How to Build an Impactful Skills Matrix

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Skills Matrix Template

A skills matrix template is a spreadsheet-style document to help companies keep track of where employees excel and where they need a bit of work. It maintains all of your employee files in one place, making it less likely that someone’s information turns up missing. Using a template when creating a skills matrix saves you time and effort, and finding the right one for your needs is crucial to maintaining efficiency. 

Creating an employee skill matrix chart, or filling out a premade template, is easy. You simply need to establish what skills you need your employees to have on any given project. An employee skills matrix chart helps you view, manage, and record employee progress while making it easier to keep things organized. The time you save by using this tool means more time for your other projects. For example, a skill matrix makes it easy to assess current skill levels, both for the team and the individual team members. It also helps you identify which areas your workers are interested in and where they show potential. Try to pair together groups of people that will learn from each other and whose skills mesh. 

Being able to prioritize which skills are necessary for your projects is essential for success. When you know what skills you need, you have to find out which employees have those skills and which are still learning. Mapping employee skills can create a lot of information to organize, especially if you’re not using all of the tools you have available. A skill matrix for employees helps by keeping all this information in one place, in a neat and orderly manner. After all, your job is hard enough, so why wouldn’t you use all of the tools at your disposal?

What are the Benefits of a Skill Matrix?

The most important part of assembling a sales team is identifying which reps are best suitable for the job. Making sure they work well together and have a complementary skill set is also a good idea. But with so many employees, how could you possibly keep track of it all? Filing all of the data manually is a long, arduous process — not to mention the risk of data errors and other mistakes. Having a skills matrix gives you a way to map all of this data without undue stress or wasting time.

What best practices help make a good skills matrix?

When seeking your best practice skills matrix, there are tools that definitely can help. Determine the size of the gap between the skills your employees have, and the ones they need for their project. Establishing that skills gap is the first step you must take on the path to closing it. 

Compile all your data and document it in a way that provides insight into your employee skills. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find any pieces you might have missed. Be as specific as possible; it’s better to have too many details you can edit out later than too few. 

Once you acquire all the necessary details, it’s time to organize. Arrange by skill set, learning potential, department, team, project history, or whatever metric fits your purposes. Having everything in one place is ideal, but it will become overwhelming without a functional organizational system.

Keep your records up to date to maintain a certain level of clarity. You don’t have to make your documentation too complicated, as it makes finding information more difficult in the future. Simplicity is your best friend here.

Why a skills matrix is a foundation of success

Creating a skills matrix is extremely beneficial, but can be time-consuming when you have to start from scratch every time. Once you’ve created a handful of skill matrices you like, analyze them to find out what makes them work so well. Take the best parts of each and make them general enough that they can apply to any future projects, and combine them into one basic training matrix template. Now you have a format to build upon for any skills matrices you might need in the future.

Consider the skills matrix pros and cons

The only real negative is not already having one. Perhaps you don’t know where to start, and that’s OK. Once you chart a clear path forward, there are only positives to implementing a skills matrix. A skills matrix offers:

  • A clear and convenient way to store and review data involving current and potential employees.
  • A way to quickly tell which staff members will work best together and be able to learn from each other.
  • An easy and streamlined process rather than a physical copy, or a collection of digital copies. 
  • A way to identify employees’ problem areas and assign relevant training. 
  • An expedited hiring process since you know what kind of person you need to hire before you begin.
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Skill Matrix Levels

Another thing to consider is the various skill matrix levels you may need to map your workforce. Typically ranking from zero to five, a skills matrix level indicates how knowledgeable an employee is in an area, with zero meaning they have no experience whatsoever. 

Setting up these levels is one of the most important things to include when making a business capability matrix or filling out a capability matrix template. A good capability matrix model should indicate a person or team’s skill level relating to an objective for your company. Employee training and skill levels are hard to keep track of and develop on your own, but with Lessonly, it’s easy. Lessonly and our all-new product, Skills, are designed to help you assess skills, uncover gaps, and deliver training to improve skill levels.

Skill Matrix Examples

Now that you know the basics of building a skills matrix template, you may need some specifics and a few examples. The key components of skills matrices are pretty universal. You need to include skill matrix levels (0 meaning no experience, and 5 meaning expert), as well as what skills and skill levels are required for the upcoming project to succeed. Other important things to put on your matrix include an employee’s general field of knowledge, the employee’s area of expertise, their relationship with others on the team, and who the employees will be able to teach and learn from. 

Designing and keeping track of a skills matrix can seem overwhelming and frustrating if you’ve never done it before, and you probably need guidance. There are many types of software out there that you could choose from, but Lessonly is the simplest and most comprehensive solution. 

If you’re still looking for a way to get started building your own skill matrix example, you’re in luck. Recently, Lessonly’s own Enablement Strategists advised folks on how to organize their teams’ skill sets and develop a skills matrix that matters. Watch this video to learn more how to define the skills your team needs so learners and managers have the clarity they need!