Competency mapping

Competency mapping

What is competency mapping?

Competency mapping in the field of Human Resources (HR) refers to a process through which the skills, knowledge, abilities, and attributes of an employee (or potential employee) are identified and mapped against the requirements of a specific job role or position. 

What are the objectives of competency mapping?

Here are some objectives of competency mapping:

  1. To train and upskill current employees to match the industry standards
  2. To find employees who meet and don’t meet the competency requirements for the role
  3. To hire the right people who meet the competency requirements for the company

Step-by-step competency mapping process

Find out how to map competencies of employees

Competency mapping process

Job analysis

This is the first step where the HR team identifies the key responsibilities and tasks associated with a particular job role. You can do that by looking at competitors and talking to managers of the role.

Identify competencies

After understanding the job requirements, the competencies (skills, knowledge, behavior, attributes) required to perform the job efficiently are identified. 

Competency framework development

In this step, an organization might develop a standardized competency framework, which lists all competencies required across different roles in the organization. This can be used to set OKRs or any method of performance evaluation.


Employees or candidates are assessed based on the identified competencies. Various tools can be used for this, including assessment centers, assignments, interviews, psychometric tests, 360-degree feedback, and more.


After the assessment, employees or candidates' competencies are mapped against the required competencies for the job role. This helps in identifying gaps, scope and strengths.

Training and development

If competency gaps are identified, training and development programs are designed to bridge those gaps, enabling employees to perform their roles efficiently. This is done in collaboration with Learning and Development team or managers.

Performance management

Competency mapping can also be integrated with performance appraisal systems, helping managers evaluate employee performance against the established competency benchmarks. This also helps managers see the growth of individuals over time towards meeting the competency requirements.

Read: Guide to effective performance management

Succession planning

By understanding the competencies of employees at various levels, organizations can plan for future leadership roles and positions, ensuring a smooth transition and reducing risks associated with key position vacancies.

Review and update

As business environments change, job roles might evolve. It's essential to periodically review and update the competency framework to ensure its relevance.

Methods of competency mapping

You can use more than one method to perform competency mapping as one method may be sufficient to eliminate bias and get concrete results. Here are some commonly used methods:

Job analysis

Description: Involves a detailed examination of job roles to determine the required tasks, responsibilities, skills, outcomes, and attributes.

Tools & Techniques: Structured interviews, questionnaires, observation, and functional job descriptions.

360-gegree feedback

Description: Involves gathering feedback about an individual's performance and behavior from multiple sources – peers, supervisors, subordinates, and self.

Tools & Techniques: Customized questionnaires, online feedback tools, and facilitated sessions.

Assessment centers

Description: A collection of various exercises designed to simulate the activities employees would encounter in a particular job. These exercises help assess the competencies required for that job.

Tools & Techniques: Role-plays, in-basket exercises, group discussions, and situational judgment tests.

Behavioral event interview (BEI)

Description: An in-depth interview technique where the interviewee is asked to describe specific events or situations in their career where they exhibited particular behaviors.

Tools & Techniques: Open-ended, behavior-focused questions.

Psychometric tests

Description: Standardized tests that measure an individual's aptitude, personality traits, and cognitive abilities.

Tools & Techniques: Personality inventories, aptitude tests, and cognitive ability tests.

Critical incidents technique

Description: Focuses on specific incidents that led to particularly effective or ineffective job performance. These incidents are then analyzed to determine the underlying competencies.

Tools & Techniques: Incident logs, structured interviews.

Functional/Technical skill assessment

Description: Direct assessment of an individual's technical or functional skills required for a job role.

Tools & Techniques: Practical tests, skill demonstrations, technical questionnaires.


Description: Direct observation of employees while they perform their roles.

Tools & Techniques: Checklists, structured observation guides.


Description: Individuals assess their own competencies based on their perception of their strengths and areas of improvement.

Tools & Techniques: Self-assessment questionnaires, reflection journals.

Expert panels or focus groups

Description: Discussions among experts or focus groups to derive and validate competencies for specific roles.

Tools & Techniques: Structured group discussions, Delphi method.

Competency mapping example (templates you can use)

Here is an example of competency mapping for a specific skill – Leadership. 

Skill: Leadership

Definition: Team Leadership refers to the ability of an individual to guide, inspire, influence, and manage a group of people to achieve common goals and tasks effectively.

