Competency Modeling

Competency modeling is foundational to executing your talent management strategy.  We design custom competency models so you can hire and develop people who will thrive in your culture and drive business results.

white guy smiling

Competency modeling is the process used to define the unique sets of skills, abilities, and behaviors that employees are expected to exhibit.  Competency models are essential building blocks for critical HR processes, including recruitment and hiring, learning and development, performance management, and succession planning.  They are tools for communicating what success looks like in your organization.  And, because they are communicated at every step of the employee life cycle, they serve to define your culture.  That’s why every word in every competency definition matters.  If you want to ensure that you are sending the right messages to candidates and employees, we’re here to help.

Getting Started with Competency Modeling

The process typically starts with defining your Core Competencies.  These are the skills, abilities, and behaviors expected of all employees.  This serves as the foundation for building competency models for specific groups of employees.  Usually, this involves grouping jobs into levels, such as Individual Contributors, Managers, and Leaders.  Specific types of roles may also require a unique competency model, such as those working on global teams or in a hybrid or remote setting.  When you partner with us, we’ll uncover and deliver exactly what you need to ensure that your competency models align with your unique workforce and culture.  

The 4 M's of Custom Competency Modeling


We draw upon our expertise in behavioral science and psychometrics to ensure that every competency is precisely defined and distinct.  Remember – competencies should be observable, not aspirational.  That means no “fluff”!  You also need to be able to measure them via multiple methods (e.g., interviews, performance reviews, personality and ability assessments, etc.).  This is where we see many competency models fall short.   If you can’t measure it, your efforts are wasted. 

Mission Driven

We start with conversations with your senior leaders to understand your Mission, Vision, and Values. Every competency will tie to your organization’s purpose, aspirational future state, and core principles that guide your culture.  This is where an off-the-shelf competency model falls short.  If your competencies don’t sound like your culture, they can’t help build it.


When it comes to competency modeling, streamlined and simple is best.  Overdone competency frameworks and unwieldy definitions are too difficult to understand and implement. Everyone in your organization will be able to understand and appreciate the utility of the competency models we create.  This is where expertise is critical.  We’ve created and reviewed hundreds of competency models.  So, we know what works and what doesn’t.


This one is often overlooked.  It’s important to clearly define what you want your competency models to do.  In other words, what problem, are you trying to solve?  What impact do you want the competencies to have on your business results?   We engage you in discussion to help you identify how you will measure the impact of your competency models.  For instance, you may want to improve your hiring decisions by training managers on how to use competency-based interview guides.  Or, you may want to establish a competency-based framework for your performance management system to improve your managers’ understanding of how to use it.  Identifying evaluation metrics, and a baseline, will help you to show the impact of your work.  

Competency Modeling to Build Hiring & Development Tools

Structured Interview Guides

Structured interviews are twice as predictive as unstructured ones.  We have extensive experience writing past behavior and situational judgment items with behaviorally-anchored rating scales.  This improves the reliability, validity, and fairness of the interview process.

360-degree Feedback Tools

We can design a custom online survey or interview-based 360 that measures your competency models. With this approach, employees can see how others’ perceptions of them align with your organization’s culture and expectations. 

Objective Assessment Tools

We can customize assessments for hiring, development, or succession planning that measure your competencies using valid psychometric tests and interviews.  By mapping data points to each competency, everyone’s results are compared to the same standard every time. 

Developmental Suggestions 

We have expertise in developing suggestions for how a person can improve in a specific competency area. This includes on-the-job activities, reflections, and media resources. These can be integrated into your LMS and aligned with other L&D initiatives.

Is a Custom Competency Model Right for You?

One size doesn't fit all. For some, an off-the-shelf tool will work. For others, a custom approach is needed to get the desired results. We'll have an honest conversation to point you in the right direction.

Read about the HR competencies that the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Link to SHRM  and Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (CHRP) Link to CPHR have defined and how they developed them.