Have you ever seen a job description… you know, one that has all the job duties listed, as well as sometimes the knowledge, skills, and abilities?

Chances are that this information came from a “competency model”. In fact, if you are building a job description, developing an employee evaluation matrix, or even identifying a succession plan that helps you build capacity in your organization for others to move into higher roles over time… then you could really use a competency model!

A competency model is very much like one of the Russian Matryoshka dolls – those wooden dolls that stack one inside the other inside the other. It’s usually 3-4 layers deep. How does it work?

At its foundation, your competency model should have a fairly large list of the various knowledge, tasks, and attitudes that an employee role needs to be effective in their job. While there can be a lot of these items, you will generally group them under a few relevant topics, like “Communication” or “Product and Industry Knowledge” or “Business Operations” or “Organization and Time Management”. You then group these topics together into a few larger groups, such as “Technology” or “People Engagement” or some other terms that describe those tasks, attitudes, and related knowledge.

Each of these topics and groups have definitions that describe whatever is contained in them. For example, “Technology” for a particular role might be defined as “The use and application of various types of technical support to conduct customer service activities.” In short, a competency model states what a person needs to be able to do and think for a specific job role. That is different from workforce training, which teaches people how to do their jobs.

Why would you want a competency model? There are lots of reasons! To name a few:

  • A competency model serves as your foundation for building relevant job descriptions.

  • Competency models help you look across various roles in the company to determine where there are overlapping skill sets in some way. This enables you to save money by building foundational training that will meet the overlapping needs of all of those various roles.

  • It enables you to determine what ‘excellent’ looks like for that role. You can use this as the foundation to develop accurate performance evaluations.

  • You can use competency models to help your HR department determine the skill gaps in your organization.

  • You are able to accurately build capacity to effectively develop and deliver a succession plan.

Change by Design has deep experience in designing custom competency models, as well as being able to align your workforce development needs to competencies. We can save you money by identifying overlapping skill sets in your organization so that you don’t duplicate training. We can also help you build capacity in your organization so that your succession plan is successful.

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