Employee Skills Matrix: Benefits & How To Create It
November 10, 2022
What is an employee skills matrix, you ask? Let us explain. Whether you are managing an entire business, a department, or a mere team, you must ensure your employees have the skills to succeed. Those who lack critical skills do not just hurt the current tasks at hand but also affect the long-term organizational goals.
A skills matrix helps you map out the skill level of your employees or specific teams to ensure everyone is equipped with the knowledge needed for successfully completing a job or an individual project.
Well-trained employees witness a boost in their productivity by 10%. They perform better and seek to switch jobs less often - resulting in a workforce that actually benefits the bottom line.
In this article, we will explore what a skills matrix is, why it is essential, and the steps you must remember to take to create a skills matrix for your team:
A skills matrix is a grid-based visual framework representing the skills an organization currently has access to and the skills that will be required in the future. Besides, it shows the proficiency level of every employee for each skill.
A skills matrix aims to streamline employee performance evaluation and make learning and development more effective.
The tabular representation of employee skills is simple. Every skill an employee in a given role should possess is rated based on their aptitude - “beginner” to “expert.” For instance, you can rate using words like beginner, advanced, trainer, and expert or rate them numerically - from 1-10 or 1-5. Here is how a typical employee skill matrix chart looks:
A visual representation of every employee’s skills will help you place and promote them more efficiently. It allows you to organize training programs to bridge the skills gaps you might find. Set clear standards for all your ratings and apply them consistently across every job role and skill set. Be objective and avoid playing favorites.
Although the concept is the same, the usage and level are different. For instance, a skills matrix basically represents the evaluation of the employees’ skills.
On the other hand, a competency matrix analyzes and summarizes an employee’s abilities, knowledge levels, and desires to add value. It is measured using academic qualifications, skill abilities, and desires.
Your business needs an employee skills matrix because evaluating employee performance on relevant skills can give your business a competitive advantage. Ever since the pandemic upended our world, companies have changed drastically.
For starters, layoffs became as common as working from home. The importance of hiring and retaining quality talent grew manifold. Fast forward to today, businesses have quickly employed a hybrid working model to give flexibility and creative freedom to their employees.
Businesses are revisiting their learning and development [L&D] strategy - revolving around learning what, learning when, and learning how. According to LinkedIn, 94% of professionals said they would stay longer if employers invested in their learning and development.
Just like a software application needs an upgrade from time to time, employees also need to adapt to the industry's latest developments, technologies, and tools. The top L&D professionals agree that upskilling and reskilling are their highest priorities.
However, it is not always easy for companies to determine what skills are needed to equip their workforce for future projects and challenges. An employee skills matrix helps them identify skills gaps, assign employees to appropriate projects, and build training programs.
Assessing every employee based on their skills and competencies can become challenging. A skills matrix allows them to quickly identify the skills gaps and determine how to fill them. But there are more benefits of using an employee skills matrix, including:
Employees gain a deeper insight into the value they are adding to your business and become fully aware of their skills to be successful in their job roles. A skills matrix helps create a sense of management in their development and identifies the training areas to focus on.
Having an employee skills matrix guides HR in the right direction to design bespoke training programs or arrange for on-the-job training. They are well-aware of the general pulse of employees and take corrective measures to bridge the skills gap.
Individual professionals on a team become more aware of their weaknesses, taking extra caution to bridge the skills gap and positively contribute to the overall team performance. A skills matrix also helps managers mitigate critical person dependency and identify whether one employee relies on others on the team to complete essential tasks.
A regularly updated skills matrix helps track employee skills and proficiencies across different departments within the company. This helps in internal mobility, which refers to the movement of employees within a company.
A skills matrix enables you to hire internal employees for new job roles or projects rather than externally undertaking the candidate selection process. When skills are mapped out, it becomes easier for employees to smoothly move across teams or projects. Plus, it is cost-effective for the company.
Setting up training for your employees that aligns with their strengths and interests can benefit your business because happy employees are more productive. They give their best shot when they enjoy what they do. Training also helps them receive recognition for skills they already possess, enhancing their engagement levels and self-esteem.
An employee skills matrix template lets you gather information quickly and easily, reducing overhead expenses. That is because HR managers do not need to follow up with each employee every few months to check skills gaps using a skills matrix.
Although there is no need for your clients to know about your employee skills matrix, they will benefit from superior customer service and high-quality products or services due to increased employee competency and productivity.
Now that you know what a skills matrix is and how it benefits companies, how do you actually go about putting them into practice? Simply follow these three steps:
Give a hard look at all the skills required for the role, department, or project. Be as specific as possible when creating the list. Please remember that soft skills such as teamwork, accountability, and communication are as important as knowing job-specific techniques or technologies. Start by mentioning the essential skills related to the role or business.
So, that becomes a desirable skill. Speak to department heads or managers and ask them to create a list of skills required for different levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This will help you highlight skills that might not get considered initially.
This arrangement helps rank the skill level or competence of users. Some common ways to grade and categorize your employees in the skills matrix template are:
The numbers denote the competency level. Alternatively, you can ask employees to convey their interest level in a specific skill as interested (1) or disinterested (2). It is always better to employ multiple stages of evaluation.
For instance, if a marketing executive declares their interest and expertise in Google Ads, they should be tested for and assigned to projects requiring a Google Ads expert.
Going back to the example we discussed at the beginning of the article, designing an employee skill matrix chart is relatively easy. In the first row, mention all the skills for which the employees are being graded. In the first column, list the employee names.
The easiest way is to rate them numerically - from 1-10 or 1-5. Sort the skills into categories based on their contribution. You must be highly objective while doing this, as unconscious bias can creep in. There are several techniques you can utilize for grading employees:
Regardless of the solution you have chosen - spreadsheet, paper, or software - for building the skills matrix template, you must keep the following tips in mind:
The matrix will give you a clear picture of what skills are available and what skills are missing. Host training programs that will help your employees hone their skills. Bring in a trainer or get an in-house expert to conduct a few workshops.
An employee skill matrix chart visually represents which employees have the necessary competencies to complete specific tasks. You can use it for talent management, performance reviews, and organizational planning purposes.
The benefits of a skills matrix include increased productivity, better customer service, and less turnover because every employee is matched with their appropriate skill set and optimal employee engagement scores.
Devising an employee skills matrix template ensures you are placing people in positions where they will succeed while also identifying areas where leadership needs to improve when promoting employees or deciding who should fill open job roles.
Asavari is an EiR at Adaface. She has made it her mission to help recruiters deploy candidate-friendly skill tests instead of trick-question based tests. When taking a break, she obsesses over art.