Competency Database

Competency Matrix Template (36 Competencies)

  • 🚀 36 Individual contributor competencies: 5 levels of mastery—basic, intermediate, advanced, proficient, expert
  • 💪 200+ Performance behavioral indicators and metrics: Give your team members a clear understanding of what it takes to advance in their careers
  • 🔨 100+ suggested developmental activities, so you can achieve more with less effort: Develop the competencies of your people with clear, actionable steps for both managers and employees to follow
Ready to take your people's performance to the next level and enable a world-class team?

Then, a competency matrix template is just what you're missing. 

With 36 universal competencies and strategic details for effective performance management, this is the ultimate resource for developing the skills and abilities essential for any industry.

  • 💡 Clearly communicate the skills and abilities essential for success in your organization and industry.
  • ⭐ Get a comprehensive sample of critical competencies: from teamwork, willingness to learn, problem analysis, and time management to critical thinking, data analysis, and delegation. 
  • 🚀 Create a roadmap for developing those skills and abilities with clear, actionable steps for managers and employees to follow with our suggested development activities.
  • 💼 Improve the overall effectiveness of your organization and gain a more competitive edge in your market.
  • 🏆 Develop a world-class team, and increase productivity and performance.
  • 📊 Measure and track progress with our behavioral indicators and performance metrics.
  • 🤩 Improve your people's engagement and motivation by offering a clear understanding of what it takes to advance in their careers. 

How to make the competency matrix work for your organization

To make Zavvy's competency matrix work for your organization, follow these steps:

  1. Understand your needs: The competency matrix should reflect the unique needs and values of your organization. So before you start customizing it, make sure you have a clear goal in mind. Will it be used for performance reviews—competency-based performance appraisals? Or maybe to facilitate career growthcompetency-based growth plans? Or, will it be the basis for career progressionleveling and advancing employees across specific career paths?
  2. Customize the template: Don't be afraid to customize the matrix to your organization. Decide if you want to keep all 5 levels of competency, or fewer (e.g. basic intermediate advanced).
  3. Conduct competency mapping: Begin by reviewing each of the 36 competencies and five levels of mastery—basic, intermediate, advanced, proficient, expert. Determine which competencies are most relevant to your organization's goals, culture, and the specific roles within your company. If certain competencies don't apply, remove them. If others are missing, add them.
  4. Ensure that your competency matrix cover all the roles, levels and departments of your organization: This matrix only includes core competencies, so you will might have to carry a competency mapping exercise for identifying additional functional and technical functional competencies. (For leadership roles, we created a complimentary leadership competency framework template.)
  5. Add behavioral indicators and performance metrics (expected outcomes) for each competency level: We added multiple examples in the template. Customize them for each individual level of competency mastery.
  6. Bring your people into the loop: Clearly communicate with your people about the content and goals of your competency framework.  Ensure they understand how the matrix will be used for.
  7. (Optional) Pilot the matrix: You can start with a department and collect feedback on the process. Use the insights to optimize the matrix before company-wide roll-out.
  8. Integrate the competency framework into your talent management process: Use the competency framework in various HR processes like recruiting (for job descriptions and interviews), performance reviews (to assess current skills and competencies and identify areas for development), and succession planning (to identify high potential employees and prepare them for future roles).
  9. Support: Provide resources and support for employees to develop the relevant competencies for their roles. Some forms of support include: training, social learning, or mentorship programs.

Stop guessing. Start developing. Download our competency matrix template now.


What is a competency matrix?

A competency matrix is a tool used to map and assess the skills and competencies of employees against the required proficiency levels for their roles, allowing for better talent management and development planning.

What is the competency matrix for roles?

The competency matrix for roles is a specialized form of the competency matrix where you map specific job roles against required competencies, giving a blueprint of what is expected for each role.

What are the 5 levels of competency?

Our competency matrix template uses the following levels of competency: basic, intermediate, advanced, proficient, and expert.

What are the components of the competency matrix?

  • Competencies: List of skills or competencies required for a particular role or team.
  • Proficiency levels: A scale or grading system to rate the level of expertise (in our case: basic, intermediate, advanced, proficient, expert).

What is the difference between skill matrix and competency matrix?

A competency matrix has a broader scope than a skill matrix since it includes attributes beyond skills, such as knowledge, abilities, behaviors, and attitudes. A skill matrix, on the other hand, is focused on specific skills for employees.

