It’s reasonably obvious to state that all businesses are in their own way different. The motivators, expertise, personality traits, and skills & abilities, that drive performance excellence within each role within a business will significantly differ from one business to another. So how do we capture these drivers and appropriately utilize them to maximize a culture of performance excellence within all aspects of the employee lifecycle? The most impactful way is to develop and implement a competency framework. This framework clearly defines the performance and behavioural expectations of the business to each individual employee.


Definition of Competency

A competency framework is a combination of skills, and knowledge behaviours that facilitate an individual to successfully perform a task or activity within their role.

Competencies are observable behaviours or expertise that can be measured and evaluated.


What is a Competency Framework?

A competency framework is a formalised model that outlines what performance excellence looks like within a business, it also aligns with the mission and vision and goals of the organisation.

 A competency framework typically includes:

Behavioural Competencies

 Behavioural competencies provide the foundation of the competency framework. They outline the expected behaviours required by all employees within a business. The expectation is defined according to the tier that a role falls under. A tier is characterised by assessing the role complexity, level of responsibility and seniority of a role.

Functional or Technical Competencies

Functional or Technical Competencies are defined by the duties and responsibilities or technical requirements of each role. These are more specific and apply to a specific job role. For each competency, the definition outlines in simple terms the meaning of the competency and the performance standard required to meet the expectation of the business.


Why should a business consider implementing a Competency Framework?

The key benefit is that it provides a platform for ensuring all employees have a clear understanding of the level of performance, behaviours and functional or technical expertise required to achieve performance excellence. Performance excellence = Business success!

Competencies provide individual employees with a very clear indication of the behaviours and actions that will be valued and recognised within a business. It further allows a business to align its employees’ knowledge, skills and capabilities with the priorities of a business, and therefore drive improvements and allow a business to operate more efficiently.

Some key benefits of having a competency framework include:

  • Setting expectations that are clear and guide employees in how they can be accountable for behaviours that are aligned with the businesses mission, vision, culture and goals;
  • Adopting a shared language that describes what is needed and expected in the business;
  • Adopting a consistent framework that is embedded in processes across all aspects of the employee lifecycle;
  • Having the ability to effectively assess skill gaps (at both the individual and business-wide level) and then address the gaps quickly and effectively;
  • Having the ability to determine an individual’s strengths and then nurture and develop these further.


How would a business utilise a competency framework?

Once defined, competencies should be embedded in many aspects of the employee lifecycle including:


Competencies allow a business to ensure that when they are designing roles, that they have the necessary skills, behaviours and attributes required to ensure a consistent performance standard across the business.


Competencies can form an integral part of every recruitment and selection process. They will support the assessment of candidates in determining their suitability for roles within a business.

Performance Management & Development

Competencies define the standards by which an employee’s performance is assessed. It allows a business to define individual and business-wide training and development requirements.

Career Mapping and Succession Planning

Competencies allow the assessment of all employees against role-specific performance standards. This allows a business to map out potential career journeys for employees. It also assists in identifying when an employee may be ready for a promotion and helps facilitate robust talent review and succession planning processes.


About Employment Innovations

Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.



The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.