A competency framework is a method by which an organization can accurately assess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) of their employees. In addition, it also helps maintain and keep track of these competencies; a tool to measure competency levels to ensure that everyone makes significant contributions to the organization by performing in a superior manner. With a competency framework, recruitment officers will be able to effectively hire the ideal candidate they need for their company; managers will be able to make sound decisions in managing their employees; and employees will be able to develop their skill sets because they are made aware of their strengths and limitations.
To design and develop a competency framework, there are certain steps to be followed, as well as principles that will serve as guidelines to ensure that the outcome will be successful.
Competency Framework Approaches and Principles
To develop a competency framework, the first step is to understand the roles in the organization. This is made possible by taking on several approaches, such as:
- Approach 1: Note standard competencies and customize these to meet the needs of the particular organization.
- Approach 2: Hire the service of consultants to create the framework.
- Approach 3: Develop a general competency framework and use it as guide for other frameworks.
When deciding to take approaches 1 and 3, three governing principles need to be adhered to during the process of designing the framework:
1. Collaboration– To design a competency framework, it is not enough that a certain department will solely take charge of the task. Others need to be involved and should play an active part in the designing and creation of the framework. For this to be effective, the front-liners (the ones doing the job) need to contribute and share their experiences, ideas, and inputs on how to make any individual succeed in a task or job.
2. Communication– Usually, everyone gets jittery and develops cold feet when performance issues are brought up. They perceive this as something negative when this is not entirely correct. Communication is essential in such scenarios and letting members understand the essence and value of a competency framework will help them keep an open mind and accept the framework.
3. Relevance– The competences to be included in the framework should hold relevance to the roles in the organization. These should be applicable and practical to the organization in helping them achieve their goals and objectives. Valuable Qualities of a Competency Framework
For a competency framework to achieve its purpose, it should be appropriate and usable. It should meet quality standards to make it fit and relevant to its intended purpose.
These quality standards are:
- It must be clear, concise, and easy to understand.
- It must be flexible, adaptable, and dynamic.
- It must be comprised of discreet elements.
- It must be fair.
- It must be uniform.
Steps Involved in Designing a Competency Framework
To design and develop a framework, an organization needs to undergo four steps:
Step 1. Preparation. In the first step, one needs to define the reasons for making the competency framework. Define the organization’s needs and identify the scope of each job position. Along with this, one also needs to get a representative from each department or office in the organization to ensure that each competency outlined will be applicable and relevant.
Step 2. Gathering of information. Once preparation has been accomplished, data gathering of each job or role follows. To get accurate and detailed data, a series of processes need to be followed and these include: interviews, observations, surveys, and analysis.
Step 3. Building of competency framework. When step 2 has been completed, the next step is to categorize each competency component into groups and subgroups, and then classify the competency. To test the effectiveness and usability of the competency framework, a dry run or a survey must be conducted.
Step 4: Implementation. Communicate to each member the significance of the framework and how it can help each member as well as the organization in general achieve their goals. It is imperative for each member to fully understand the concept and purpose of such framework in order to win their trust and cooperation.