What is a competency profile? Let’s start at the beginning by first defining the term “Competence”. “Competence” is the capability to apply a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform “critical work functions” in a defined work setting.


Given the definition of competence, then it follows that a competency profile is a document that captures and identifies the competencies for a given work function. Indeed, a competency profile can be developed for a job, role, shared function or occupation. The aim of a competency profile is to identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to be able to perform the job, role, shard function or occupation and to organize it in an easily accessible and useful way.


Functionally, a competency profile organizes the required skills into 7-12 major categories of work which, taken together, reflect the entire job, and role of function. The skills within a competency profile are defined in performance terms, which means that the skills describe what the person “must be able to do” to effectively perform the job, role or function.  Generally, competency profiles include a one-page chart that illustrates the major categories of work and skills for the job, role, and/or function(s). This one-page chart is often referred to as a Competency Map or a ‘DACUM Chart’. The term “DACUM” is an acronym for “developing a curriculum” as DACUM Charts are commonly used as the basis for developing training and curriculums. For a basic example of a competency or DACUM chart, please download our sample competency profile chart (competency map, DACUM Chart) here.


The competency profile chart is a high level view of the competency profile. A complete competency profile is a detailed document that also includes the sub-skills required to perform each skill and the supporting knowledge and abilities required to perform each skill.


So why do you need competency profiles? How do they benefit organizations or individuals within organizations?


Competency profiles provide the basis for comprehensive performance development. Competency profiles spell out exactly what the person must be able to do to perform successfully on the job.


They can provide a variety of benefits including:


  • Providing the basis for recruitment and selection;
  • Identifying skill strengths and gaps of employees;
  • Targeting skill gaps for development;
  • Creating employee development plans;
  • Providing the basis for succession planning;
  • Developing training programs that address the skills needed for organizational success; and
  • Identifying overlapping job roles.


These are many benefits to creating competency profiles. Organizations usually start the process by identifying the key roles within their organizations where competency profiles can provide the most benefit. For example, organizations often select role safety critical, leadership and customer service roles to begin their competency projects.


For more information on how competencies can benefit your organization, please contact us today.