A competency framework is defined as a model that puts its onus on performance excellence in an organization or an industry. It includes various competencies, work methods, characteristics, and features for a specific position.
The competency framework is used in HR planning, performance management, career development, selection purposes, training assessment, talent management, and recruitment practices. It is a godsend for organizations as it helps them to coordinate business strategy and vision effectively.
What is a Competency Framework?
Every organization is different from the other, even if it belongs to the same industry. They are looking for different competencies like personality, knowledge, attributes, skills, etc. and thus create their version of a competency framework model depending on their requirements.
It is the core competencies that determine, to a great extent, the development and functional requirements of the human resources.
A competency framework is considered very useful as it offers transparency on the desired behavior in an organization.
A competency framework model helps an organization to define and measure skills like collaboration and leadership so that the employees can expand their skill-set if required.
It standardizes core competencies so that the employees have a clear understanding of how those competencies can prove beneficial for the employees as well as the organization as a whole. A competency framework is a tool that helps employees to improve their performance and achieve success.
Developing a competency framework is necessary because of the following reasons
- It helps define success in a specific role
- It is necessary to measure success in a specific role
- It helps to set expectations for all the new employees in its organization
- It is necessary to hire a competent workforce
- It helps evaluate employee performances
- It is necessary to prepare the workforce for future advancement
- It is necessary to identify the gaps in competencies
Different types of a competency framework
The various types of competency framework models are
1. Core Competencies
Most of the organizations, are not dependent on only one core competencies; instead rely also on the industry it belongs to as well as the specific requirements and duties associated with the job.
It varies in every organization and is mostly dependent upon the philosophy and values of that organization. It is also reflected through the unique characteristics and strengths of that company.
2. Behavioral Competencies
The soft skills that help an individual to gain success in their specific role in an organization is referred to as behavioral competencies. It includes the strengths and weaknesses of employees working in an organization, along with personal qualities like critical thinking, analytical skills, and decisiveness.
It should be identified in both measurable and specific contexts, as it is an essential basis for annual assessment interviews. The behavioral competencies help to validate the development of talent and play a crucial role in recruitment, personal planning, and development.
3. Functional Competencies
The technical things that are explicitly related to the job are referred to as functional competencies. It describes the behavior and skills that are needed so that an employee becomes the top performer in his job position are.
4. Leadership competencies
The competencies that are needed for management and supervisory roles are referred to as leadership competencies. It is applied to all the job positions that require an employee to lead their employees.
5. Organizational competencies
The core competencies of a company, as well as its culture, values, mission, and vision, are the ones that set the basic framework so that the work in that company can be carried out efficiently.
These are referred to as organizational competencies.
How to develop a competency framework?
Take the following steps in developing a competency model-
1. Determine the purpose
It is essential to be clear in your thought-process about the reason for creating the competency framework. Find out which manager or which department is going to use the competency framework.
Is it specifically to determine raise, or is it created to hire new employees, or is it for any other reason is a critical query that needs to be answered beforehand. Context is the soul of the framework, so determine the purpose if you are looking for ways of developing a competency framework.
2. Determine the suitable process
One organization is very different from the other, and what works for one might not work as effectively for the other. Most processes are lengthy and time-consuming, and it becomes necessary to understand which process is suitable and beneficial for your firm.
It should also be designed as a flexible model to accommodate changes in the future. Determine an appropriate process if you are looking for ways of developing a competency framework.
3. Collect the necessary information
The next step is one of the most important ones as you need to conduct thorough research before undertaking the task of creating a viable framework. It is not possible to be aware of the requirement of every job profile, so identify sources that can come to your aid.
Collect the necessary information from people who are familiar with each role if you are looking for ways of developing a competency framework. It is essential to spend both time and effort on competency analysis so that you can create a structure that will be specific for your organization. You can do so by
- Observing – Observe all the roles in the company diligently and take notes so that you can refer to them later on
- Chat and converse – Talk with individual employees as well as team members and identify the competencies that they consider most important and help them to achieve desired success. Chatting and conversing with the involved employees can make your thoughts clearly so that you can create a competency framework that will prove beneficial for every stakeholder.
- Establish core competencies – Keep your focus on the behaviors and skills of the top performers. It is time to establish what are the core competencies in the organization and how the workforce can contribute so that they can be aligned perfectly with the philosophy and work culture of the company.
- Establish job-specific competencies – What are the job-specific competencies that are required to perform well is an important query that should be answered beforehand. Remember the competencies must reflect the behavior and skill of the required role
- Establish leadership competencies – Keep your focus on the unique skills and abilities that are required at the senior management and executive level.