A competency matrix is used for organization-wide purposes, including strategic planning for recruitment, performance management, and career progression frameworks. In contrast, a skill matrix is used in a more operational manner, such as for workforce planning, task allocation, and identifying areas for training and development.

🔍 Check our in-depth analysis of competency vs skills matrix. We show how, when used together, competency and skill matrices provide a comprehensive framework for assessing, developing, and leveraging talent at your organization.

Why use a competency matrix?

A competency matrix serves as a foundational tool that provides clarity, structure, and direction for multiple HR and organizational functions.

It serves as a roadmap for both employees and managers, providing a clear, transparent, and standardized framework that benefits various aspects of human resource management and organizational development.

A competency matrix can aid in training needs identification, succession planning, and ensuring that roles are filled by individuals with the right competencies.

You can get the best out of a competency matrix when you link it with performance management, learning, job leveling and career frameworks.

Competency-based performance management

There are 3 key benefits of having competence matrices as a core element of performance management:

  1. Ensure alignment with organizational goals: A competency matrix ensures that employee performance metrics align with organizational competencies deemed critical for success. This promotes consistent evaluation standards.
  2. Conduct more objective evaluations: It provides a structured framework for assessing employee strengths and areas needing improvement, reducing subjectivity in evaluations.
  3. Tailor employee development plans: With a clear view of competencies and levels, managers can design personalized development plans for their team members, addressing specific competency gaps.

To integrate the competency matrix into competency-based performance management, make the matrix a part of appraisal forms, where specific competencies required for a role are already listed and need to be rated during performance reviews.

As a follow up, schedule periodic check-ins, ensuring employees are consistently aligned with the competency expectations of their role.

Learning & development

There are 3 key benefits of having competence matrices as a core element of L&D:

  1. Targeted training: By highlighting the competencies that employees need to develop, your organization can provide more tailored training programs. No need to run communication training if all your people have advanced communication skills.
  2. Efficient resource allocation: Organizations can better allocate resources like time and budget on training areas that will give the maximum return on investment, based on the matrix's insights. Again, you will focus on skills that need improvement, rather than competencies that your people already master.
  3. Measurable learning outcomes: A matrix provides a clear benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of training programs in terms of competency development.

To integrate the competency matrix into competency-based learning and development, follow these steps:

Perform a gap analysis: Before rolling out any training, conduct a gap analysis using the competency matrix to identify where employees fall short.

Customize your training content: Design training materials and modules that directly address the competencies listed in the matrix.

Take advantage of internal experts: Pair employees with mentors who excel in competencies they want to develop. The matrix can guide this pairing.

Career frameworks

We know that career frameworks are a huge challenge for many people teams. There are so many moving parts and stakeholders involved. But starting with a competency framework will make it much easier to create career paths and a company-wide process.

Here is how having competence matrices will help you:

  1. Clear career pathways: Employees can understand what competencies they need to develop to move to the next level or shift roles, thus giving them a clear career trajectory.
  2. Motivation and engagement: When employees see a transparent path to growth and how they can achieve it, it fosters motivation and commitment.
  3. Retention: Clear career frameworks based on a competency matrix can improve employee retention rates by offering growth opportunities and clear progression routes.

To get started, use the matrix to outline career progression. For instance, an entry-level role might require mastery of 5 competencies, while a senior role might require 7 (some of them might be leadership competencies).

It is also vital to continuously communicate the importance and relevance of the competency matrix to all employees. Regular workshops or information sessions can be useful.

Share the matrix with employees, making sure they're aware of competency expectations for career advancement. The easier it is to access, the better.

Job leveling

There are 3 key benefits of having competence matrices as a core element of job leveling:

Standardized job profiles: A competency matrix helps in defining and standardizing job roles based on required competencies, making recruitment and role definition more systematic.

✅ Recruitment to dos:

  • When advertising a position, clearly list required competencies from the matrix in the job description.
  • During interviews or assessments, evaluate candidates based on the competencies outlined in the matrix for that particular role.

Fair compensation: With a standardized competency framework, organizations can ensure that compensation packages are consistent with the competencies and expertise employees bring.

✅ Compensation to do: Link pay grades or bands to the competency levels. As employees prove mastery over higher competencies, they can be moved to higher pay bands.

Balanced teams: Managers can use the matrix to ensure they have a balanced team in terms of competencies, filling in gaps as necessary with targeted hiring or internal training.