Small Business Trends

What is Competency Mapping? – A Beginners Guide

By | 3 min read | Published

Looking to map out your employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and future growth areas? Try competency mapping.

What is competency mapping?

Competency mapping is the process of identifying employees’ skill sets and opportunities for growth. When done correctly, competency mapping can help employees better understand their strengths and weaknesses, and identify improvement areas.

Why is competency mapping important?

Competency mapping allows businesses to develop their employees by meeting them where they are and clearly indicating where they should go. In addition to identifying an employee’s current skills and improvement areas, employers can use competency mapping to provide specific, actionable feedback that facilitates growth. In turn, this means employees are better positioned to make a positive contribution to your business.

Certain subsets of competency mapping can help employers provide even more granular feedback. For example, skills mapping focuses on the specific skills your organization has across employees, as well as what skills you need and how existing employees can be developed to meet those needs. This allows businesses to identify specific training areas while facilitating clearer expectations associated with each role.

Why should small businesses use competency mapping?

Small businesses face challenges that larger companies often don’t, such as lacking a robust or well-resourced HR department to manage training and development. As a result, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) may struggle to help employees advance their careers, which can lead to decreased productivity and turnover.

Competency mapping can help by creating a method for all employees to grow, thrive, and contribute to your SMB. Robust competency mapping also creates a standard by which small businesses can evaluate employees.

Competency mapping works best when accompanied by planning and communication. SMB owners should clearly communicate employee expectations from the start of employment, and then map employee skill development against those expectations. Defined goals and development paths can help SMB managers and owners avoid allocating their limited time and resources on constantly evaluating individual employee performance.

Benefits of competency mapping for employees

  • Help employees identify improvement areas.
  • Certain types of competency mapping such as career mapping can outline specific skills that employees need to develop to advance their career, making promotion paths more attainable.
  • Gives employees a clear sense of not only what they need to do to improve but how to do it by including the specific resources, training, and assistance necessary to accomplish desired growth.

Benefits of competency mapping for employers

  • Increased employee morale and productivity due to a better understanding of their skills and growth opportunities, which can improve employee retention.
  • Eliminates ambiguity about what is expected from employees in order to advance through a company’s ranks and better serve the entire organization.

Want more employee performance resources?

Check out Capterra’s Performance Management System Shortlist of top tools that can help your business manage employee growth.


About the Author



At Capterra, we believe that software makes the world a better place. Why? Because software can help every organization become a more efficient, effective version of itself.

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