- Look for multiple ways – Do not be dependent on information on a single source. Look for various methods for instance survey and questionnaires as it can yield excellent results in some cases
- Finalize the competency list – Be realistic while organizing your findings. Narrow down the list by eliminating vague and far-fetched competencies so that you can avoid an invasion of unsuitable candidates for any job position. This is the time to finalize the competency list that will assist the employees in achieving organizational goals. Make sure to validate the list with all the involved stakeholders to ensure all the organizational needs are met at every level.
- Analyze – Look for specific behavior for which you are creating a competency framework and create a bulleted list of granular behavior
4. Create the framework
This is the stage where you will be developing a competency model. You have your notes and information about every aspect of the jobs in the organization. This is the time to group all the granular behavior and responsibilities into similar behaviors.
Look at each role and create as many competencies as you think are necessary for that specific role.
Make sure that you are keeping the process of competency framework organized if you are looking for ways of developing a competency framework successfully.
5. Implement the framework
The final stage of developing a competency framework is to implement the framework that you have created with lots of effort and hard work. Look at your purpose in developing the structure and explain to the workforce why it was originated in the first place.
Mention what you and the organization are hoping to achieve through this competency model and how it can benefit everyone attached to it. This is the time to make the employees aware of the end-goal of the framework. Show everyone how the model works, what is the goal of the competencies, and about the training that will be provided so that this powerful tool can help everyone.
This is the time to tell the employees about the hard work that went into creating such a tool that is specially designed for their organization and employees.
Once the employees become receptive to this model, it will make the implementation process much more straightforward. Convince them of good intentions and professional benefits to keep everyone on board.
Benefits of a competency framework
The benefits of a competency framework in an organization are as follows-
- The competency framework is beneficial for an organization as it provides a much-needed direction to the workforce so that they can align their goals with organizational goals
- The competency framework is beneficial for the workforce as it helps to achieve the desired performance
- The competency framework is beneficial as it improves communication between management and employees
- The competency framework proves productive for an organization because it is goal-oriented and cost-effective
- The competency framework is beneficial as it helps to select and interview only those candidates that are likely to succeed in the job position
- The competency framework is beneficial for the HR department as it helps them to get a complete understanding of the skills, know-how, and abilities of the entire workforce working in the organization.
- The competency framework is beneficial for HR as well as the training department as it helps to identify the various needs and requirements of the employees related to further learning and development. It ensures that opportunities related to top training and development are in perfect tandem with organizational needs
- The competency framework is beneficial for an organization as it encourages employees to take ownership of their behavior and skills that is needed from them to fulfill their roles successfully
- The competency framework is beneficial for an organization as it empowers them to keep track of the skills that the employees possess.
- The competency framework is beneficial as it provides a fair and consistent system for performance evaluation.
- The competency framework is beneficial for the employees as it gives them a more in-depth insight into the overall strategy of their organization, department, and team. It boosts employee motivation and engagement to a high degree
- The competency framework is beneficial as it provides a basis for constructive feedback
- The competency framework is beneficial for an organization during recruitment as a well-defined framework can help in the development of job postings
- The competency framework is beneficial during performance appraisal as it provides a defined list of required skills and behavior to assess employees at the time of performance review.
- The competency framework is beneficial in the development of career path of an employee as it clarifies the characteristics and skills needed for the role, recognizes the required expertise for follow-on jobs and identifies achievable benchmarks for upward progression
- The competency framework is beneficial as it helps to identify skill gaps and close them effectively. It also recognizes up-skilling opportunities for employees and measures organizations that offer full support to their employees.
- The competency framework is beneficial as it helps in succession planning. It offers a viable framework that can help in the transfer of experience, skills, and critical knowledge before succession. It provides mentoring, coaching, and training so that the candidates are prepared for the transfer of skills.
The disadvantages of the competency framework in an organization are as follows-
- A competency framework requires too many details, and its specific nature works against it. At times it becomes hard to develop and harder to maintain.
- By creating a competency framework, the organization is encouraging all the employees for a specific job position to behave in the same way. In simple language, they are creating clones and nothing else
- The competency framework does not help the organization to keep up with the changing environment at a fast pace.
A competency framework is one of the best ways to help the employees and, in turn, the organization in achieving success. It is considered a valuable tool to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as gaps in the business model.
The idea behind developing a competency framework is to find credible people to fill those gaps. No doubt, it is a time-consuming process, but the rewards are more than enough as the organization has more empowered employees to its credit than before.