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Oct 3, 2022
15 min read

What Is Skills Matrix and How To Create One (+ Free Template)

In this article:

In the post-pandemic working world, 49% of employees  report feeling burned out at work. A skills matrix offers businesses the potential to decrease this number through proper work delegation and assignments based on skill proficiency.

How does this work?

First, skills matrices can decipher which skills an employee thrives on and executes efficiently. Using this information, a company can alleviate their employees' stress and boost productivity by passing on the right tasks to the right people. With 70% of workers admitting that they don’t feel their boss is actively trying to prevent them from being overloaded at work, this ability seems essential. 

Not only does the skill matrix identify which skills are done proficiently, but it also highlights the areas that are lacking and need more training. The number one reason in the world why people change jobs is because of the lack of career growth and development opportunities available. That makes growth and evolution imperative for employee retention. Skill matrix will help point out where a business should focus its progress and education.

Today we will explain what a skills matrix is, why it is necessary and how to create them for your company. Feel free to download and utilize the free skills matrix template provided below!

What is a skills matrix?

A skills matrix, or a competency matrix, is an organized way to determine each team member's skills within a company accurately. Skills matrices enable a department to evaluate employees based on relevant skills required for certain projects or during performance reviews.

Using the competency matrix knowledge team leaders and managers can match employees' skills to a role that suits them. Not only does this tool point out areas where employees may need to improve, but—more importantly—it sheds light on their talents.

Focusing on individual strengths while delegating tasks cultivates a more productive and smoother operating workplace. 61% of US employees stated that they were more engaged when their supervisor focused on their strengths—assigning them tasks that allowed them to shine.

The skills matrix is vital to an organization as it is applied to monitor, plan, and monitor the present and required abilities for a job, team, department, project, or the entire organization.

Who creates a skills matrix?

Traditionally, skills matrices are created by either the HR department or the managerial branch of a business. Their goal is to construct a bird's eye view of individual employee abilities. They make it easier to build performance review templates, assess new hires, make promotion decisions or assign individual employees a particular role.

Performance review template

With the shift to modern ideals in the workplace, the skills matrix creation and use have expanded to include outside business partners, team leaders and even members of the staff themselves.

Allowing staff to view a skill matrix makes them active participants in their growth at a company. Think of it as an adult "report card" which indicates to employees where they excel and in what areas they can enhance their abilities.

Why do you need a skills matrix?

skills matrix soft skills

Source: Freepik

Keeping a business on track through the evaluation of each employee's unique skill set can be a daunting task for an HR department. When all the skills required for a productive work environment are listed and centralized in one place, it is easier for a business to delegate tasks, perform training and determine what performance review phrases to use in an evaluation.

Introducing a skills matrix also helps to quickly determine skills gaps and how to render those gaps effectively. There are several critical benefits of a skills matrix but for the sake of this article, here are our top six.

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6 Benefits of a skills matrix

  1. Employee recruitment & hiring
    Knowing which skill sets are needed to thrive in a particular workplace can aid in the hiring process. When these specific skills are identified and classified based on proficiency, recruitment teams can produce a list of must-haves used to hunt down the best candidates.
    If a team member is released or withdraws from their position, it is simple to see what capabilities one must have to replace them. This will save the company time and money when making a new hire.
  1. Education & training
    Ongoing learning in a profession is critical for employee growth and potential. Training and development programs enhance performance, boost productivity and improve company culture. Therefore, identifying which education and training programs should be invested in through the use of a skills matrix can strengthen the entire company.
    This tool enables a business to manage company qualities by creating groups of staff who have similar capacities within skill sets. For example, all employees who are labeled as beginners in leadership skills should be grouped during leadership training. This will allow those individuals to grow as a unit, learning from one another as they go.
  2. Employee performance evaluation
    Well-conducted performance evaluations improve productivity in the workplace. The fact is that 37% of employees are shown to be more productive when they receive personal recognition during a performance evaluation.
    A skills matrix can aid in the performance assessment process by providing the skill level of each staff member in a certain category. It is then easier to plan and prepare a performance evaluation template that companies can utilize to gauge employees' development.
  3. Determination of unique employees
    Although work environments are symbiotic, thriving as a whole, they also depend on critical roles for their success. There are always some members of an organization that provide essential skills at a high proficiency level. This makes those individuals invaluable in a company.
    Skills matrices enable business professionals to determine who these unique employees are, and what their value is worth in a company. This benefit can be applied during staff promoting, hiring and appreciation.
  4. Workload reduction & delegation
    Assigning projects successfully based on a particular skill is easier when it's clear which employees can handle the workload. Knowing how to manage employees' skills introduces the ability to reduce workloads for overloaded people. Delegation of tasks also becomes straightforward with a list of required skills already quantified in the skills matrix.
    When team members are absent, it is essential to be aware of the other staff's capabilities to reassign jobs. Skills matrix makes redirecting tasks a breeze by stressing who can handle the responsibility of these duties and who cannot.
  5. Uncovering skills gaps
    Potentially costing the business economy nearly $2.5 trillion within the next 6 years, skills gaps are an enormous challenge for businesses. Skills gaps are the disparity between what a company's desired skills are versus a potential employee's specific skills. These factors are often unaligned, creating high costs for an establishment.
    It is simple to see what missing skills there are in a department with an employee skills matrix. Having crucial skills listed and competent gives institutions an advantage over their competition. Uncovering these skill gaps also directs the focus to areas that may need a boost with future training.

