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THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER STUDENTS’ GUILD COMPETENCY FRAMEWORK

A behavioural guide for outstanding student leaders

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CONTENTS OUTLINE OF COMPETENCIES 6 1. COMMITMENT TO THE ORGANISATION 7 2. COMMUNICATING & INFLUENCING 9 3. CUSTOMER FOCUS 11 4. EMBRACING CHANGE 13 5. EQUALITY & DIVERSITY 15 6. LEADERSHIP 17 7. TEAM WORKING 19 8. WORKING EFFICIENTLY & EFFECTIVELY 21 NEXT STEPS 23

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INTRODUCTION This competency framework has been developed for use by all students, especially those who are active within the Students’ Guild - either as a volunteer or as a member of part-time staff. It has been developed by us, for you; based on your feedback. You told us that you wanted a simple tool that helped you explain the depth of the brilliant things you do as volunteers or members of staff. It is because of this that the Students’ Guild has developed LAUNCH; a new approach to the existing employability support available on campus. As requested, this isn’t an award scheme and it doesn’t require you to do anything on top of what you already do. Instead, it is a self-reflective tool that helps you think about where you are on your student journey and what you might want to do to strengthen your hand before leaving Exeter. We hope that LAUNCH will be able to help you articulate the competencies you already have, whilst also suggesting ways that you can push yourself with new opportunities.

LAUNCH centres around 8 key competency areas that are the most frequently used across a number of different sectors, within a framework of 4 levels of attainment. Whilst these areas aren’t fully universal, they are common enough for them to be used as a guiding tool in developing your post-Exeter path. We thoroughly recommend students completing the Exeter Award as well as using LAUNCH. The Award is a much more rounded approach to graduate employability than LAUNCH is set out to be. Whilst LAUNCH is an entirely selfreflective exercise, the Exeter Award is a great opportunity to interact with professional advisors who can help shape your employability skills and guide you in vital techniques to help you in presentations, interviews and applications. If you have any questions about the content of LAUNCH or want advice on opportunities that can help launch your life after Exeter, please email launch@guild.ex.ac.uk

We all know that competition is tough for both employment and postgraduate courses. Having an amazing degree and having work or voluntary experience isn’t enough in this competitive world – you need to be able to articulate all of the competencies you have acquired in a way that is relevant to whichever organisation you work/ study with in the future.

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COMPETENCIES LAUNCH considers 8 behavioural competencies which each have 4 levels of attainment. These competencies have been designed to reflect the extracurricular opportunities available for students and the different levels of associated responsibility. They are also reflective of the key competencies that are of interest to many of the sectors you will be looking to work or study in after leaving Exeter.

1. COMMITMENT TO THE ORGANISATION 2. COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING 3. CUSTOMER FOCUS 4. EMBRACING CHANGE 5. EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY 6. LEADERSHIP 7. TEAM WORKING 8. WORKING EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY

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COMMITMENT TO THE ORGANISATION DEFINITION

The ability to demonstrate understanding of and commitment to the organisation and its vision and values. It is about working with consistency, integrity and accountability. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

Company loyalty and integrity are important in ensuring that student volunteers can operate in a positive and ethical way and deliver excellent services to customers. LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1 )

• Demonstrates the organisation’s values in being open and honest with customers and others

• Can explain why they perform their duties and how this meets the needs of the organisation

• Maintains confidentiality in line with organisational policy • Is committed to the organisation’s standards • Understands the business of the organisation including its vision and values • Is punctual and reliable • Acts professionally at all times • Understands how own actions impact on the organisation • Takes ownership for delivery of their own work

• Analyses own performance, offers ideas and gives feedback • Is flexible to meet the needs of customers and the organisation

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2) • Takes ownership for delivering corporate strategy • Understands and actively promotes the organisation’s standards and ethics to colleagues and others outside the organisation • Consistently demonstrates an understanding of commercial issues and risk management • Instils and embeds company loyalty and commitment in their teams

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1. COMMITMENT TO THE ORGANISATION CONT.

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Upholds at all times the fundamental values of good corporate governance • Stands up publicly for organisational values and challenges appropriately • Provides strategic direction for the organisation to improve performance • Ensures organisational compliance with legislation, regulatory requirements and best practice • Reviews visions and values of organisation to ensure continued relevance into the future

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Accepts responsibility for mistakes and learns from them • Is trusted by colleagues and managers • Ensures others receive credit for what they achieve • Is sought out by others for advice and guidance • Goes the extra mile

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COMMUNICATING AND INFLUENCING

DEFINITION The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with a diverse range of people and take account of their views. Uses well reasoned arguments to convince and persuade where necessary to achieve a win-win solution. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT? Effective communication and influencing skills are the key to creating and maintaining sustainable relationships at all levels. This will lead to a high quality and accessible service.

