How should a competency framework be designed, and does it need to be customised?



The key purpose for a competency or capability framework, and the tools and techniques that are implemented in measuring them, is to capture the perception of a person’s capability, proficiency, and skill. Best used as part of a multi-rater feedback process, it is a mechanism to develop your people in the most effective way, to ensure they are displaying behaviours required in their jobs, and to help grow your business.

Traditionally, competency frameworks have been considered complex and scientific, an equation that can only be solved and interpreted by psychologists and master consultants with accreditations and certifications. Organisations would (and still do) purchase off-the-shelf frameworks, and the technology that supports them, because of the perceived value of the content. 

A major advantage of these off the shelf frameworks is still that you get instant access to expert content creation and global benchmarks, and can align to development opportunities that arise from that. However, in a world of agile, digital workforces, with ever-increasing diversity and more sophisticated ways of working, the argument for creating your own customised framework becomes compelling. 

There are expert frameworks available, and the blended approach of combining these with standard frameworks can be the best way forward for a project. Building your own framework allows you to tailor it to your needs, values, leadership styles and culture. You can create more nuance in your language and align it to your organisation and purpose of the assessment much more directly.

Through 21 years of customising our 360-degree feedback software around the frameworks of some of the largest organisations and management consultants in the world, we’ve been able to see what best practice really looks like. The more projects we see, the more we realise that there’s no one size fits all approach, but organisations are increasingly becoming better equipped to build their own frameworks internally, and this can lead to a more efficient and effective implementation of employee feedback. 



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