The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

SFIA level 1 to 3 expectations of employees and managers

Purpose: An add-on tool to help new employees understand expectations of work

SFIA level 1 to 3 expectations of employees and managers

The provided document uses an approachable and supportive style of language to help new employees understand their roles and responsibilities in a more engaging and less intimidating manner. This is particularly useful for onboarding and early-stage development, as it helps to build confidence and create a positive relationship with the employer.

  • In contrast, the actual SFIA framework is more formal, detailed, and technically oriented, which is necessary for precise skill assessment, professional development, and alignment with industry standards.
  • This style is more suitable for detailed competency mapping and performance management and when employee are familiar with the professional and technical expectations of their role.
  • Both styles have their place, with the provided document being an add-on tool for initial employee engagement and development, and the SFIA framework serving as a robust foundation for long-term skill assessment and career progression.

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SFIA Level 1

SFIA Level 2

SFIA Level 3

Setting expectations for employees.


Providing them with a roadmap for employee growth and development within the organisation.

You'll be working closely with guidance and supervision to help you along the way.

We'll provide you with clear and specific instructions to follow. Expect regular reviews of your work so we can ensure you're on the right track and help if needed.

For any inquiries, you won't need to make many decisions on your own. If you ever find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it's completely okay — and expected — that you ask for guidance.

When it comes to planning, just focus on organising your individual tasks. We're here to help guide you on the bigger picture.

When it comes to influence at work, it means how your actions affect others. At this level, your influence is mainly on your immediate colleagues and your tasks. Focus on completing tasks efficiently and seeking guidance when needed.

You'll be working with a routine set of directions, but you're gradually gaining more independence.

While you'll still receive guidance and instructions, your work will be reviewed periodically. This will allow us to see your progress and help where needed.

You'll have a bit more freedom in addressing certain issues or inquiries. Remember, if you're ever unsure, it's always wise to seek guidance. It's part of the learning process.

You'll be responsible for planning your work in the short term. As you grow in this role, you'll get to exercise more of your planning skills.

You will start contributing to team discussions and decisions. Influence at work involves affecting team outcomes. You’ll interact more with team members and sometimes with people outside your team, helping shape how things get done.

You'll be working under a more general direction, taking on more ownership of your tasks.

We'll give you specific directions, but we trust you to work independently. Just remember, we'll review your work at certain milestones to ensure you're on track and to offer support when needed.

You have the discretion to identify and handle complex issues related to your assignments. If something feels beyond your scope, don't hesitate to escalate it to someone with more experience.

You're in charge of organising and tracking your work, ensuring that you meet the given deadlines. If you're overseeing others, this applies to their tasks as well.

You will play a bigger role in team decisions and interact with colleagues outside your team. Influence at work includes making an impact on decisions and processes, helping to guide how the team moves forward.

As a supervisor/line manager, your goal is to encourage growth, build confidence, and gradually increase the autonomy of your team members.

You can adapt your support and guidance to their evolving skills and needs.

As a supervisor, your role is to provide a nurturing and instructive environment for newcomers or less experienced team members.

Give clear, specific instructions and check in frequently. Provide constructive feedback during regular reviews, ensuring they understand the tasks and the quality expected.

Encourage them to ask questions. Be available to offer guidance and make decisions on their behalf when needed, gradually encouraging them to participate in simpler decision-making processes.

Assist them in organising their individual tasks. Explain how their work fits into the larger goals of the team and the organisation.

Help new employees understand their role in the team. Explain that influence means having an impact through their work. Provide regular feedback and support.

Your focus should shift towards encouraging more independence while maintaining a supportive oversight.

Offer guidance and instructions but allow for more self-initiative. Schedule periodic reviews to monitor progress and provide feedback, encouraging self-assessment.

Boost their confidence in making decisions by allowing them to handle routine issues. Be available for consultation, and guide them in learning from their decisions, whether successful or not.

Support them in short-term planning, offering insights on prioritising and managing their workload. Encourage them to start looking ahead and understanding the broader implications of their work.

