Competency definitions


Quality of Work/Productivity
Customer Focus
Problem Solving/Decision Making
Legal & Regulatory Compliance
Leadership (for Managers)

Definition/behavioral indicators

Quality of Work/Productivity

  1. Takes initiative and produces results and/or services consistent with defined University standards for the position.
  2. Demonstrates attention to detail; produces work that is accurate, complete and of high
  3. Prioritizes tasks and implements efficient work procedures to maximize productivity; demonstrates project planning and time management capabilities to complete assignments ahead of schedule.
  4. Successfully overcomes obstacles and barriers to timely completion of tasks, projects and/ or goals.
  5. Cooperates with and motivates others to achieve goals and meet deadlines.
  6. Maintains a safe workplace for self and others.


  1. Demonstrates reliability, dependability and accountability in all aspects of the
    defined role.
  2. Is reliable and trustworthy.
  3. Regularly completes all duties and goals with minimal supervision or assistance.
  4. Is punctual and meets work attendance and deadline requirements.
  5. Adapts well to changes in work assignments or goals.
  6. Accepts accountability for outcomes.


  1. Operates in accordance with USC policies and applicable laws, and exhibits conduct consistent with USC’s Code of Ethics.
  2. Exhibits ethical behavior and ensures those behaviors are demonstrated by those he/she supervises.
  3. Is fair, straightforward and honest and treats others with respect.
  4. Maintains confidentiality and appropriate data stewardship.
  5. Reports ethical and/or policy violations as appropriate.
  6. Supports diversity and creates an inclusive environment of mutual respect and collegiality.
  7. Holds self, co-workers, and those he/she supervises to the highest standards.
  8. Rewards and disciplines employees who exhibit and/or fail to exhibit ethical conduct and commitment to USC values.
  9. Discloses and/or alerts to possible signs of conflicts of interest.


  1. Is effective in interpersonal interactions as well as communicating both verbally and in writing.
  2. Shares pertinent information and ideas with others as appropriate.
  3. Listens carefully, and is open to other points of view and accepts constructive feedback.
  4. Uses appropriate language, tone, style and structure in all communications.
  5. Fosters and maintains effective work relationships.

Customer Focus

  1. Effectively applies knowledge of departmental service or product to best satisfy the customer’s needs and expectations.
  2. Resolve customer questions and/or complaints efficiently, effectively, and professionally.
  3. Demonstrates a sense of urgency and responsibility to consistently provide service at all levels.
  4. Is committed to increasing customer satisfaction and confidence.
  5. Regularly seeks feedback and input from customers.
  6. Demonstrates consistent customer follow-up.
  7. Provides service that is responsive, courteous, and respectful.

Problem Solving/Decision Making

  1. Builds a logical approach to address problems and/or manage the situation at hand by drawing on one’s knowledge and experience, calling on other references and resources as necessary.
  2. Undertakes complex tasks by breaking it down into manageable parts in a systematic and detailed manner utilizing critical thinking and analysis.
  3. Thinks of several possible explanations or alternatives for a situation, anticipates potential obstacles, and develops contingency plans to overcome them.
  4. Identifies the information needed to solve problems effectively and communicate outcomes.
  5. Presents problem analysis with recommended solutions, rather than simply describing the problem.


  1. Thinks and operates creatively; seeks out new responsibilities; acts on new opportunities.
  2. Has significant impact in creating breakthrough products or services that fulfill an institutional need.
  3. Generates new and progressive ideas; appropriately challenges the status quo.
  4. Takes responsibility and informed risks.
  5. Supports and fosters change;encourages and rewards innovative practices.
  6. Solves problems creatively and independently.


  1. Interfaces and works with internal and external team members in ways that foster optimal team interaction and results.
  2. Meets team deadlines and responsibilities; keeps stakeholders informed appropriately.
  3. Listens to and values others’ opinions, promoting a collegial team atmosphere.
  4. Supports, assists, and empowers team leaders while also leveraging own expertise to accomplish group goals.
  5. Contributes to effective team processes and deliverables (e.g., team communication, team meetings, team exercises, etc.).

Legal & Regulatory Compliance

  1. Maintains awareness of applicable laws and regulations, and adheres to requirements.
  2. Holds self and others accountable for compliance; rewards and disciplines employees who exhibit and/or fails to exhibit appropriate handling of compliance.
  3. Cooperates with investigations and responds promptly to issues raised by audit services, compliance, HR, and General Counsel.
  4. Takes responsibility and accountability for any purposeful or inadvertent violations for self or those he/she supervises.
  5. Is approachable and open to staff and subordinates in raising concerns and/or issues.

Leadership (for Managers)

  1. Establishes the vision, strategic directions and high performance culture within his or her area of responsibility; exhibits the ability to build trust, influence outcomes and inspire others to effectively deliver results that positively impact the institution.
  2. Manages staff in planning and organizing projects and resources; develops goals and accountabilities; ensures effective execution and delivery of results, defined goals, and objectives.
  3. Develops self and others; is approachable to subordinates; fosters a culture of mutual respect, continuous learning, innovation; and focus on results.
  4. Makes adjustments to strategy and organizational direction as appropriate; establishes high standards of performance; provides coaching, feedback, and corrective action when necessary with fairness and consistency.
  5. Effectively allocates resources, manages budgets, and establishes metrics to minimize costs and maximize impact.