Competency Framework

Why Do Competency Projects Fail?

They Lack a Competency Framework

The number one reason competency projects fail is that people rush to start creating competency profiles for their jobs. They don’t spend the time developing a competency framework or roadmap that they can apply across the entire organization.

You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint. Competency profiles aren’t any different. You need a competency framework!

Let’s look at the 5 Benchmarks for creating a competency framework…

Benchmark #1

Structure of a Competency

What will the competencies you use to define your jobs look like? Do they follow best practices?

  • Does each competency have a clear definition?
  • Do the competencies describe successful performance using multiple levels or stages of behaviours?
  • Are the behaviours listed for each competency observable (i.e., would you know it when you see it)?


Benchmark #2

Types of Competencies

Which types of competencies will you use in your competency profiles?
4 types of competencies:

  1. Core – apply to all jobs and are linked to the company’s values, vision, and mission.
  2. Job Family – apply to a group of jobs that share a common function or career path.
  3. Job specific – apply to a specific job or jobs.
  4. Leadership – apply to jobs with leadership responsibilities.


  • Think about the goals that you are trying to achieve. You likely don’t need all the types in your competency framework.
  • Don’t overcomplicate things.


Benchmark #3

Job Families and Job Profiles

How many job families will you have and how many competency profiles will you build within each job family? Job families describe a collection or group of jobs that share a similar function. They make competency profiling easier and help you to identify career paths.

  • Review data and industry frameworks to see how jobs can be grouped.
  • Consider any job bands or levels you may already have in place.
  • Talk to the experts.


Benchmark #4

Leadership Competencies

How will you include leadership roles and competencies in your framework?

  • If you want to develop the cadre of your leaders, treat leadership competencies as a job family.


Benchmark #5

Number of Competencies

How many competencies will you include in one competency profile? 6-8 is ideal. Definitely no more than 10. For example, you might have 2 core competencies, 2 job family competencies, and 4 job specific competencies in each of your competency profiles.

  • Focus on the “must haves” or critical competencies rather than the “nice to have.”


5 Benchmarks of a Competency Framework

By taking the time to work through these 5 Benchmarks, you will create a roadmap or competency framework that will allow you to build profiles consistently, every time!
5 Benchmarks:

  1. Structure of a Competency: Do they follow best practices?
  2. Type of Competencies: Which types will you use?
  3. Job Families and Profiles: How many job families and profiles will you have?
  4. Leadership Competencies: How will you include leadership competencies in profiles?
  5. Number of Competencies: How many competencies will you include in your profiles?