Tips for building a skills matrix

building a skills matrix

Source: Freepik

Building a skills matrix can be as easy as creating an excel document. Sometimes, simply adding relevant skills needed for a certain position into a table accompanied by the employee's names and checkmarks is sufficient. Here we will be guiding you through the steps of preparing for and creating a skills matrix.

Guided steps for creation

1) Identify the right skills to include
  • This is accomplished by reviewing the list of abilities needed within a department or team. This skill set can include soft skills—such as emotional intelligence or adaptability—or hard skills—like Microsoft office knowledge or project management. It can also cover technical skills—similar to data analysis or programming.
  • This data can be collected by simply asking around the office. Inquire with team members, managers and human resources or check out the project expectations to get an idea of what skills should be included in the matrix.
2) Appraise employee's skills & efficiency levels
  • To efficiently rank skill levels using a skills matrix it is imperative to come up with a rating system. This system could be based on training and ability in each of the skills mapped in the matrix. One way to categorize, score and manage skills mastery is as follows:
  • 0—not applicable: used for employees who may not need certain skills
  • 1—training or beginner: a novice or still in the introduction phase
  • 2—moderate: intermediately adept in that area
  • 3—expert: This is the area in which they excel & specialize
  • There are a variety of ways to complete a skill appraisal for several employees at a company. It's common to gather input from supervisors and fellow team members, review credentials or rely on the self-assessment of an employee to decipher their skills proficiency.
3) Create a table & add employee data
  • Use skills matrix software through Effy.ai, Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to easily create a skills matrix template then applied interchangeably throughout different teams and departments. The free skills matrix template offered in this article was made using Google Sheets by completing these few steps:
  • First, create a title and identify the department name.
  • Second, make two rows for the name and job title of each employee.
  • Third, add columns of crucial skills relating to the department or project.
  • Fourth, include the collected data on competency levels by score.
  • The information can map skills using numbers, ideograms, colors or even percentages. It all depends on what visual overview is best and how many team members are listed.
4) Implement the created skill matrix within the workplace
  • Once complete, it's time to share this tool within the company. It is beneficial to have the competency matrix in a shared space online where department heads and bosses can get ahold of it quickly. The malleability of this template between teams is one of the best features.
  • Implementation of the skill matrix is not limited to one department or purpose. It can be applied when making decisions about task assignments or used for general skills assessment. It also can be exploited to make decisions about development programs and additional training.

Skills matrix template

Creating a skills matrix that is right for a department or team depends on a few different factors.

- How big is the team or department?

- How much data is to be included in the Matrix?

- What visual presentation works best for the user?

The free template provided below is a good example of a basic skills matrix that can be used for smaller teams and departments.

Get Skills Matrix Template

skills matrix template
Download Template

Less busy and more direct, this template is super user-friendly and interchangeable throughout various sectors of a business.

Common mistakes to watch out for

When using skill matrices to determine employee's skill levels, some common mistakes people make are important to keep in mind.

  1. Be specific when compiling a list of skills necessary for a particular project or position. Not all skills that an employee possesses have to be included within the matrix. It is important, however, to identify and include crucial skill sets that are imperative for the job at hand.
  2. The complexity of the skills matrix is dependent on the creator and users. While these tools are practically boundless, they can be formed to be complex or unadorned—without so many numbers or visual effects.
  3. Maintenance of a competency matrix takes effort and must be done regularly. To keep up with the progressions and changes in a team's skills, all indicated staff should be on the same page when it comes to the responsibility of updating the system.

In conclusion

To sum things up, an employee skills matrix is favorable because it highlights skill gaps and skill set proficiency levels. Similarly, it helps new team members know what new soft or technical skills they may need to acquire to thrive at a company.

A skill matrix helps employees follow their own skills with the inclusion of employees' names and skill levels. It can be referred to during performance evaluations, succession planning and new hiring.

Knowing the specific skill sets of project teams allows a workforce to complete each project successfully. So, hunt down the talents and competency level of employees and get started strengthening the team today!

FAQ: Skills Matrix Template in 2023

Why is the skills matrix important? 

Skills matrices are important because they provide a business with an organized and clear-cut way to identify and monitor employees' skills over time. They can be used to decipher role assignments and make hiring decisions.

What is a skills matrix on a CV?

A skills matrix on a CV is a table with determined skills and proficiency levels that are used when applying for a new position. Instead of listing skills on a CV—which can be messy, skills matrices are a way to organize them into a chart.

How do you create a skills matrix for a team?

Creating a skills matrix for a team is as simple as making a table on Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. It may also be done using skills matrix software such as Effy.ai.

What is a training matrix?

The training matrix is a method used to organize and follow employees' training and development within a company. It is a skills matrix that helps map specific skill training in the workplace.

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