Competency management

Background info

Competency-based human resources planning serves as a link between human resources management and the overall strategic plan of an organization. Competencies are defined as observable abilities, skills, knowledge, motivations or traits defined in terms of the behaviours needed for successful job performance.

In short

Competency management, also known as company-based management, supports the integration of human resources planning with business planning by allowing organizations to assess the current human resource capacity based on their competencies against the capacity needed to achieve the vision, mission and business goals of the organization. Targeted human resource strategies, plans and programs to address gaps (e.g., hiring and staffing; learning; career development; succession management; etc.) are then designed, developed and implemented to close the gaps.


Competency management tools

Competency (or Competence) Management Systems are usually associated with, and may include, a Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS is typically a web-based tool that allows access to learning resources. Competency Management Systems tend to have a more multidimensional and comprehensive approach and include tools such as competency management, skills-gap analysis, succession planning, as well as competency analysis and profiling. The Competency Management System tends to focus more on creating an environment of sustainable competency in addition to entering and tracking learning resources in software. However, conceptually, there is no reason why a Competency Management System or LMS could not be manual (i.e. not computer-based) and indeed learning management systems are as old as learning institutions.


One view is that Competency Management Systems may be based on adult learning and occupational task analysis principles, such as DACUM which identify the business processes in a company and break them down into tasks. These tasks are what an individual needs to do in their work.

Modern techniques use Competency-based management methodologies to develop a Competency architecture for an organization. This architecture captures key competencies into a Competency dictionary that is subsequently used in the creation of job descriptions. Competency-based performance management can then be employed to measure and discover learning gaps that then drive the training course selections for an employee.