Entry Level - Team Member Mid-Level - Team Leader/Supervisor Senior Level - Department Head/Manager
Follows Directions: Understands and follows instructions provided by senior team members or leaders.
Collaboration: Works well with peers, contributes positively to the team dynamic, and actively participates in team discussions.
Accepts Feedback: Open to receiving feedback from team leaders and senior members and uses it for personal growth.
Problem Reporting: Identifies and promptly communicates challenges or issues faced during tasks to supervisors.
Role Understanding: Understands his/her role within the team and delivers on individual responsibilities.
Delegation: Efficiently assigns tasks to team members based on their strengths and project requirements.
Conflict Resolution: Addresses and resolves conflicts among team members in a constructive manner.
Feedback Provision: Provides constructive feedback to team members to help them grow and improve in their roles.
Motivation: Inspires and encourages team members, boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment.
Task Management: Ensures the team stays on track, meets deadlines, and delivers quality results.
Strategic Vision: Sets long-term goals and visions for the team in alignment with company objectives.
Resource Allocation: Decides on and provides the necessary resources (like manpower, tools, budgets) for teams to achieve their goals.
Team Development: Focuses on the professional development of team leaders under them, ensuring they grow in their leadership roles.
Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaborates with other department heads and senior leaders to ensure seamless inter-departmental projects and initiatives.
Decision Making: Takes decisive actions during challenging times, ensuring the well-being and continued productivity of the entire department.

Skill: Problem solving in the engineering team

Definition: Problem Solving refers to the ability of an individual to identify, analyze, and find solutions to complex challenges or issues in software development.

Entry Level - Junior Developer Mid-Level - Software Engineer/Developer Senior Level - Department Head/Manager
Bug Identification: Effectively identifies and logs errors or bugs in the code.
Basic Troubleshooting: Uses basic debugging tools and practices to diagnose issues.
Collaborative Inquiry: Seeks help from peers and senior developers when faced with unfamiliar problems.
Solution Application: Applies provided solutions or fixes in a structured manner.
Continuous Learning: Regularly updates personal knowledge through online resources, tutorials, and forums to better address software challenges.
Complex Debugging: Uses advanced debugging tools and methodologies to trace and resolve intricate software issues.
Solution Design: Designs efficient solutions for identified problems, considering scalability and maintainability.
Peer Collaboration: Works with other team members to brainstorm and derive optimal solutions for software challenges.
Knowledge Sharing: Provides guidance to junior developers, sharing problem-solving techniques and best practices.
Proactive Prevention: Anticipates potential future issues and implements preventive measures in the development process.
Systemic Analysis: Looks at software challenges holistically, understanding the broader system implications of problems and solutions.
Strategic Solutioning: Defines long-term strategies for recurrent software challenges, ensuring long-lasting solutions.
Mentorship: Actively mentors mid-level and junior developers, enhancing their problem-solving capabilities.
Cross-functional Collaboration: Collaborates with other technical leads, product managers, and stakeholders to ensure integrated and comprehensive solutions.
Innovation: Regularly explores and introduces new tools, technologies, and methodologies to improve the problem-solving capacity of the team.

Competency mapping software and tools

Here are some tools that are commonly used for competency mapping in India

1. iMocha

  • Founded: 2015
  • Features: AI-based assessments, Talent Acquisition and Talent Development feature, pre-employment assessments, custom assessment paths.
  • Perks: Over 2,500 skills in the library, proctoring function to eliminate cheating, report analytics, ROI calculation.
  • Free Trial: Available

2. Skills Base

  • Founded: 2012
  • Features: Skill and competency mapping, comprehensive competence mapping matrix, tracking employee progression.
  • Perks: Simple and adaptable, provides data-driven skill insights, can be customized to improve employee experience.
  • Free Trial: Available
  • Subscription Range: $0 to $18

3. TalentGuard

  • Founded: 2014
  • Features: Skill-based talent practices, performance management, individual development planning.
  • Perks: Ability to match job grades and learning resources to job profiles, intuitive interface.
  • Free Trial: Available
  • Subscription Range: Starts at $3 per user.

4. SoftExpert

  • Founded: 1995
  • Features: Competency mapping, training and development, performance evaluation, succession planning.
  • Perks: Manages training resources, identifies key competencies, measures effectiveness of individual development plans.
  • Free Trial: Not Available
  • Subscription Range: On request


  • Founded: 1989
  • Features: AI-powered suggestion engine, defining talent needs, addressing skill deficiencies.
  • Perks: Excellent customer service, extensive customizable assessment library.
  • Free Trial: Available
  • Subscription Range: On request

Frequently asked questions

What are the steps in competency mapping?

  • Job analysis
  • Identify competencies
  • Competency framework development
  • Assessment
  • Mapping
  • Training and development
  • Performance management
  • Succession planning
  • Review and update

What is the main purpose of competency mapping?

To hire, train and evaluate employee performance – these are the main purposes of competency mapping in a company.

Free group health insurance consultation

With employee benefits experts to tailor the best policy for your team