Article: The Universal Competency Framework

Talent Acquisition

The Universal Competency Framework

The UCF reveals whether the competency requirements and the competencies a person has are a fit or misfit for the job
The Universal Competency Framework

A whitepaper by CEB’s SHL Talent Measurement Solutions team defines competencies in the right perspective as should be seen by organizations and highlights the benefits of having a model for competencies. The Universal Competency Framework is the only umbrella under which, one can truly understand people’s behaviour at work and the likelihood of one’s success in a certain role or environment. A framework ensures and implies a structured and evidence-based method of understanding behaviour at workplace.

The real definition of competencies has been brought to light, raising a concern that very often competencies are misunderstood as knowledge or skills. While it is an established fact that the three are distinctly different, as competency is the ability to demonstrate mastery of specific job-related knowledge and skills and its application to achieve a specific job requirement. It is validated through performance and positive outcomes which clearly involve the description of tasks, functions or objectives. Methods of assessing competence may include workplace assessments, simulations and other techniques. Competencies are also a reflection of whether or not people can acquire new job knowledge and skills and how they will use it to enhance their performance at work.

The Universal Competency Framework includes a model that competencies, competency potential, competency requirements and results. For any individual or job-related success, it is crucial that all the above are aligned with each other. Any gap in the competency potential, requirement and the competencies themselves can result in low performance, failures or unwanted results. The UCF specifically has a three tier structure providing the source material for client specific or job related sets of competencies. It is an integrated framework with applications from job analysis and supports the strategic and tactical use of competency modelling in organizations. This framework has been used by organization to build their own integrated corporate competency models and it has also been used to map existing client models.

The UCF provides the ability to create custom models from a set of standard components, thereby forming a strong foundation. It facilitates the growth of structural intellectual capital, providing the potential for benchmarking competency models across jobs and industry sectors. It has also led to the development of various other products and service offerings from CEB SHL’s basket. The UCF not only measures performance, it also measures personality, ability and motivation. All in all, it can actually reveal how fit or misfit a person is for the competency requirements in the workplace.

Source: CEB SHL whitepaper on ‘The Universal Competency Framework’. For more on this, please write to or

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Topics: Talent Acquisition, Performance Management, #HRInsights

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