Competency Frameworks

by Julia Miller

Design your own competency framework

If you want to design your own competency framework, there are many training and development consultancies to help you and there are also courses you can go on. If you want to have a go now, this page includes a variety of checklists and questions for you to use for writing competencies for your team, department or organisation. Use the Examples as a basis, if you need some ideas to get started.

Remember to talk to your people about what they see as the behaviours that really make the difference at work.

Design the competency framework

Think about what your competency framework might look like:

  • Do you want to divide your competencies into domains?
  • Might you want to cluster your competencies, and then sub-divide?
  • How many levels might there be?

Look at the Examples page to see how others have used the concepts of domains and levels to make their framework structure understandable.

Consider eight core competencies for:

  • You
  • Your team
  • Your department
  • Your organisation

You need to think about how you are going to gather your evidence to identify those behaviours which make the difference. This evidence needs to be gathered in the form of documentation and also through interviews or discussion. You might want to gather your documentation first, as it could give you focus for your interviews and discussion groups.

Ask yourself:

  1. What could you use to benchmark?
  2. Are there any role models or recognised star performers whose behaviours you could identify and model?
  3. Who could you ask: your boss, your colleagues, your customers or suppliers?
  4. Are there similar roles you could compare your competencies with?
  5. Within your organisation, what might an engineer and an accountant have in common? These could be your core competencies. This might include the need for skills in communication, team-working and problem solving.
  • Keep focusing on behaviours, but remember competency statements also relate to skills, knowledge and attitude.
  • Make your statements outcomes-based so that they are easier to measure.
  • Remember that it is likely that there will be some common leadership and business competencies.
  • Check against any relevant technical institute

Measure your competencies

Now that you have written your core competency statements, how are you going to measure them? Make sure you design your ratings scale so that you can get a variation in response, you don’t want everyone to get a middle score all the time.

Next steps

What else might you want to do? How could you involve 360 degree feedback? You could check the 360 Degree Assessment topic and consider how you would design a 360 degree process for your team, using the competency framework you have created.

Look at behavioural change

If you wanted to change someone’s behaviour as a result of their competency rating, how might you approach this? Which would be easiest to change: skills, knowledge or attitude?

Measure yourself


You might find some help in other topics, such as Rapport, Political Intelligence or Listening Skills.

Now you have designed, reviewed and finalised your core competencies, ask yourself:

  1. What level am I at for each competency?
  2. Which level would I like to develop first?
  3. Which particular skills, behaviours, attitudes and behaviours might I like to acquire and how could I go about it?