Competency Models: What They Are and Why You Need Them

 

February 2, 2015

What is a Competency Model?

You’ve probably heard a lot about competency models. If you ask someone who knows, they’ll tell you that a competency model is the combination of skills, knowledge, and characteristics needed to perform well in a certain position. Well, okay, but what does that mean for you?

Think about all the things that make someone good at their job within your company. Maybe your company needs someone who’s tech-savvy, gets things done quickly, or can motivate other people. Regardless of what you need, those traits and skills are competencies, and all of those added together create a competency model.

Competence in any area combines many factors, including both innate and learned characteristics. Success in a competency area comes through the knowledge and understanding of these characteristics. Once you know, you can both build on your learned skills and knowledge and leverage your innate characteristics (such as natural abilities and personality characteristics) to improve job performance.

The benefits of competency models are numerous, but here are the top 4:

  • Improve your people. You gain success in a competency by developing and building learned skills and knowledge, and possessing, applying, and moderating innate factors like personality and intelligence. Having the model to compare themselves to challenges your employees to see their own strengths and weaknesses and helps guide their development in ways that benefit them as well as the company.
  • Impact business results. By identifying gaps and determining what causes problems, competency models help determine how to fix them and allocate resources.
  • Improve selection. Defined competencies help recruiters target and evaluate potential candidates, and help the organization identify, develop, and use assessments and interviews that are job appropriate.
  • Clarify work expectations. By using common language across jobs and the organization, competency models create a shared understanding of expectations among individuals, and clearly communicate consistent standards.

What are your experiences with competency models? Let us know in the comments below.