Competency Modeling: Planning for Workforce Success

February 20, 2018 in
By Mike Camburn

On February 22nd, FMP Consulting is teaming up with the Partnership for Public Service to host a workshop on the effective use of competencies in the Federal Government: Competency Modeling: Planning for Workforce Success. The Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC will be hosting the in-person event and offering a virtual option for those who prefer to view the live broadcast. There is still time to register! Here’s the link:

Now that you know where to find us on the 22nd, I want to give you a preview. Think of competencies as the building blocks of your workforce. Competency modeling is determining the unique combination of building blocks that your workforce needs for the organization to be successful. With the proper design, you can use the same competencies to attract and hire highly qualified talent, identify and close skill gaps, guide employee learning and professional development, plan future workforce needs, offer meaningful career paths, manage performance, and more.

Complex graphic related to competency modeling; please contact for more information

Competency Modeling

During the workshop, FMP’s competency experts will provide step-by-step guidance and tips on efficiently creating and validating competencies, including, but not limited to:

  • Share ownership. Competency modeling should be a collaborative effort with shared ownership and benefits. Human capital and HR professionals are responsible for facilitating the steps in this process, meaning they need to know when and how to use the right subject matter experts (SMEs). SMEs with the greatest insight are typically high-performing job incumbents, those with longer tenure, and managers with knowledge of expectations of different career levels. Involving the right employees as SMEs will not only enhance the validity of your competencies, it will also help you generate awareness, buy-in, and impact throughout the change management process as you implement your competency-based program.
  • Recognize commonalities. A competency is a collection of knowledge, skill, abilities (KSAs), and other personal characteristics that can be applied in a variety of roles and settings. The movement toward competency-based planning and management represented a shift away from long lists of KSA statements that only applied to a single job at a single point in time.  A powerful attribute of the competency-based approach is that a single competency (e.g., analytical thinking, resource management, service orientation) can be applied across a variety of jobs, even if their duties and job-specific knowledge differ. For example, an HR professional may serve internal customers navigating benefits options while a park ranger serves external customers visiting a national park, but both require high degrees of proficiency with service orientation. Recognizing commonalities enables the organization to standardize performance expectations, identify gaps, uncover broader career path options, and share development resources across the workforce.
  • Don’t start from scratch! FMP maintains a library of over 500 leadership, core, and technical competencies that cut across many jobs; we leverage this library of resources and tailor them to meet organizations’ unique needs.

After developing competency models, it is time to integrate them into your human capital and workforce management programs. We’ll show you how! The Competency Modeling: Planning for Workforce Success workshop will showcase a variety of success stories from federal agencies implementing competency-based human capital programs. The Partnership for Public Service Chief Operating Officer, Tim McManus, will facilitate a panel discussion with experts from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). These panelists will share their best practices and lessons learned with developing and implementing competency-based programs within the federal sector. In-person workshop attendees will also participate in small group discussions to share ideas and develop plans for initiating and/or expanding their agencies’ competency-based programs. We hope you can join us!

About the Author: Mike is an I/O psychologist; for 14 years, he has delivered talent management consulting services as a member of FMP. His work spans the human capital lifecycle, and he is a thought leader in succession planning and competency-based management programs. Mike lives in Doylestown, PA with his wife and three daughters. He is a big fan of Penn State and Philadelphia sports teams, including the 2018 Super Bowl Champions.

Photo of author and FMP employee Mike Camburn