The Power of Competency Management

18 Mar 2021 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Well-designed and implemented competency frameworks, sometimes referred to as models, provide metrics for selecting talent, developing individuals’ skills, and evaluating their performance equitably.

Without frameworks that reflect their values and align with their objectives, organizations are likely to place people in inappropriate roles, miss growth goals, and see declines in employee engagement and customer loyalty.

Clear competency definitions that align with an organization’s priorities and set accurate expectations for specific job roles help embed its vision and values into its expectations of employees’ capabilities and behaviors.

What is a Competency Framework?

As explained in Talent Transformation: Develop Today’s Team for Tomorrow’s World of Work, organizations group individual competency definitions into competency frameworks that describe the required knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and experiences employees need to succeed.

Competency definitions describe the required performance environment—the physical setting in which an individual or team performs a task, including elements such as information, job aids, tools, workspace, air quality, noise level, and lighting—and the levels of potential performance. These definitions explain what’s needed to perform successfully in a role; they help us understand what we need to measure to determine if someone is suitable for that role.

A competency framework that incorporates well-defined competencies provides a useful reference point for other talent management functions:

What are the Benefits?

A well-designed competency framework helps stakeholders at every level of an organization:

  • Senior leaders gain a reliable basis for talent decisions about who should fill available positions and what their organization’s strategic development requires. These frameworks, which align HR’s strategies with those of the entire organization, can be revised and clarified to meet changing priorities.
  • Managers obtain critical targets for talent acquisition, development, evaluation, and reskilling. Managers who adhere to these frameworks can confirm that their decisions are fair and match up with the rest of the organization.
  • Employees at all levels learn how to achieve desired results in their current role and prepare for the future roles they want.
  • The HR Team gets a roadmap for building and connecting talent management systems, with competency profiles at their fingertips for recruitment, onboarding, performance appraisal, and professional development.

Using Competency Frameworks

Popular applications of competency frameworks include:


Organizations that clearly define the skills, capabilities, and behaviors they need for specific roles are far more likely to fill positions quickly and appropriately than those who don’t pin down these details. Participating in interviews and assessments that align with competency frameworks helps new hires understand what their jobs will require and prepare for what’s ahead.

Learning and Development

Competency frameworks offer a roadmap for assessing performance, providing feedback, prescribing learning programs, and charting future professional development plans.

Succession Management

Leaders seeking talent to fulfill organizational goals need clear standards for assessing individuals at all levels. Data from assessments that reflect those goals make it possible to pinpoint talent gaps and identify individuals’ suitability for particular roles.

Performance Management

By articulating the skills, capabilities, and behaviors that bring success, competency frameworks give leaders and managers road maps for how to create performance plans that achieve desired objectives and outcomes.

Career Planning

Employees and managers who stay informed about critical skillsets and mindsets for job success can chart practical professional development plans and prepare knowledgeably for what’s next.

Cultivating Organizational Culture

Competency frameworks that incorporate organizational values articulate and reinforce behaviors that align with those values. If an organization wants to build an inclusive culture, competency definitions can name the behaviors that contribute to inclusiveness – such as psychological safety and empathy.

Talent Analytics

Clear competency definitions provide a foundation for measuring people’s capabilities. They give leaders a basis for analyzing data that compares an organization’s performance, such as productivity and customer satisfaction, to data from competency evaluations. They also help managers identify the competencies that differentiate individuals’ performance levels and identify those most likely to succeed.

Steps for Success

Organizations that develop competency frameworks that align with organizational imperatives and apply these frameworks to all job roles enjoy tremendous advantages. They gain valuable insights about the talent they need to grow and innovate, the competencies they need to build, and ways in which their talent management systems must improve.

Start on the Right Foot

Designing a competency framework begins with discussing the organization’s challenges and selecting the competency definitions to be included within the framework. Job Task Analysis (JTA) makes it possible to tease out critical tasks and discover their importance, difficulty, and frequency. For an existing role, this is a matter of analyzing each task by surveying and interviewing the individuals—preferably experts—who already perform it. For a new or changing role, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) collaborate to determine the details of the tasks it will entail.

Relating competencies directly to organizational strategies and goals encourages stakeholders at all levels of the organization to support the process. It’s also crucial to consider how competencies will be used and applied within talent management systems. Competency definitions should note specific skills, capabilities, and behaviors to match each role to ensure clear expectations. And organizations must ensure that staff members know how to use these definitions.

Build in Sustainability

Competency frameworks are of little value without accountability. Who will be in charge of supporting competency applications? How will they evaluate competencies’ strong points and weak points and revise those that don’t serve the organization well? And how quickly will they be able to respond to changing needs? Is there a process of evaluating return on investment?


Carefully planned and designed competency frameworks help keep organizations on track as they pursue their objectives. Once in place, these frameworks need ongoing review and revision to meet changing needs and demands. Consistently communicate the benefits of competency frameworks, monitor results, and inform stakeholders about progress to build support across the organization.

Learn more about the value of competency definitions and frameworks by visiting the Talent Transformation Guild.

$What are the Essential Management Competencies for Business. Learn the value of competency management on how it can help build a strong organizational management$

#competencymanagement #jobcompetency #futureofwork 

About the Talent Transformation Guild

The Talent Transformation Guild provides resources for professionals that are preparing for upskilling being triggered by 4th industrial revolution and accelerated by Covid-19. Members include c-level executives, human resource professionals, consultants, and coaches. As a member-driven organization it promotes best practices via webcasts, webinars, podcasts, articles, white papers, research and conversations to improve and make the best of the talents of individuals for the benefit of themselves and the organisations they work for.

The Guild enable stimulating and meaningful discussions to help professionals prepare for talent transformations at individual, team and organizational levels. The Guild supports the Talent Transformation Pyramid, an open source model, designed specifically to recognize the widest possible range of talent influencers and skills. To date many decision-makers are caught in traditional, linear thinking and immediate concerns to consider this. The Talent Transformation Pyramid enables you to address the challenge by promoting more strategic thinking with a focus on an organization’s readiness to perform.

About the Future of Work

According to the World Economic Forum, new and emerging technologies are affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. This new era will build and extend the impact of digitization in new and unimaginable ways. The Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as the advent of “cyber-physical systems” involving new capabilities for people and machines. This will see new ways for technology to become embedded within societies and even our bodies.

With process automation, robotic automation, the internet of things the nature of work will change. Some analysts predict that more than 40% of tasks currently performed by humans will be delegated to machines. This does not mean that 40% of people will be put out of work but it does mean that most workers will have to upskill. HR experts are predicting this will dramatically change the landscape of our workforce.

About the Guild's Founders

Eric Shepherd an accomplished leader of international businesses and associations focused on talent, assessments, and success. Eric recently stepped away from a CEO role where he worked to build a SaaS company into a multi-million-dollar international assessment software business. Eric has also led industry and standards initiatives to promote best practices for assessments, learning, and interoperability. He currently serves as Chair of the IEEE P1484.20.2 working group developing Recommended Practice for Defining Competencies. Eric has previously served on Boards and working groups for:

  • HR Open Standards that defines interoperability standards for HR technology.
  • Association of Test Publishers and the European Association of Test Publishers that represents providers of tests and assessment tools.
  • The IEEE P1484.20.1 Standard for Learning Technology—Data Model for Reusable Competency Definitions working group.
  • IMS which defines interoperability standards for educational technology. 

Eric was instrumental in developing the IMS QTI interoperability standard and assisted with the US Department of Defense Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative to define the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) and the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) to define launch and track standards for Learning Management Systems.

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