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What is a competency framework and what are the benefits of using it?

3 min reading time

No business or organisation can expect to achieve excellence without first ensuring that their workforce's values, aspirations and required skills are closely aligned with the expectations and objectives set by the wider company. The most effective way to achieve this is to first outline what is expected of employees, identify how employees can meet this standard and then measure the success and effectiveness of their progress. This process can be achieved through a competency framework. Keep reading to find out what competency frameworks are and the many benefits of implementing them with the help of an e-learning platform.


What is a competency framework?

A competency framework outlines a desired set of skills, knowledge and behaviours that an employee should have in order to effectively perform their role or profession – these are known as competencies.

For example, the type of competencies a business may expect their office receptionist to possess could be computer skills, communication skills, strong organisational skills and problem-solving skills. These competencies may be used to measure the performance of that particular role, ensuring an employee is demonstrating mastery of these skills along with an understanding of how they are expected to utilise them. The competency framework will take these competencies and map out the skills, knowledge and values required, along with identifying whether the employee currently possesses them. When delivered through an e-learning platform such as a learning management system (LMS) or a performance management system such as Totara Perform, a competency framework will not only identify the required skills but can identify how employees can obtain and develop those skills through assigning achievement paths. These achievement paths can be made up of activities such as learning plans or a manual rating of progression.

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Competencies can be grouped together based on variables such as department, organisational objectives or role-based objectives. Some examples of competency groups are:

Core competencies:

These are applicable to all roles within an organisation, they may be focussed on generic skills such as teamwork and communication or behaviours that align with core company values.

Role-specific competencies

These are focussed on the competencies required for individual roles, whilst some may be interchangeable across most roles (such as critical thinking skills), examples such as leadership skills or digital skills will only apply to a handful of roles within an organisation.


What are the benefits of a competency framework?


Supporting the onboarding process

An essential component of the employee onboarding process is clarifying what is expected of them in their new role. Producing a competency framework for new employees at the start of their employment is the most effective way to identify the competencies they should demonstrate proficiency in. Once these competencies have been outlined, employers can work alongside new starters to identify skills and knowledge gaps, and how to go about closing them.

Employers cannot expect to get the best out of their new starters if they deliver generic induction training so early L&D opportunities need to be designed with competencies in mind. Once competency gaps have been identified, employers can assign achievement paths and appropriate development plans. Progress can be measured via an e-learning platform with markers such as percentage wheels and reporting tools to serve as evidence of employee growth.


A powerful tool for HR teams

Competency frameworks are extremely beneficial for HR departments during the recruitment process. When writing a job description for new vacancies, competency frameworks can serve as a checklist to identify whether a potential candidate meets the requirements. HR teams may choose to run through these during the interview process verbally or ask candidates to complete LMS assessments designed to identify skills gaps and knowledge gaps.

competency framework for HR teams recruitment

Employee competencies can also serve as a clear indicator of whether they are suitable for other positions within the organisation, helping HR teams to identify those who could be hired internally. HR managers may choose to access competency framework records on a performance management system and analyse data to help assess a candidate's capabilities.

Additionally, giving employees visibility of competency frameworks associated with other roles can be beneficial in helping them understand what is required of them if they wish to progress in their careers and pursue other roles within the organisation.


Standardising employee objectives and values

For larger organisations, performance management and L&D initiatives will likely be administered at a departmental or team level, which can result in disparities in what is expected of employees from each segmented group. When competency frameworks are produced at an organisational level with core competencies included within each framework, employee values and objectives are standardised.

If each employee has a clear understanding of the core competencies assigned to them, organisations have a better chance of quality assurance and standardised employee output. Additionally, when an organisation creates competency frameworks at a role-specific level, it can expect a higher likelihood of strong role-based output as employees have a clear understanding of how they can achieve the best results on an individual basis.

competency framework for quality control


Creating a competency framework with a Hubken e-learning platform

Our Moodle LMS and Totara platforms allow organisations to create detailed, data-driven competency frameworks designed to get the best out of employees and achieve operational excellence. With a Totara TXP, admins can create competency frameworks delivered through individual competency profiles along with creating competency assignments and achievement paths using the entire library of LMS courses and lessons. Our TXP offering ensures that competency frameworks are effective, engaging and easy for managers and admins to analyse and adapt.

Want to find out more about how our e-learning platforms are the perfect choice to create and manage powerful competency frameworks? Book a demo with one of our e-learning experts today.

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