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 + (LEVEL 1)

• Is polite and approachable

• Considers in advance the differing needs of others and adapts style accordingly

• Listens effectively • Asks the appropriate questions to clarify understanding

• Actively initiates communication with others regularly

• Presents and passes on information promptly

• Communicates clearly and influences well under pressure

• Presents a clear, concise and well thought through case using facts and figures

• Summarises information to check understanding

• Demonstrates the organisation’s communication standards

• Uses a range of methods to influence others, e.g. explain benefits and give background information • Explains and justifies point of view and objectively discusses options

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2. COMMUNICATING & INFLUENCING CONT.

LEVEL 3 + (LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 + (LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Communicates complex information to others effectively

• Uses communication and influencing skills to progress complex situations and achieve significant impact

• Is a clear and persuasive communicator • Presents succinct, well balanced information orally and in writing, with clear outcomes

• Able to effectively present to and facilitate large influential groups, including hostile audiences

• Actively seeks to influence others prior to decisions being made

• Translates strategy into effective operational messages, easily understood at all levels

• Understands and responds to organisational politics

• Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of organisational politics and uses this effectively

• Facilitates discussions to achieve collective objectives

• Creates and implements appropriate communication strategies to support complex projects

• Creates an environment where team/s are encouraged and developed, to enable them to communicate effectively

• Ensures communication effectiveness throughout the business is continuously reviewed

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Listens to the views and opinions of others and acts appropriately

• Builds and presents a positive case stressing the benefits

• Gives the right information at the right time taking into account individual needs

• Adapts approach for different audiences and occasions

• Presents spoken and written information clearly and concisely

• Prepared to work to achieve a win-win solution where possible

• Has a polite and positive approach

• Is confident in contentious/conflict situations.

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CUSTOMER FOCUS DEFINITION

Customer focus is the commitment to putting customers first and the ability to deliver a consistently high quality service. Customers are both internal (i.e. colleagues) and external (i.e. the community, service users or other organisations). WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

All student volunteers must demonstrate a full understanding of customer needs and expectations to enable the effective delivery and development of appropriate quality services which exceed customer expectations LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1)

• Identifies and clarifies individual customers’ needs

Consistently makes decisions focussed on customer needs

• Takes pride in delivering high quality services and seeks to expand own skills

• Analyses delivery of services and provides solutions to problems

• Resolves customer enquiries promptly at point of contact and only refers to others when genuinely appropriate

• Finds different ways to satisfy customer needs

• Interacts well with all customers taking into account customers’ diverse needs • Understands all services and accurately matches these to customers’ needs • Keeps customers up to date and informed

• Constantly questions “how will this benefit the customer?” • Seeks customer feedback to investigate ways to improve customer experience • Goes beyond their day-to-day work to assist customers in a positive manner

• Deals with customers fairly and equitably

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3. CUSTOMER FOCUS CONT.

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Acts as role model in personal approach to customer focus

• Makes sure the organisation continuously develops and improves services most important to customers

• Takes time to establish underlying needs of customers beyond those initially expressed • Organises processes around customer taking account of complex and sensitive issues to meet their long term needs • Implements systems to record customer feedback and communicates ideas and information to appropriate people • Creates an environment where team/s are empowered to put customers first

• Identifies good practice and solutions and integrates into service provided • Translates operational feedback into strategic improvements • Forms strategic and diverse groups/ partnerships to improve services • Recognises need for developing new customer bases and acts accordingly

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Treats all customers with respect • Responds to all customer enquiries promptly, positively and courteously • Asks appropriate questions to identify customers’ needs • Tries to see things from the customer’s point of view

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• Brings ideas of ways to improve policies, procedures and service delivery to meet customers’ needs • Actively requests feedback from customers and acts constructively upon both positive and negative feedback • Goes the ‘extra mile’ for customers


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EMBRACING CHANGE DEFINITION

The ability to plan for, adapt to and work with a variety of situations, individuals and groups. It is having a positive attitude to change and the ability to identify opportunities to improve performance. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT? The ability of student volunteers to adapt to changing demands and work, now and in the future, is crucial in delivering a high performing service.

LEVEL 1 • Is open to new ideas and listens to other people’s points of view • Adjusts to peaks and troughs of workloads • Always gives their best – is positive about change • Covers for colleagues when needed

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1) • Contributes positively to the change process and sees change as an opportunity to improve performance • Recognises the impact of change on others and supports them through it • Uses an awareness of the bigger picture along with common sense to interpret and implement policy

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2) • Translates strategic vision into practical and achievable plans • Works positively in ambiguous situations • Proactive in identifying barriers to change and seeking ways to overcome them • Promotes a learning culture, committed to continuous improvement and development • Overcomes resistance to change • Constantly reviews own and section objectives to ensure they support the organisation’s longterm strategic objectives • Creates and articulates a vision that generates excitement, enthusiasm and commitment • Uses intuition as well as complex analysis to create a new concept or approach not obvious to others.

