Getting the best from your competency framework

The competency framework makes it clear to employees what skills they need to develop, and what behaviors they should demonstrate to be successful in their roles.

Written by Mind Tools
Published 24 April 2014
Getting the best from your competency framework

Managers can also use it to identify talent gaps in their teams, and to manage people's performance.

However, many organizations don't make the most of their competency frameworks, because they don't use them effectively once they've set them up.

In this post, we outline some of the ways that you and your L&D team can make better use of your existing competency framework.

Map competencies to learning interventions

Competency frameworks communicate what people need to learn and do to be successful in their roles. But it's not always clear how people can develop the skills described within them.

This is why it's so important to map competencies to specific learning interventions, such as online resources and training programs, and then to tell people about this appropriately.

Review for relevance

A competency framework won't be useful unless it's relevant to the roles that it covers. But, when it includes irrelevant competencies, people find it difficult to understand how using the framework will help them perform more effectively.

To ensure that your framework remains relevant, review it regularly to identify what has changed in people's roles. For instance, what processes, models, and information do team members use to do their jobs effectively? Have any of these changed since the last time the framework was reviewed?

It's important to ask employees for their input as part of this. Managers may not fully understand what every member of staff does each day - you'll likely need to talk to the people who actually do the jobs to identify changes that haven't been formally documented.

Keep frameworks simple

As you update your framework, make sure that you use simple language; and ensure that you distill complex behaviors into clear, understandable points, that are easy for people to grasp.

Also, bear in mind that the more competencies you have within a framework, the more likely people are to lose focus on what they need to learn to be successful. You may need to prioritize competencies and include only the most relevant ones in your framework.

Engage people

It's easy for people to forget about the competency framework as they concentrate on their day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

To keep people engaged, make sure that the framework is easily accessible. For instance, you could display it in prominent places within the organization, and you could put up posters about it in areas where people tend to congregate.

"Market" the framework actively to remind people how it helps the company achieve its mission, and to explain how it will help them develop the skills they need to succeed as individuals.

You can also share stories and examples of how employees have used the competency framework to be successful.

Importantly, continue to communicate the purpose of the competency framework, and highlight the benefits that it has for employees and the company.

Make using competencies frameworks part of company culture

As with any company-wide initiative, the competency framework won't be effective unless it's embedded in the way that the organization works.

Do your best to make sure that leaders and other key stakeholders continue to support the competency framework initiative. This helps ensure that it works with the organization's culture and ways of working, so that people will be supported and rewarded appropriately when they make the effort needed to develop their skills.

Also, encourage managers to talk about the competency framework with team members regularly, and remind them that they can use it to underpin team members' performance reviews and career planning.

What strategies do you use to get the most out of your competency framework? Let us know by commenting below!

About the author

Mind Tools

Mind Tools

Mind Tools was started in 1996 to offer practical online learning to people in the workplace.

By the time they joined Emerald in March 2019, they had grown into the one of the world’s most comprehensive learning resources, with millions of individual learners in 50 countries worldwide.

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