competency framework

What is the Professional Skills Competency Framework?

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Competency Framework expertise built on the standards of SFIA 7, with reference The Open Group Certified IT Specialist (Open CITS) Program Conformance Requirements and IBM Worldwide IT Specialist Career Development and Qualification Guide (IBM), applicable in the Digital Age. Johnson's Blog will share details to help you have more knowledge and skills for human resource management, corporate governance.

What is Competency Framework??

Competency framework is a required standard, assessing the capacity of specific positions and roles in an organization.

The standard competency framework consists of 2 dimensions with one axis being Professional Skills and the other being Level of Responsibility.

Competency Frameworks describe technical skills across multiple Competency Levels.

The Competency Framework describes the level of responsibility based on five common attributes (described below). 

The Competency Framework also describes a basic process for certifying a Professional, and provides a clear direction for employees to develop themselves for certification. 

Competency frameworks define skills and expertise in a consistent, easy-to-understand way. Avoid all technical terms and concepts that apply to all areas of the organization's work. 

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Why build a Competency Framework??

The competency framework is developed to standardize all professional skills in human resource management, compatible with global professional skills standards.

The competency framework is built to serve the organization's training, recruitment, and evaluation in its human resource strategy to ensure that the organization has the best personnel to complete the job well. 

The competency framework is developed to serve as a standard for staff to develop their careers towards international standards.

>>> Tools to build an effective Competency Framework on Odoo: Software Skills Framework Viindoo

Subjects of application of competency framework

The competency framework applies to all positions and roles in the organization.

Personal staff

  • Self-assess current skills and experience.
  • Identify future goals, career goals and personal development plans.
  • Identify appropriate courses and certifications.
  • Develop focused, high-quality learning goals. 

HR specialists

  • Create role profiles and job descriptions based on skill definitions and skill levels.
  • Development and mapping of qualifications, recognition, support for individual career path planning.
  • To build a training program based on the training needs of each employee.

Direct management

  • Resource management and resource deployment.
  • Identify risks in Team operations and develop remedial plans.
  • Measure current competencies and plan for the future.

Company leadership   

  • Strategic capacity planning.
  • Align the organization's capabilities with its business and technology strategy.

How to build a Competency Framework 

At the core of the competency framework are seven levels of responsibility, five common attributes, and specialized skills. 

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Seven Levels of Responsibility

Competency framework includes 7 levels from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). 

Levels describe the attitudes, values, qualifications, and characteristics that an individual needs to reach that level.  

Levels are correctly written to be progressive, transparent, and consistently described.

Each level is labeled for easy understanding

Competency and skill framework levels

Level 1: Obey


Always need supervision at work. Very rarely active. Seek guidance in unexpected situations.


There is very little influence. Often works alone or only interacts with close colleagues.


Perform daily tasks in a structured environment. Need guidance and support in situations that arise.


Have general basic knowledge relevant to the field of work. Apply new knowledge to develop new skills.

Soft skills

Have sufficient communication skills to have an effective dialogue with others.

Demonstrate an organized approach to work.

Use basic systems and tools, applications, and processes.

Try to shape growth opportunities.

Comply with codes of conduct, ethics and standards in an organized manner. Be aware of health and safety issues. 

Understand and apply basic personal security principles.

Level 2: Support


Need steady direction in work. Have limited initiative when dealing with problems or requests. Do not often consult and exchange with others.


Interact and be able to influence those closest to you. There may be some external contacts such as customers, suppliers, partners. May have more influence in his own field. Aware of the need to collaborate with the team and represent the needs of the user/customer.


Perform a wide range of operations in different environments. May be able to contribute in solving everyday problems.


Demonstrate the application of essential general knowledge typically found in industry core knowledge. Gain basic knowledge in the field. Absorb new information as it is presented systematically and apply it effectively

Soft skills

Have sufficient communication skills to effectively dialogue with customers, suppliers and partners. 

Capable of teamwork. Ability to plan and control one's own work in a short time. Demonstrate a logical and organized approach to work.

Understand and use appropriate methods, tools and applications.

Identify and negotiate personal growth opportunities.

