Competency Frameworks

Competencies often cover a wide range of different jobs and frequently different levels of jobs. Groupings of competencies are generally referred to as competency frameworks. When competency frameworks are developed to support the needs of the business – rather than just being an end in themselves – they add significant value to the organisation and provide a common thread that holds much of the human resource processes together.

Those processes that are designed to manage and retain talented people, such as Recruitment and SelectionPerformance ManagementSuccession Planning, will be underpinned, informed and improved by using competencies, and personal and career development is also enhanced. As a result, employees will be focused on their work performance in specific, common areas and seek to develop skills that will ultimately improve their organisation’s overall performance.

In general, designing and implementing an effective, relevant and workable competency framework involves:

  • Identifying the most appropriate model for your organisation, which will depend upon:
    • Your business needs and culture
    • The intended purpose of your competency framework
    • Existing performance management processes
    • The expectations and requirements of your staff
  • Developing the required competencies (comprising title, definition, behavioural indicators and a levelling mechanism, see below*) in consultation with a cross-section of your staff. Some commonly used competencies are:

    • Teamworking
    • Planning and Organising
    • Analytical Thinking
    • Developing Others
    • Influencing
  • Drawing up an implementation plan – including a pilot or phased introduction, and associated communication strategy
  • Briefing and training all personnel on making the framework work for them
  • Managing and evaluating the implementation, and assessing how well it is becoming embedded within the organisation
  • Monitoring and reviewing the framework over time to ensure that it remains fit for purpose

* An example of how a particular competency could be set out is:

Planning and Organising   competency title
Planning, prioritising, organising and agreeing work activities for self and or others arrow for competency   competency descriptor

  • Ensures business plans are aligned with the company’s objectives
  • Develops contingency plans to address areas of particular uncertainty

    Positive behavioural indicators, applicable to senior management levels
  • Estimates resources and time scales to meet departmental objectives
  • Co-ordinates team activities to optimise performance
  Positive behavioural indicators, applicable to middle management levels
  • Manages own time effectively
  • Regularly reviews progress of own work to ensure tasks are delivered on time
  Positive behavioural indicators, applicable to first-line management levels
  • Fails to plan or prioritise work
  • Sets unrealistic targets

  Negative behavioural indicators, applicable to all levels

Benson Payne will work with you to design and implement a competency framework (or to review, evaluate and advise on your existing framework), which fulfils these characteristics and which:

  • Provides a common terminology that enables your staff to understand what “good performance” in their role looks like
  • Is structured in a way that has relevance to your staff and can be easily understood and interpreted by them
  • Assists managers throughout your organisation to assess performance in a consistent manner
  • Encourages individuals to identify and plan for future growth, for example seeking progression to other roles and developing relevant competencies needed
To gain more information or discuss how COMPETENCY FRAMEWORKS can be made to work for your organisation contact us.