Competence Profiling Made Simple

Competence Profiling Made Simple
Last Updated: June 29, 2022

Designing a Competency Model for your organisation

What is  a Competency Model?


A Competency Model is a   set of key behaviours required for excellent performance in a particular role. Excellent performers on the job demonstrate these behaviours much more consistently than average or poor performers. These characteristics include the key behaviours that primarily drive excellent performance. They are usually presented with a definition and key behavioural indicators.


Historical Snap Shot of Competency Modelling

The root of competency modelling can be traced back to the work of a noted psychologist called David McCelland. In his article  ‘Testing for Competence Rather Than Intelligence’ McCelland (1973), strongly argued that assessment tools such as intelligence tests predict academic performance more than success on the job.  He further argued that organisations should not concentrate on testing for traits related to intelligence that are divorced from practical outcomes,   the best test for selection and employment purposes would be one that assesses real job skills. According to Schippmann (2000), the notion of competency modelling has gathered such momentum that in 1997, The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology commissioned a task force to investigate and review the practice of Competency modelling.


What Are the  Driving Forces Behind Competency Profiling?

According to  Schippmann (2000), the competency modelling process includes a substantial effort to understand an organisation’s business context and competitive strategy. It establishes a direct line of sight between individual competency requirements and the broader goals of the organisation.

  • To translate the organisations’ vision and goals into expected employee behaviour.
  • To identify areas for employee development that are directly linked to desired outcomes and organisational objectives
  • To identify the gap between present skills sets and future requirements.
  • To set more effective criteria for developing and evaluating performance.
  • To provide a platform for an objective dialogue between managers and their subordinates about performance, development and career related issues.


What are the measures of success for competency profiling?

  • Determination of clear competencies for your organisation requirements
  • Identification of competence gaps
  • Development of competence development plans that address identified gaps
  • Improved efficiency and productivity across all levels within ZUVA Petroleum by ensuring that employee competencies are developed to desired levels
  • Development of learning and development plan and provision of resources to impact on relevant competencies for each employee
  • A detailed report with individual employee current competencies compared with required role competencies and individual competencies gaps if any.
  • A detailed set of recommendations on the closure of employee competency gaps where applicable.


What are the key milestones underpinning  the process of competency profiling?

Below is a brief overview of the steps  that you as an organisation might need to consider when designing your competency model.





Project Inception Report

Convene a Project Kick –Off Meeting


Collection of relevant data

Literature Review of relevant documents


Identification of Competencies at each level

Key Expert Interviews


Assessment of Competencies

  • Psychometric Tests
  • Interviews
  • Assessment Centres



Data Analysis and Interpretation

Using scientifically validated tools like  Cronback Alpha


Benchmarking and Validation of the Competencies

Comparative analysis of competencies you desire against competencies of organisations of similar standing


Development of a competency dictionary

Define all the respective competencies


Development of a

Transition and  Sustainability Plan

Design an Implementation Plan


In the light of the above it is foolhardy for any competent manager to wake up  one day and say here are the competencies of this particular job. What should happen first is that your organisation needs to conduct a validated process of coming up with competencies for  its respective roles  rather just pluck from the internet irrelevant competencies. It is a matter of regret that most organisations use competencies which are not aligned to their strategy.

Newturn Wikirefu is the Talent Acquisition Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or cell number +0784 597343 or email: or visit our website at 


Newturn Wikirefu
This article was written by Newturn a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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