Be aware of and fully comply with the organization's essential security practices, applicable to each individual.

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Level 3: Apply


Need general direction in work. Proactively identify and respond to complex problems and tasks. Receive specific instructions, take over instructions and evaluate work at specific stages. Decide when the work needs to be handled by the higher ups.


Collaborate and influence colleagues. Have working contact with customers, suppliers and partners. Can supervise others or make decisions that impact other people's tasks or part of a project. Understand and collaborate based on the analysis of user/customer needs and demonstrate this in work.


Can do many things, even complex and irregular, in different environments. Take a methodical approach to problem definition and solutions.


Gain general knowledge of the expertise needed, often derived from industry-recognized core knowledge and information systems, to do the job effectively. Demonstrate effective application of knowledge. Recognize the importance of developing a broad business context. Have a plan for personal professional development.

Soft skills

Demonstrate effective communication skills.

Plan and control one's own work (and others' work if possible) competently within limited deadlines and in accordance with relevant laws, standards and procedures.

Fully contribute to the work in the group. Appreciate how your own role relates to the roles of others, and to the work of the company or client

Demonstrate an analytical and systematic approach to problem solving.

Take initiative in identifying and negotiating appropriate personal development opportunities.

Understand how your role impacts security. Demonstrate knowledge and practice of daily security work as required by the job.

Level 4: Autonomy


Need general direction with clear accountability. Have a strong sense of responsibility and initiative. Plan your own work to achieve the assigned goals and roadmap


Have a critical influence on customers, suppliers and partners. There may be some responsibility in the work of others and the allocation of resources. Participate in external activities related to one's own expertise. Decision making will affect the success of the project and the team's goals. Regularly collaborate with team members, users and customers. Try to make sure the user's needs are always met.


Always perform a variety of complex technical and professional work, in a variety of contexts. Analyze, identify and solve complex problems


Have a thorough understanding of the industry's recognized common core and the necessary set of specialized core knowledge. Gain in-depth knowledge of the organization's field. Able to apply expertise effectively in unusual circumstances and actively maintain it, and assist others in personal development. Quickly absorb new knowledge and apply it effectively. Always try to improve and develop more knowledge to develop yourself.

Soft skills

Communicates fluently, verbally and in writing, and can present complex information to both technical and non-technical audiences.

Plan, schedule and monitor work to meet quality and time targets.

Facilitate collaboration between stakeholders who share common goals.

Select appropriately from applicable standards, methods, tools and applications.

Fully understand the importance of security to your own work and the operation of your organization. Seek expert knowledge or security advice when asked to support one's own work or the work of colleagues immediately.

Level 5: Urging, advising


Just the overall general orientation in the work. Often self-recommend work. Take full responsibility for the accomplishment of assigned technical and/or project/monitoring objectives. Establish stages and play a key role in assigning related tasks and/or responsibilities.


Influencing the organization, customers, suppliers, partners and corresponding individual professional contributions. Build relevant and effective business relationships. Make decisions that impact the success of assignments for example results, deadlines and budgets. Have significant influence in allocating and managing resources in line with assigned tasks. Lead the collaboration with users/customers throughout the work process. Ensure user needs are met continuously in each stage of work.


Coverage of diverse and complex technical and/or professional work. Take on jobs that require the application of fundamentals in broad and often unforeseen contexts. Understand the relationship between individual expertise and the broader requirements of the client/organization


Fully understand in a general and specific way the recognized core knowledge. Actively seeking new knowledge for self-development and mentoring and communicating to others. Develop a breadth of knowledge across the industry or business. Use knowledge to set standards for others to apply.

Soft skills

Show leadership. Communicate fluently formally and informally.

Facilitate collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse goals.

Analyze, design, plan and evaluate work according to time, cost and quality objectives. Analyze requirements and advise on scope and measures for continuous improvement of operations. Turn all requests into benefits when making proposals. Demonstrate creative, innovative and regulatory thinking when applying solutions that benefit customers/stakeholders.

Advise on available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to personal expertise and be able to make informed decisions between options.

Stay abreast of industry developments. Take initiative to update new skills. Advise colleagues.

