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Competency-Based Model of Performance Management – Competent for Frontline Workforce?

Competency-Based Model of Performance Management - TMI Group

The competency-based Model is one of the popular models of Performance Management. Adopted by many organizations for its diverse applications.

Competency-based model is very simple. It measures the improvement of the employee’s behavior against his past competency evaluation. Measuring the improvements against the actions taken by the employee over a period of time that led to meeting or missing of the objectives set for him or her. It is focused only on the individual employee and is not measured against others.

The competency-based model helps the organization understand where the employee stands currently and what additional behaviors they need to develop for future success.


Critical aspects of a competency-based model


Defining Competencies: Very critical to define precisely the competencies the individual employee needs to possess to deliver the job effectively. These are further divided into categories.


Threshold competencies: 

These are essential competencies that every good employee should possess to be minimally effective. However, these competencies do not help the employee to be a superior performer compared to others in similar roles.


Differentiating competencies:

These are the competencies that differentiate one employee from another and make him/her a super performer.


Competency development: identifying the right competencies to be developed for the employee in the role is the most defining aspect of competency-based model. Critical gap analysis is required and further learning/training programs need to be developed. 





Drawbacks of Competency-based model for Frontline Workforce 

  • Competency based model works well for those in managerial cadre and above with a long residency. The same cannot be applied to the large frontline workforce which constitutes above 70% in many organizations.
  • Frontline workforce has a typical set of actions (inputs) to be performed on a daily basis. Eg: number of calls to be made to prospects. The competency required is low; the implementation of these inputs is critical to get the desired output.
  • Residency of frontline workforce in many organizations is very low; the highest being 2 years. Competency-based model will not be effective to measure the improvements over a period of time as attrition is high and residency is low.
  • Frontline Workforce roles, skills, and competencies along with their learning/training requirements needs to be defined for more effective performance management.


The need is a for a performance model that defines the role, builds role mastery, implements the learnings and measures the outputs that dovetails into the outcomes set by the organization.

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