Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari

Latest News, Events and Research

Designing a competency framework


A competency framework defines the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for people within an organisation. Each individual role will have its own set of competencies needed to perform the job effectively.

Developing this framework requires an in-depth understanding of the roles within your business. It can take considerable effort; to make sure the framework is actually used as needed, it’s important to make it relevant to the people who’ll be using it so they can take ownership of it.

The following principles are critical when designing a competency framework.

Involve the people doing the work

Competency frameworks do not necessarily need to be developed solely by HR people, who don’t always have sufficient knowledge of each individual job role. Nor should they be left only to managers, who don’t always understand exactly what each member of their staff does every day.

To understand a role fully, you have to go to the source – the person doing the job – as well as getting a variety of other inputs into what makes someone successful in that job.

Ultimately, when you are designing a competency framework it needs to be a consultative process that takes in to account the views and opinions of everyone within the organisation. This enables you to get a sense for what would work best, and ensures that you are meeting best practice.


People tend to get nervous about performance issues. Let them know why you’re developing the framework, how it will be created, and how you’ll use it. The more you communicate in advance, the easier your implementation will be.

Use relevant competencies

Ensure that the competencies you include apply to all roles covered by the framework. If you include irrelevant competencies, people will probably have a hard time relating to the framework in general.

For more information send us an email to hello@insight-hrc.co.uk, or find us on Twitter @Insight_HRC.

    Subscribe for news and advice...

    Insight will use the information you provide on this form to contact you to inform you of any News relating to Insight. Any email address you supply will never be sold to third parties.

    You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at hello@insight-hrc.co.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information please see our privacy policy. We use Mailchimp to send our email updates. By clicking above to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provide will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing in accordance with their Privacy Policy.