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What are the components of a skills matrix?

What is a skills matrix used for?

Benefits of using a skills matrix

Get a complete skills matrix with zero manual work with Deel Engage

What is a skills matrix

A skills matrix is a tool used to map and assess employees’ skills, competencies, and qualifications within an organization. It helps identify gaps, plan training, and allocate resources effectively.

In practice, it can be as simple as a two-dimensional table:

  • Dimension 1: People or departments in rows
  • Dimension 2: Skills in columns

What are the components of a skills matrix?

The main components of a skills matrix are:

  • List of skills and competencies relevant to the organization or team
  • Inventory of employees or roles within the team/department/organization
  • Rating scale to assess proficiency levels (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced)
  • Visual representation tools, such as color coding, to easily interpret the data
  • Method for regularly updating the matrix to reflect changes in skills and roles

What is a skills matrix used for?

Companies primarily use a skills matrix for:

  • Identifying the skills and competencies of their workforce
  • Assessing their proficiency levels
  • Determining gaps in skills within a team or department
  • Reducing operational risk by having skilled employees in critical roles

Organizations can make informed decisions about hiring, training, and development initiatives by visualizing the available and required skills. As a result, a skills matrix helps in:

  • Workforce planning
  • Training needs analysis
  • Succession planning

Benefits of using a skills matrix

Create effective learning and development programs

For many organizations, a learning and development (L&D) strategy consists of offering employees a library of training courses or a learning budget, and that’s it. There is no strategic objective or alignment between employee skill acquisition and company targets.

However, this approach is highly inefficient, with a low return on investment. A strategic L&D process would use a skills matrix for:

  • Highlighting specific skill gaps that need addressing
  • Informing critical training and development needs
  • Tracking progress and effectiveness of training initiatives over time
  • Helping in the creation of personalized development plans for employees
  • Allocating training resources efficiently and effectively

For example, suppose the skills matrix reveals that several marketing department employees lack advanced SEO skills, a critical skill for enabling the company sales pipeline and achieving sales goals. In that case, the company can organize a specialized training program to address this gap. This ensures the company uses its training resources efficiently and employees gain relevant skills to enhance performance.

Enhance resource allocation

An up-to-date skills matrix provides a clear and structured overview of the available competencies within a team or organization. This overview enables managers to assign the right people to the right tasks based on their skills and competencies.

For example, the skills matrix can help identify team members proficient in statistical software and data interpretation. These individuals could then be selected to contribute to a project requiring advanced data analysis.

Recruit strategically

By clearly mapping out existing skills and gaps, the skills matrix aids in creating strategic job descriptions and evaluation criteria, leading to a more efficient and effective hiring process.

Suppose a tech company’s skills matrix shows a deficiency in cybersecurity expertise. The talent acquisition team can focus their recruitment efforts on candidates with solid backgrounds in cybersecurity, ensuring that new hires bring the needed competencies to strengthen the company’s security.

Improve internal mobility and retention

A skills matrix empowers managers and HR to identify skills gaps within teams and address them by leveraging internal colleagues with relevant skills. It also becomes easier for employees to move across departments or projects that align with their career goals.

Internal mobility improves retention by offering career growth opportunities within the organization.

For example, a marketing department employee with strong analytical skills is identified as a good fit for a data analyst role. Facilitating this internal move can satisfy the employee’s career development goals, reducing the likelihood of them seeking opportunities elsewhere.

Plan for succession

A skills matrix is invaluable in succession planning by:

  • Identifying potential candidates for critical roles based on their skills and competencies
  • Highlighting skill gaps that need addressing for future leadership roles
  • Enabling strategic development plans to prepare employees for higher responsibilities
  • Ensuring a smooth transition by having a clear understanding of the skills required for critical positions
  • Reducing the risk of talent shortages by proactively developing internal talent

For example, suppose a company knows that a senior manager is retiring in two years. In that case, the HR team uses a skills matrix to identify employees with potential leadership skills who can take the role. They can then tailor training and development programs to prepare these employees for leadership positions, ensuring a smooth transition when the time comes.

Improve team performance

A skills matrix can significantly enhance team performance by:

  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses within a team
  • Ensuring the right people are assigned the right tasks based on their skills
  • Highlighting areas where employees need training or development
  • Facilitating better communication and collaboration by making everyone aware of each other’s skills
  • Helping in mentoring and knowledge-sharing initiatives by pairing less experienced employees with experts

Additional resource: Consult our in-detail guide to creating an effective skills matrix for your organization.

Get a complete skills matrix with zero manual work with Deel Engage

Get a detailed understanding of your organization's skills to identify strengths, subject matter experts, and development opportunities with Deel Engage. You get an integrated suite that combines competency frameworks, skill and competency assessments, and an LMS with competency-based learning—all streamlined in one user-friendly platform.

Learn more about the Deel Engage and how to use it to meet your growth needs.

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