A competency framework is a structure or a model that helps an organization perform competency-based evaluations at the workplace.

While many factors contribute to the growth and success of an organization, the power of the pooled competencies of employees is one of the vital mantras for success. Competencies are skills (both hard and soft) that help a person successfully take up a role and complete tasks. Competencies differentiate top performers from all other employees.

The first step to implementing competency evaluation is to design the competency framework model. This model will help the assessor follow a set of guidelines and ensure that the assessment is done right. This article will take you through the detailed steps for creating a competency framework. We will also discuss the benefits of creating a framework.

Learn how PossibleWorks can help you

6 steps for creating a competency framework

Step 1: Define the core purpose and end goals

What is the need for a competency framework? This should be your first question when you start designing the process. What do you hope to achieve with competency evaluation? For example, let’s say you plan on spending considerable time and money creating the framework. If the end purpose does not match the efforts, then you may as well not take up the task.

The core purpose could be to identify the core competencies for each role and match them with the current skill standards. It could be to create a better learning and development platform that helps employees up-skill and re-skill. The core purpose could also be to tweak the appraisal system to be data-driven and relevant.

Here are some of the additional ways your competency framework model could help you.

  • Planning job designs and determining job content
  • Creating recruitment structures, knowing which roles can be internally filled and which need external hiring
  • Facilitating an environment of growth and development
  • Helping create inclusive reward and recognition systems

Step 2: Pick the core team

The next important step toward developing a competency framework is to pick the core team. This team would be taking charge of the process from creation until deployment. Now, the smart thing to do here would be to create diversity in this group.

Don’t have just one specific team doing the job. The team should be a mix of C-suite executives, HR business partners, operations executives, learning and development experts, and managers, to ensure there is a creative mix-up. Different people from different roles will be able to give different dimensions to the process, which is critical for the competency framework to succeed.

Before you decide on the team, make sure there are observation sessions, group discussions, one-on-one interviews, and other processes involved that help choose the right individuals with the right spirit. The most important factor here is the person’s trust in the competency evaluation process.

Step 3: Crunch data

In simple words, the more data you collect before creating the competency framework, the better the chances of succeeding. Using questionnaires, surveys, and interviews is important to get a list of competencies that people feel fit each role. In an industrial setting where the employees are not very equipped to use these tools, you can also use in-person observation to collect data.

There are a lot of such data collection tools available right now for HR experts to make the process easy. You may have all the relevant data. However, if you don’t use them right, they may not be of any use.

Step 4: Create a draft competency framework

Once you have done your research, been allotted a team, and collected basic data, you can start creating a draft framework. Start by pooling the competencies together. You can either divide them into hard and soft competencies or segregate them based on the roles. Of course, these competencies need to be named very clearly so everyone can understand them.

Competency mapping is an essential stage of developing a competency framework. You need to map the right competencies to every role or department and then try to match the existing employee competency level with that of the listed ones. One of the top benefits of a competency framework is identifying gaps in competencies, and competency mapping is an easy way of finding that.

Once you have made sub-groups of competencies, you can refine the list and group similar ones together, so that the list gets shorter and more precise.

Step 5: Validate the draft competency framework and make necessary changes

Validating the competency framework draft means asking questions to the assessment team and other relevant people about the validity of the competencies listed and identifying whether they are required or preferred. Some questions you can ask are:

  • Can an employee successfully complete a task without this competency?
  • Do all top performers in this particular role exhibit this competency?
  • Is this behaviour/skill absolutely crucial for the functioning of the role?

These questions can again be asked in the form of surveys, or group discussions. This will help validate the competencies and get a final list that works.

Step 6: Roll out the final competency framework

As you get ready to roll out the competency framework, make sure you get all the stakeholders to agree and be in sync with the framework. You can start a trial run and ask for feedback or get a small group of people to use the framework before opening it out for all employees.

You need to ensure that the framework is easy to understand and use. It needs to be as simple as possible. You can also ensure training and learning materials are available for employees about competency mapping and evaluation techniques. Here are a few things to check before you roll out the framework.

  • Is it in sync with business objectives?
  • Has the framework covered all possible roles and departments?
  • Do you have a learning platform that can match the competency gaps when identified?
  • Have you allocated time for feedback, mentoring sessions, and discussions once the competency gaps are identified?

Want to learn how to give employee feedback the right way? Check this blog out.

Benefits of competency framework

Some of the benefits of the competency framework are mentioned below.

  • Help do an assessment of existing workforce talent and its abilities
  • Helps tweak and redefine recruitment processes
  • Makes processes like job rotations valid and worthwhile
  • Makes succession planning smoother
  • Helps make optimum use of learning and development tools
  • Helps employees understand what is expected of them


Creating a competency framework model is a challenging task. However, the benefits it reaps are many, and that is why most organizations have taken up the process in depth. As an HR team, you will be able to add immense value to your organization by creating a competency framework and using it as a base for competency evaluation processes.

You can optimize the process of creating the framework by using the right tools and taking the help of experts. The right framework will only need to be tweaked periodically, but it will work perfectly well for a very long time.

Get in touch with experts at PossibleWorks to understand the best way to design your competency framework.

Are you using the right technology for your Recognition programs?

Check out our Buyer’s Guide to Employee Recognition software Or Book a Demo

Related Post