Level 6: Proposal, influence


Has certain authority and responsibility for implementation and decision-making in an important area of work, including engineering, finance and quality management. Set goals in an organized manner and assign responsibilities.


Influencing policy and strategy formulation. Propose essential relationships with internal and external customers, suppliers, and partners at the senior management level, including industry leaders. Make decisions that impact the organization's work, the success of its goals, and financial performance.


Has broad business knowledge and deep expertise. Perform a variety of tasks including engineering, finance and quality management. Participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and strategies. Creatively apply a variety of engineering and/or management principles. 


Promote the general and specific application of the core knowledge within your organization. Has developed business knowledge from the activities and practices of his organization as well as those of customers, partners, competitor

Soft skills

Clearly demonstrate leadership. Communicate fluently with all levels for both technical and non-technical audiences

Understand the implications of new technologies. Understand and stay up-to-date with industry developments, and the impact of technology on the work organization. Absorb a variety of information.

Promote legal compliance and demand for services, products and practices to provide equal access and equal opportunities to people of diverse abilities.

Take initiative to regularly improve the skills of yourself and your colleagues.

Manage and reduce risks.

Play a management role in promoting security with the full responsibility of yourself and the collective in the organization.

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Level 7: Set Strategy, Inspire, Mobilize


At the highest organizational level, there is authority over all aspects of critical areas, including policy formulation and implementation. Take full responsibility for the actions and decisions made by both yourself and those assigned to the task.


Make the most important decisions that lead to systematic success. Inspire that organization and influence developments in the industry to the highest degree. Promote knowledge and/or use of technology in one or more organizations. Develop long-term strategic relationships with customers, partners, industry and government leaders


Oversight of strategy formulation and implementation. Apply top-level management skills. Gain an in-depth understanding of the industry and the implications of evolving technologies for the broader business market.


Demonstrate a broad and in-depth understanding of your own organization's activities and those of suppliers, partners, competitor and customers. Promote a culture to encourage strategic implementation of the general and specialized core knowledge within one's own sphere of influence.

Soft skills

Full strategic management and leadership skills.

Communicate the potential impact of evolving practices and technologies on organizations and individuals and assess the risks of using or not using those practices and technologies.

Understand, interpret, and present diverse ideas to audiences of all levels convincingly.

Assess the impact of legislation and actively promote full compliance.

Ensure that all necessary skills and abilities are centrally developed and mobilized by the organization.

Strive to ensure security in the work area and throughout the organization.

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Five Common Attributes

The levels of responsibility are characterized by the following five common attributes:

– Active (Autonomy)

– Influence

– Flexibility (Complexity)

- Qualification (Knowledge)

- Soft skills (Business Skills)

An example of a level of responsibility “Level 1” is shown in the figure below

Example of professional skill competency framework level

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Professional Skills

Organizations can define technical skills with the following principles:

  • Consistent levels of responsibility create professional skills
  • What level of professional skill corresponds to that level of responsibility?
  • This creates consistency in the levels of responsibility making it solid and robust.  

How do specialist skills meet common attributes?

Levels of responsibility, specifically generic attributes, are used in conjunction with technical skills to describe competencies. 

Each skill description includes a general definition, and a description of the skill at each level. These descriptions provide a detailed definition of what it actually means at each competency level.

Professional skills competency framework model

Example of division by professional skill group

Organizations may divide techniques into groups for reference and navigation purposes

  • Development and Execution Skills Team
    • Development System
  • Architectural and Strategic Skills Team
    • Technology Planning and Strategy
    • Business Planning and Strategy
    • Advice and Guidance
  • Change and Transformation Skills Group
  • Transfer and Operations Skills Team
    • Service Delivery
    • Service Operation
  • Skill Skills and Quality Team
    • Quality and Fit
  • Commitment and Relationship Skills Group
    • Sales and Marketing


Johnson Vu – Deputy General Director of Viindoo Technology Joint Stock Company

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    • Headquarters: 6th floor, Taiyo Building, 97 Bach Dang, Ha Ly, Hong Bang, Hai Phong, Vietnam.
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