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4. EMBRACING CHANGE CONT.

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3) • Encourages others to create strategies and innovative services • Ensures that the external environment and Government policies are considered when • determining strategic direction

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Shows commitment to the long-term goals of the organisation

• Explains the benefits of decisions to team members or colleagues

• Gets involved in shaping new ways of doing things

• Works towards planned career goals and personal ambitions

• Supports organisational objectives even when disadvantageous in own areas

• Is able to think on their feet

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EQUALITY & DIVERSITY DEFINITION

The recognition and valuing of difference in the broadest sense. It is about creating a working culture and practices that recognise, respect, value and harness diversity for the benefit of the organisation and all individuals, acknowledging that we are all representatives of our organisation. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

All student volunteers need equality and diversity competence to engage creatively and effectively with each other, our customers and our partners, and to ensure compliance with legislation.

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1 )

• Treats everyone with respect

• Actively demonstrates an interest in different experiences and backgrounds

• Open to new ideas and ways of working • Demonstrates curiosity and seeks information • Receptive to the positive contribution others can make • Builds trust and communicates respect for others • Considers impact of own actions on others • Challenges inappropriate behaviour

• Seeks out, recognises and uses what people from different backgrounds and experiences have to offer • Sets a personal example of good equalities practice at all times • Understands different learning styles • Understands the impact of hate crime, harassment and unlawful discrimination

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5. EQUALITY & DIVERSITY CONT.

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Develops a culture of opportunity, equality and diversity

• Strategic decision making reflects a good understanding of cultural issues and perspectives gained through consultation with others

• Empowers people to achieve best practice in this area • Adapts to different audiences • Demonstrates integrity and consistency in decision making • Ensures team members value the diversity of everyone they work with and integrates people of different backgrounds and experiences into teams effectively • Demonstrates clear and consistent leadership in promoting equal opportunities • Ensures full access to services for all

• Demonstrates ability to incorporate ideas and concepts that creatively challenge norms, to allow for greater fairness, opportunity and diversity • Is aware of their own leadership style and is committed to bring the best out in others • Considers how new legislation, EU directives and guidance are integrated into strategy and plans how to manage this • Works with partner organisations better provide services for all minority groups

• Deals efficiently and fairly with clear cases of evidenced wrongdoing

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Receptive to new ideas and differences • Demonstrates a willingness to understand how equality and diversity can impact on the way services are delivered • Observes personal impact in interactions with colleagues, customers and partners and adapts behaviour that is both consistent and appropriate • Recognised as an effective communicator in a range of situations

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• Demonstrates critical self-reflection and judgement actively demonstrating an interest in different experiences and backgrounds • Seeks out, recognises and uses creatively what people from different backgrounds and experiences have to offer • Considers impact of own actions on others • Is aware of and updates their knowledge and responsibilities under equalities legislation


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LEADERSHIP DEFINITION

Leadership is the clear setting of goals and objectives linked to the organisation’s vision. It is also about encouraging, supporting and inspiring others to develop confidence, capability and to realise their full potential. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

Organisations need individuals to demonstrate positive leadership qualities and to motivate and support others to achieve organisational, team and personal objectives.

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1 )

• Leads by example

• Sets and communicates clear direction

• Treats people fairly and consistently

• Understands in depth what motivates and encourages team members and colleagues

• Generates a team spirit • Gives appropriate recognition for success or good performance

• Trusts staff to deliver work once delegated appropriately • Secures necessary resources and support • Provides supportive environment and removes blocks to effective working to ensure well being • Encourages work life balance

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6. LEADERSHIP CONT.

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Gives timely and specific feedback on what has been done well and where there is room for improvement

Articulates a vision that creates excitement, enthusiasm and commitment from others

• Encourages and seeks out feedback and makes positive improvements regardless of how the feedback was given • Is aware of own leadership style and adapts to get the best out of others

Is a dynamic and inspirational leader Happy to recognise individuals with skills that surpass their own and utilise them to achieve a better outcome

• Recognises potential in others and encourages self development • Delegates to develop skills of others

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Empowers team members to come up with their own solutions to problems rather than solving the issue themselves • Uses coaching and/or mentoring to develop the skills of others • Delegates work effectively to continually develop team members

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• Gives effective feedback and checks that team members are clear about what is expected • Models behaviours expected within the team • Has a clear vision that inspires the team to follow • Encourages team members to try innovative approaches and think ‘outside the box’


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TEAM WORKING DEFINITION

Using interpersonal skills to work co-operatively with colleagues, internal and external partners, working pro-actively across cultures and organisational boundaries, sharing information, new knowledge, innovation and ideas. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

To ensure that people work co-operatively together sharing best practice, breaking down departmental barriers and communicating fully on new initiatives to achieve organisational goals.

LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1 )

• Co-operates with others

• Actively includes individuals from a diverse background and cultures in team activities

• Asks colleagues for help when needed • Puts in extra effort to share the load willingly • Recognises that the way different departments, communities and cultures work are not the same • Responds positively to requests for help from internal and external partners • Is courteous, tactful and diplomatic • Works with others to ensure projects and tasks are complete

• Spends time thinking through issues with others utilising their skills and making them feel valued • Speaks positively of others and gives praise and credit when due and contributes feedback where necessary • Understands what others need to know and keeps them informed • Encourages and supports other colleagues • Builds good relationships with others

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7. TEAM WORKING CONT.

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Networks effectively both internally and externally

• Creates new opportunities for individuals to work together

• Addresses conflicts or issues within the team in a timely, positive and confidential manner

• Breaking down barriers that get in the way of effective team working and challenges others to do the same

• Initiates meetings with colleagues and external partners to share information • Puts team decisions above personal interests • Works to develop a one team culture across the organisation • Actively gives and receives feedback to improve performance

• Develops dynamic ways to introduce new strategies to improve partnership working • Regularly maintains networks and contacts • Promotes partnerships as a means of shaping and delivering services to the community

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Has a clear understanding of team goals and ensures a professional service is delivered at all times

• Understands and considers the impact their behaviour has on others

• Treats all team members with respect

• Makes best use of team and organisational resources, including time, ideas and finances

• Has a ‘can do’ attitude to achieving team goals

• Willing to share

• Is supportive of other team members, showing diplomacy, patience and care

• Seeks out ways to improve team performance.

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WORKING EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY DEFINITION

Producing high quality services which offer best value within the agreed timeframe irrespective of obstacles. Being creative and practical in developing new ways of working. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT?

To deliver products and services which are creative, innovative and culturally appropriate. It is making changes that increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our work and of the organisation. LEVEL 1

LEVEL 2 (+ LEVEL 1 )

• Ensure own targets are completed

• Uses own knowledge and expertise to develop new ways of working

• Keeps people informed of progress on key tasks • Refers to others when necessary • Checks for accuracy to get things right • Plans and organises to cater for peaks and troughs in workloads • Looks for and suggests ways to improve current working practices • Learns from mistakes • Takes responsibility for achieving results

• Obtains and uses necessary information to make decisions • Demonstrates high personal standards as an example to others • Considers impact of own actions on others • Monitors and evaluates own performance against targets • Remains focused when faced with competing demands • Allocates time and resources to reflect priorities

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8. WORKING EFFICIENTLY & EFFECTIVELY CONT.

LEVEL 3 (+ LEVELS 1 & 2)

LEVEL 4 (+ LEVELS 1, 2 & 3)

• Takes responsibility for making decisions to move things forward

• Able to identify and put a business case forward in response to changing needs of the organisation

• Plans ahead and is able to spot opportunities to develop new approaches, products and services to meet organisational needs • Encourages organisational learning and continuous improvement • Demonstrates integrity, fairness and consistency in decision making • Sets demanding but achievable objectives for self and others • Achieves results through effective management of self and others

• Works collaboratively with external partners to ensure keeps abreast of new developments • Ensures work processes and projects are well targeted, managed and evaluated to deliver strategic aims • Challenges the ‘status quo’ and takes appropriate risks in order to identify new and better ways of improving strategic performance • Works and develops new initiatives that contribute to the development of the organisation

POSITIVE INDICATORS: • Sets aside thinking time to come up with more creative ways of doing things • Asks colleagues to identify key factors that hinder performance and use these to plan improvements • Takes advantage of new technologies

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• Looks to other areas for good ideas • Is willing to be different • Has a ‘can do’ attitude • Needs minimal supervision to obtain high quality outcome


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NEXT STEPS

The top UK employers report that over half of all graduate posts will be filled with individuals with previous work or volunteering experience. Volunteering or working alongside your studies can make a huge difference to your wellbeing, making the most of your Exeter experience and your future prospects. We hope the competencies outlined in this document help you translate the amazing work you do, week-inweek-out into a post-Exeter path that is the one you want. If you are keen on furthering your understanding of your full offering to a future employer, please make sure you engage with the Exeter Award (www.exeter.ac.uk/exeteraward), in order to take advantage of that scheme’s wider range of activity. Please make sure you let us know if you have any questions (launch@guild.ex.ac.uk) or by speaking to a member of staff in one of our volunteering areas.

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The University of Exeter Students' Guild Competency Framework. A behavioural guide for outstanding student leaders.