Building a Competency Management Framework

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Building a Competency Management Framework

Your organization must take the time to put in place an overarching strategic plan for all phases of the design and implementation effort as depicted in the grey-shaded, outer circle of Figure 5. The four critical steps associated with effective competency management are: Plan for Impact, Design, Launch and Engage, and Optimize.


DDI effective competency management

Strategic Planning

  • Identify  stakeholders’ needs and the requirements of various talent management systems.
  • Determine launch strategies that engage employees
  • Identify metrics and measurement methods to ascertain what is working and what needs to be improved.

A McKinsey study found that organizations that planned from the outset for long-term sustainability were nearly twice as likely to be good competency implementers as those who didn’t. Why is this important? Because the good implementers were also nearly five times more likely to be successful at accomplishing their change efforts.
Once a solid foundation with a strategic plan has been set, follow the key activities below. These will ensure success as you work through the steps associated with successful implementation.


  • Tie the competencies to your business strategy.
  • Identify those competencies that are critical in all of your systems and those that are best used in specific systems (e.g., less-trainable behaviors such as adaptability in selection systems).
  • Ensure competencies are relevant to each of your target levels (e.g., individual contributors, leaders, and executives). Well-designed competency models specify by job level the competencies and behaviors appropriate to each level, and not just a single “one-size-fits-all” set of competencies.
  • To be scalable, focus on the behaviors rather than the tasks. Competency frameworks should clearly define the common key behaviors within each competency critical to effectiveness, and avoid a lot of specificity about tasks that can vary by job/role and change frequently over time.
  • To ensure scalable talent management systems, identify job families—those clusters of jobs that may have different responsibilities and titles, yet require similar competencies.
  • Focus on job transitions, areas where competency requirements change significantly (e.g., individual contributors to leaders and managers to executives).
  • Ensure your competencies are relevant to associates from all applicable cultures, functions, and locations.

Launch and Engage:

  • Plan communications targeted to each stakeholder group, establishing the value of the competencies for each group.
  • Integrate the competencies into your talent management systems in ways that enhance their impact.
  • Establish an engaging way to orient your users to— and reinforce buy-in for—the competency model.
  • Train your employees and managers to use the competencies in your talent management systems.


  • Establish ongoing accountabilities to help design talent management systems that support the model.
  • Document and share successes, and identify methods to evaluate the impact of competency applications on business and talent outcomes.
  • Gain an understanding of any challenges in applying competencies, and take action to address any issues.
  • Determine when the business strategy and the competitive situation require modifications to the competency model and quickly adapt the model to new challenges.
  • Establish ways to keep talent management systems in sync with changes in the competency model over time.

Read the rest of the White Paper here: (Reblogged from


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