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  • Writer's pictureMark Harbottle

Competency Framework - Design Guide

Note: this blog post has been created for context around my 3 series post Cronofy's Competency Framework Journey.


What is a Competency Framework?


A framework which describes the knowledge, skills and behaviours associated with certain levels of seniority within a role. It allows Managers to objectively assess someone's performance against the expectations of their position within Cronofy.


Cronofy has a Competency Framework (CF) for Individual Contributor (IC) level (levels of seniority, from 1 to 5) and Management (Team Lead, Head of). Within our CF we have three pillars of competencies:

  • Individual competencies (the individual knowledge, skills and behaviours required to perform in your role)

  • Collective competencies (team working, engaging with others across the business)

  • Cultural competencies (alignment with Cronofy Principles)


Difference between a Competency Framework (CF) and Job Description (JD)?

Job Description

Competency Framework

The duties of the role

Knowledge, skills and behaviours required to perform at that IC level

Day to day activities

The competencies required at various IC levels

Experience needed to perform in the role

Specific and measurable

Summary of the skills - not specific enough to be measurable

Defines what performance success looks like

Examples of job description skills *

Examples of competencies**

Bookkeeping, programming languages, SaaS sales experience

Empathy, leadership, relationship building


*Note: It’s common for job descriptions to include competencies, but job descriptions don’t form part of competency frameworks

**For a longer list of competencies, there are a bunch of resources you can google


Coming up with CF statements


Think about:


1. It needs to be specific enough to be measurable (can we prove how successful you’ve been at this)

*What are the measures of success for this role?


2. It needs to be broad enough not to be an instruction or job duty (how have you performed at this competency)

*Will it be evident if someone has - or has not - performed against this competency?


3. Not too general that it can be misinterpreted (to avoid scenarios where your idea of performing against a competency does not match with your manager)


You might find benefit in breaking a role down to its most simple form, thinking about the responsibilities of the job, and then working backwards to come up with competencies required for that role.


e.g:

Job title

Core responsibility

Required competency

Competency statement

Account Executive

Sell the API

Empathy

Explore use cases, identify whether Cronofy can help them, and if so how

Support Engineer

Respond to and resolve support tickets

Service / resolution

Delivers quality responses to our customers


Examples

Instead of...

Try this....

Notes

Proactive and ongoing learning and development in your role

Takes control of career path, evaluates the outcome of learning to fill gaps in own skillsets

More ownership and focus on career path, not ad hoc

Innovates with new technology and solutions to solve objectives

Identifies areas for improvement and implements new processes

Technology could contribute to this

Performs to a high level and solves business challenges

Proactively contributes to, and supports other departments in Cronofy's mission

More relevant to the business and its objectives in line with the individual

High level of performance

Strong communication of progress

Communication and performance of role

Works on a variety of projects and finds solutions to complete

Consistently breaks down well-defined solutions into multiple small, deliverable tasks

Much more measurable

Attention to detail

Timely and accurate records of [XYZ], or of a certain tool / area of responsibility

More specificity

Solves problems with minimal supervision

Proactively finds gaps in [other departments / other areas of work / projects] and resolves with minimal disruption

Puts some context around a 'problem'

Resolves customer issues with efficiency

Helps customers to help themselves

More proactive, and longer term impact

Strong cross-management capabilities, engaging with other Heads of to achieve results

Proactively works with Managers to solve [People / Security / Sales etc] problems, and able to anticipate - and prevent - problems arising

Specific to making a difference / adding value


Sense checking your CF

Ask yourself these questions when you have created CF statements:

Question

Reason

Does the Competency Framework restrict or show overachievement?

Should allow this freedom but also allow for fair and equal management

Are the statements aligned with the appropriate seniority?

Align with, lead, or champion / contribute to, accountable for

Are there any statements that could be misinterpreted or misunderstood?

To avoid barriers in meeting criteria

Are the statements measurable?

To accurately assess how well someone is performing

Are the statements suitably specific?

Allowing freedom to perform without strict guidelines or instructions

Are the statements a job duty?

Should focus on the knowledge, skills and behaviours - not what the role should do day to day

Are the statements accurate to the position / department?

They should be appropriate for the position, not a generic statement that could fit anywhere


I hope this is helpful. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to talk about our approach or want to ask me any questions. Additionally, for the full 3 part series on Cronofy's Competency Framework Journey, check it out here


Resources


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