze data, formed an Advisory Committee with members from all major academic and administrative units, and identified subject matter experts (SMEs) who can provide input on required tasks and competencies for specific UGA jobs. These same SMEs (and other employees) will also be asked to validate the job description templates and competency models once they are developed. Every effort will be made to make sure the job description templates and competency models make sense for our UGA community.

Project Timeline & Engagement Details

The project kicked off in January 2019 with the effort to index all job descriptions (6,010) into 140 unique job codes. Job data and staff input will be gathered through Fall 2019.  The job description templates and staff competency model are planned for delivery by the end of 2019. Supervisor and manager training on the new staff competency model will begin in early 2020.  To see a timeline with project milestones click here.

Phase I Completed Items: 
All UGA staff jobs were indexed, including 6,010 job descriptions in UGAJobs, into 140 unique job codes. Completed in January 2019.  Other items completed are listed in below timeline.

Phase II Current-Early 2020: 
Phase II involves gathering input from staff in each UGA job category, including nominated Subject Matter Experts* (SMEs), to inform the development of UGA’s competency model.

Four critical engagements with staff have been planned to collect input:






Task Review Questionnaire

Online Task Survey/clarify tasks within a job code

April 2019

All Nominated SMEs*


Focus Groups

In Person (~55 sessions)/validate input from Task Review Questionnaires and begin identifying critical KSAOs for successful performance

May – June 2019

Randomly selected SMEs


Job Analysis Questionnaire

Online Survey (20-65 based on job)/establish critical KSAOs; common tasks across jobs; frequency of tasks

July-August 2019

All applicable staff


Behavioral Descriptors Workshops

SMEs will sort behavioral descriptors into the appropriate competency and rate on effectiveness

October-November 2019

~45 SMEs random selected from focus group participants and ~45 SMEs from leadership and manager positions


*Subject Matter Experts (SMEs):  selected SMEs will have at least one year of experience of employment in the job code and be considered a high performer. The SMEs will assist in establishment of what tasks and competencies are most critical to job performance across the new job codes and the behaviors that illustrate good performance in their jobs.

Data Analysis and Implementation

Once all data and input have been collected and analyzed, the HR team will begin the work of creating the job description templates and job competency descriptions that will anchor the new staff competency model. Ideally, Central HR will roll out the competency model in early 2020 with training for supervisors and managers. Once supervisors and managers are trained on the new competency model, they can begin to implement with their staff for the 2021 performance management year. They can also begin using the model in 2020 to evaluate applicants and begin performance management for new hires.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to View Your OneUSG Connect Job Title and Job Code

Project Timeline (PDF)

UGA Staff Competency Model Overview (Video of Presentation to UGA Business Affairs Advisory Forum, 10/23/19)

Send email to if you have any questions or concerns about this initiative.



Revised 11/7/2019