Encourage participation in team discussions. Explain that influence involves affecting decisions. Provide opportunities to interact with colleagues outside the team.

At this stage, your role is to empower employees to take full ownership of their tasks and to function more independently.

Provide general direction and trust them to execute tasks. Be open to discussing their approaches and offer guidance when asked. Regularly review their work at key milestones to offer support and ensure alignment with objectives.

Encourage them to identify and address complex issues, stepping in only when necessary. Promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Allow them to take full charge of organising and tracking their work. If they are overseeing others, guide them in effective team management and delegation. Discuss longer-term planning, involving them in higher-level decision-making.

Support employees in influencing team decisions. Provide feedback on their interactions and help them understand their role in the organisation.

Style of language

Conversational and supportive

  • The document uses a friendly, encouraging tone aimed at making new employees feel comfortable and supported. For example, phrases like “you’ll be working closely with guidance and supervision to help you along the way” and “if you ever find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it's completely okay — and expected — that you ask for guidance” are reassuring and nurturing.
  • The use of "we" and "you" creates a sense of collaboration and partnership between the employee and the organisation.

Simplified and clear instructions

  • The instructions are straightforward and easy to understand. Terms like “clear and specific instructions” and “regular reviews of your work” avoid jargon and make expectations transparent.
    • The document breaks down responsibilities into simple actions, making it easier for new employees to grasp what is expected of them without feeling overwhelmed.

Gradual progression

  • The document emphasises gradual progression and increasing independence in a manner that is reassuring for new employees. For instance, phrases like “gradually gaining more independence” and “boosting their confidence in making decisions” convey a step-by-step development process.

Encouragement of autonomy

  • It encourages employees to become more autonomous over time while providing a safety net. This is evident in phrases such as “we trust you to work independently” and “if something feels beyond your scope, don’t hesitate to escalate it to someone with more experience.”

Style of language in the SFIA framework itself

More formal

  • The actual SFIA framework uses a more formal and technical language, focusing on precise definitions of skills and responsibilities. Terms like “apply,” “analyse,” and “evaluate” are common, reflecting a more structured and professional tone.
  • The framework tends to use industry-specific jargon and detailed descriptions of competencies, which can be less accessible to those new to the field.

Detailed and comprehensive

  • The SFIA framework provides comprehensive descriptions of each level, detailing specific skills and attributes required. This detail is crucial for precise skill assessment and development planning but can be dense for new employees.

Objective and measurable:

  • The language in the SFIA framework aims to be objective and measurable, ensuring that competencies can be clearly assessed. This includes specific criteria for each level, such as “work under close supervision” at level 1 or “work under general direction” at level 3.

Focus on professional standards

  • The SFIA framework is designed to align with professional standards and organisational needs, which sometimes results in a more impersonal tone. It is more focused on ensuring that employees meet industry benchmarks and organisational goals.

Use cases

Orientation and Onboarding:

  • For Employees: During onboarding, the document can be used to introduce new hires to their specific SFIA level. This will help them understand what is expected from them in their current role.
  • For Managers: Managers can use this to explain their role in supporting new employees, setting a foundation for ongoing development and performance management.

Setting Initial Goals:

  • For Employees: Employees can set initial goals based on the skills and responsibilities outlined for their SFIA level.
  • For Managers: Managers can help employees align their personal goals with the organisational goals, ensuring a focus on the relevant competencies.

Regular Check-ins and Feedback:

  • For Employees: Regular check-ins using the SFIA guidelines can help employees stay on track and receive timely feedback.
  • For Managers: Managers can use these guidelines to structure their feedback, ensuring it is constructive and aligned with the employee’s development stage.

Development Planning:

  • For Employees: Employees can use the document to identify areas for development and seek opportunities for learning and growth.
  • For Managers: Managers can plan development activities, such as training sessions or mentorship opportunities, to help employees advance to the next SFIA level.

Performance Appraisals:

  • For Employees: During appraisals, employees can self-assess their progress against the SFIA level descriptions.
  • For Managers: Managers can use the SFIA framework to provide structured, consistent appraisals, helping employees understand their progress and plan for future development.