Competency Architecture

Business communication skills
Defining technical competencies for the Water Utility Company in the KSA


  • The water Utility company in the KSA, which operates desalinization plants and power stations in Saudi Arabia, in the process of the sale of stakes in assets such as desalination plants is establishing several operating companies
  • The organization operates some 30 desalination plants, currently produces about 20 percent of the world’s desalinated water and is the second-largest power provider in the kingdom
  • Newly established operating companies will be privately run and operated, and consequently require pragmatic and practical competency architecture that will secure operational excellence 


  • The kingdom’s privatization program has seen delays in the past including plans to float oil giant Aramco, which was initially slated for 2018, but officials have now said is expected to happen by early 2021
  • Given the context, the emphasis was to step-up the progress with employee transfers to new operating companies 
  • To ensure a fair and equable process of selecting employees for the new posts across established operating companies, competency architecture has been identified by the program leadership as an essential success factor 


  • Worked with a designated expert team to ensure a link to business objectives of the OpCos
  • Made connections between individual competencies and organizational goals and values 
  • We kept it simple and established the framework as well as corresponding interview questioners as simple as possible to secure necessary buy-in and ease of deployment 
  • Due to the political sensitivity of the project, treated the implementation as all other change initiatives with reliable communications and change management 


  • Defining competencies helped the transition leadership team to achieve the following:
  • Ensure that for the critical jobs selected employees demonstrated sufficient expertise
  • Recruited and selected new staff more effectively
  • Identified skill and competency gaps more efficiently
  • Provided more customized training and professional development
  • Planned sufficiently for succession

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