Competency Matrix Template

Streamline talent management with this competency matrix template, including 50 core competencies, 200+ metrics, and 150+ growth activities. Download now.

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Competency matrix template overview

Identifying relevant competencies, assessing proficiency levels, and aligning development activities with organizational goals is an extensive, resource-intensive process. Our competency matrix template simplifies this process, providing a clear, structured approach to identifying, developing, and measuring key competencies. 

Here’s an overview of what our template includes:

  • A vast collection of critical competencies: Our comprehensive matrix contains core competencies such as teamwork, agility, problem analysis, and time management to critical thinking, data analysis, and project management 
  • Five mastery levels: The competencies included in the matrix span five levels of mastery—from basic to expert—catering to every stage of professional development; this structured approach ensures a clear path for career progression, making it easier to identify and bridge skill gaps
  • Performance metrics: The 200+ performance metrics provide a quantitative way to evaluate performance and improvements, ensuring that development efforts translate into tangible results
  • Development activities: The 150+ practical, hands-on growth action items help employees advance competency mastery and foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement
  • Editable template: The editable template allows you to add additional competencies or proficiency levels or edit the list down, keeping the most relevant competencies for your organization


How to use this competency matrix template

To make this competency matrix work for your organization, follow these steps:

  • Understand your needs: Your organization’s competency matrix should reflect its unique needs and values, so before you start customizing it, make sure you have a clear goal in mind (e.g., competency-based performance appraisals, competency-based growth plans, leveling and advancing employees across specific career paths, etc.)
  • Identify relevant core competencies from the template: Review all the 50 competencies included in the template and identify relevant and necessary skills that relate to all the roles in your organization; add any missing skills 
  • Define proficiency levels: Customize the matrix to your organizational structure; for example, customize the competency rating system, adding or removing some of the skill levels
  • Map competencies to roles: Consult internal stakeholders, such as team leaders, to align each role with the required competencies and proficiency levels
  • Add behavioral indicators and performance metrics (expected outcomes): There are multiple examples in the template; select those that are relevant to your organization
  • Integrate the competency framework into your talent management process: Integrate the competency matrix with various HR processes, such as the hiring process (for job descriptions and interviews), performance reviews (to assess your team’s skills and competencies, and identify opportunities for employee training and upskilling), and succession planning (to identify and prepare future leaders)
  • Train team leaders and individual employees: Clearly communicate the content and goals of your competency matrix and ensure they understand how the matrix integrates with various talent management processes
  • (Optional) Pilot and validate 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
  • Regularly update: Review and update the matrix periodically to keep it relevant and aligned with evolving organizational needs (e.g., by adding new skills)

Note: This template only includes core competencies, so you will mostly find department-agnostic soft skills. For a comprehensive competency framework, include technical skills that are department or role-specific. Additionally, for leadership roles, add leadership skills.


What is a competency matrix?

A competency matrix is a tool for mapping the required competencies against specific organizational roles or individuals. It visually represents which competencies are necessary for which roles and at what proficiency levels.

Its purpose is to:

  • Assist in identifying employee skill gaps and training needs
  • Facilitate workforce planning and talent management
  • Support performance reviews and career development planning


What are the components of a competency matrix?

  • Rows correspond to competencies: List of particular skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for a particular role or team
  • Five columns correspond to proficiency levels: A scale or grading system to rate the level of expertise (in our case, basic, intermediate, competent, advanced, and expert).
  • Additional columns for performance metrics or expected outcomes for each level and developmental activities

What is the difference between a skill matrix and a competency matrix?

A competency matrix is a tool used to map the required competencies against specific organizational roles or individuals. It visually represents which competencies are necessary for which roles and at which proficiency levels. A skill matrix is a grid that maps specific skills against employees to identify available skills and skill gaps.

Check our in-depth analysis of the 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.

Additionally, download a free skills matrix template here.

What is the difference between a competency matrix and a job description?

  • A competency matrix is a tool that maps the required competencies and proficiency levels to specific organizational roles. It provides a detailed view of the skills and behaviors needed for various positions.
  • A job description is a document that outlines the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and requirements of a specific job. It typically includes the job title, summary, key responsibilities, qualifications, and working conditions.

While a competency matrix focuses on the skills and attributes needed for roles, a job description provides a broader overview of the job’s responsibilities.

What are the core values of the competency matrix?

The core values of a competency framework typically include:

  1. Clarity: Clear definitions of the required skills for various roles within the organization
  2. Relevance: Competencies that directly align with the organization’s strategic goals and job requirements
  3. Consistency: Uniform application across the organization to ensure fairness and standardization in evaluations for all team members
  4. Measurability: Clearly defined criteria for assessing and measuring competencies and employee performance objectively 
  5. Flexibility: Adaptability to accommodate changes in organizational needs, industry standards, and employee development
  6. Developmental focus: Emphasis on supporting continuous learning and professional growth

What are the five levels of competency?

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

Why use a competency matrix?

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

A competency matrix is instrumental for:

  • Standardized job profiles—A competency matrix helps define and standardize job roles based on required competencies, making recruitment and role definitions more systematic
  • Competency-based interviewsDuring interviews or assessments, evaluate candidates based on the competencies outlined in the matrix for that particular role; this ensures that individuals with the right competencies fill roles
  • Competency-based performance management—a competency matrix provides a structured framework for assessing employee strengths and areas needing improvement, reducing subjectivity in evaluations
  • Identifying training needs—With a clear view of competencies and levels, HR professionals can design development initiatives addressing specific competency gaps
  • Strategic resource allocation for learning and development initiatives—By highlighting the competencies that employees need to develop, your organization can provide more tailored training programs; there is no need to run communication training if all your people have advanced communication skills
  • Communicating role expectations—New hires can understand what competencies they need to develop to move to the next level or shift roles, thus giving them a clear career trajectory
  • Fair compensation—With a standardized competency framework, organizations can ensure that compensation packages are consistent with the competencies and expertise employees bring; human resources can link pay grades or bands to the competency levels

What are the four dimensions of core competencies?

The four dimensions of core competencies are:

  1. Knowledge: Understanding the concepts, principles, and facts relevant to the job
  2. Skills: The ability to perform tasks and activities efficiently and effectively (both soft and hard skills) 
  3. Behaviors: The actions and attitudes employees exhibit in various situations
  4. Attributes: Personal qualities or characteristics that contribute to job performance, such as integrity, resilience, and adaptability