Building Competency Profiles? 5 Tips for Success

Are you wondering about what competency profiling/competency mapping method to use or who to involve or how to go about validating competencies or even when you should be updating them?

Let’s take a look at each of these questions and 5 tips for how to make your competency profiling project more manageable.

Tip #1

Involve the Right People

You will need subject matter experts (SMEs) to select the competencies. SMEs should have a deep understanding of the requirements of the role(s). They should be representative and fully cover all aspects of the role(s) you are profiling (i.e., geography, function, years of experience, etc.). They should also be credible and respected within the organization to build more buy-in for the initiative.

Tip #2

Pick a Competency Mapping Method That’s Right for You

The approach or method of competency mapping you choose will depend on who and where your subject matter experts are located. One competency mapping method may not work for all groups.

You could send out a survey that asks the SMEs to select the competencies. This can be a great choice when you have SMEs in different locations. You can also hold a focus group (in-person or virtually) with a smaller group of SMEs. This is a great approach to build consensus and can help to make the process more efficient. You can also interview a SME one-on-one. This works well when you have one all-knowing SME and few people in a role, or if the SME’s opinion is important for ensuring buy-in.

Tip #3

Create a Shortlist of Competencies

Start by creating a shortlist of 10 or so potential competencies. You do not want to give SMEs a long list of competencies to choose from as it can make competency profiling seem overwhelming. To create a shortlist, review internal documents like job descriptions or learning and career paths, review industry models and frameworks, and consult internal subject matter experts.

Tip #4

Validate Your Competencies

The final step of building competency profiles is validating your competencies to ensure that the competency profiles are accurate. Think of it as a double-check to ensure that you got things right. To validate the profiles, it is often helpful to bring in a second group of subject matter experts (one to three) and have them confirm that the profiles accurately reflect the critical requirements for the job. You want to make sure that there are no missing competencies and that the stages of development make sense for each role. During this meeting, it can be beneficial to have one of the original subject matter experts attend who can speak to why the initial group arrived at the decisions they made. One additional benefit of validation is that it allows you to engage additional stakeholders to build buy-in for the project.

Tip #5

Keep Your Competency Profiles Up to Date

It is important to ensure that your competency profiles remain up to date. If you make changes to how your jobs are structured, then you will likely need to update your competency profiles as well. It is a good idea to conduct a review of your competencies and competency profiles every two years or so to see if there is anything that has changed.

Follow these 5 tips to make competency profiling more manageable, so that you can accurately identify the requirements for success for all your jobs in record time, without the stress.