Competency Modeling

Organisations everywhere strive to deliver their business goals every day, often in fluid and rapidly changing business conditions. Their leaders focus on designing the right strategies and ensuring the best systems and processes are in place to implement them.

competency modeling

Undeniably, these are two fundamentals of business success. And a third ties them both together - people.

The extent to which an organisation's people can deliver business results is determined by their capability across the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be successful in their respective job roles. Competency modelling ensures the best strategies, systems and people are in place at the right time. 


Competencies are defined as "observable and measurable skills and behaviours that contribute to workplace effectiveness and career success".

Research into these skills and behaviours over the last three decades has revealed a set of specific competencies that contribute to being effective as a leader or manager. Interestingly, they have been found to be remarkably consistent over time and across geographies.

Of course, it is the domain of the human resources function to understand these core competencies and determine which competency requirements are most relevant to their business at a given point in time, in order to give them the competitive advantage.

Assessing competencies should be rigorous and systematic, not just a 'wish list' of senior leaders. Does this sound provocative? Not if you have followed the findings of the world's competency experts.

Sure, your CEO's current mantra may be collaboration, but what if you could enable simple ways for people to connect more easily and break down some of the silos between divisions? In this situation, would the desire for collaboration trump the need for managers to share the organisation's vision and purpose and facilitate better conversations around job performance?

A key decision to be made is whether to "buy" or "build". Should you take an existing research-based set of competencies and tailor it to your needs or develop your own home-grown model? The cost and effort involved in buying versus building a competency model will obviously be deciding factors.

Ultimately, buying an existing competency modelling framework may be more cost-effective, particularly if it has a suite of tools and resources that link to key processes such as recruitment and hiring, development planning and performance management.

Our recommendations for any organisation wanting to establish a competency framework are:

  • Build the business case to win support from senior leaders; look for champions or sponsors in key areas of the business
  • Make sure your framework fully aligns with the business strategy and build in measures up front that will enable you to demonstrate a return on investment for specific jobs and competencies
  • Think beyond the modelling stage and plan how you will prioritise and implement competencies, by developing the skill and capability that will bring greatest benefit

To find out more about how competency modelling can help your organisation, talk to one of the experts at LDN on +61 (3) 9666 3320 or email