Developing a Competency Framework

Developing a Competency Framework

Each individual job role has its own set of competencies required to perform the job effectively. Developing a competency framework ensures better management, employee retention and a more efficient workforce. The framework enables HR and leaders to understand what is needed for each job role, identify skill gaps, centralize the recruitment process and establish effective communication across the organization. Organizations with a competency framework experience an improvement in organizational performance and clarity while making informed decisions.

A competency framework is an amalgamation of characteristics, skill sets and abilities which apply to each role within the workforce. Hence, when developing a competency framework, it is important to prepare well in advance and establish a communication pattern across the workforce which will help create a dialogue, and encourage employees to adopt the new framework enthusiastically. It is also essential to illustrate the purpose behind the framework to the employees of the organization and the potential benefits of the proposed system.

There are four main steps to developing a competency framework.

  • Step One: Prepare
    • Define the purpose – The purpose for creating a framework should be sorted before analysing jobs or figuring out what each role requires for success. How the organization plans to use it will impact how it determines the scope of the framework. For example, a framework for filling a job vacancy will be specific, however, a framework for evaluating compensation will need to cover a wide range of roles.
    • Create a competency framework team – Including team members from all departments of the organization that will use the framework will showcase the diversity of the organization. It is also important to think about long-term needs so that the framework is always updated and relevant.
  • Step Two: Collect Information
    • The accuracy of the framework depends on how much data is collected about each job type and organizational needs. Therefore, the collection of information is the main step in the formation of the framework. By surveying employees and management, it is easier to determine each employee’s proficiency within their position, understand what kind of skills are needed and assess the current skills gaps. For this reason, considering techniques for collecting information about the roles, is essential. The following techniques could be used:
    • Observe – Observing individuals while they’re performing their roles can be useful for jobs that involve hands-on labour that one can assess just through observation.
    • Interview People – interviewing individuals, groups, teams and the management help in understanding the wide variety of competencies required for the role’s success.
    • Create a Questionnaire – A survey is an efficient way to gather data. Asking the right questions while also considering the reliability and validity of the questionnaire will yield positive results. There are also standardized job analysis questionnaires that can be considered.
  • Step Three: Build the Framework
    • This stage involves grouping all of the behaviours and skill sets into competencies. This task includes:
    • Group the statements – The goal of this process is to construct groups such as manual skills, decision-making and judgement skills, and interpersonal skills. These skills include behaviour statements obtained from the workforce in the previous step.
    • Create Subgroups – After the groups have been accumulated, breaking down these large groups into subcategories of related behaviour eases the process. This provides the basic structure of the competency framework.
    • Identify and name the competencies – Identify a specific competency to represent each of the smaller subgroups of behaviours.
  • Step Four: Use a Pre-Set List
    • Using pre-set lists as a basis and expanding upon the framework helps identify the competencies required of each position within the organization and may also serve as a cost-effective solution.
    • Customise a Pre-Set List – In case the competencies required are more complex than common competency lists, personalizing a pre-set list which reflects the particular needs of the organization can yield better results.
  • Step Five: Implement
    • It is essential to keep the principle of communication in mind while rolling out the finalized competency framework. To make the framework accessible to the members of various teams at all levels of the organization, it is important to explain to them the importance of the framework and how to put it to work.

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