What is a skills matrix and what are the steps to creating one?

Traditionally skills matrices have been used as an HR tool to help identify training needs and skill gaps.

Increasingly, the skills matrix has become a tool used by quality and continuous improvement teams as a driver to improve processes and increase production.

Skills matrices are also being used to be cross functional teams for covering holidays, absenteeism and sickness.

So how do you start?

In order to create a reliable, usable matrix, it is imperative that you look at one department, role or function at a time.

List the processes, including any equipment used and knowledge/skills required.

Skills, at this stage, could be broken down in to the objectives required to achieve the skill. This can make a skills matrix more difficult to manage without a software solution such as Skills Master Pro.

Your list should look similar to this:

Gathering data and measuring ability.

There are a number of tried and tested ways to gather data and to understand the competencies of the workforce.

  1. Local knowledge
    • This includes knowledge of the employees skill set by their supervisor/manager and from the employee themselves.
  2. On the job.
    • Simple tests, whether practical or paper based, can give a good indication of the competency of the individual.

Measuring ability at this stage will help in the accuracy of the eventual skills matrix.

Decide the levels of competency.

Usually you would choose 4 levels of competency plus a not required marker. This would be used for individuals in a department where the skill is not required.

What you call these levels is a business decision but should be consistent throughout.

Here is one way to build the competency levels:

Put the data in an easy to understand format.

A skills matrix should be visual. You should be able to interpret the results at a glance. Different coloured icons are usually best for this though quadrants or a heat matrix may be preferred.

The matrix shows that Pat is competent across all skills, where Frederick has training needs. Leo, who could possibly be a Team Leader, only requires some of the skills and is training at the moment.

Reviewing and using the data you have collated.

The skills matrix will identify immediate and long term requirements.

It will help identify the strengths of an employee and also show where they might need extra support.

If skills matrices are displayed in full view as part of your visual management strategy, it will, inevitably, empower your employee to seek further training and show more interest generally in the process.

Skills Master Pro is packed with intuitive tools to carry out this and many other tasks to make life easier when managing training needs and skill gaps.

If you need help or a live webinar where you can see the solution in action and your questions can be answered by our knowledgeable staff, then please get in touch via our website. Skills Master Pro