Career Development

How To Create a Skills Matrix: Steps and Examples

April 2, 2021

Knowing the experience and skills that a team has can help leaders decide how to assign tasks in an efficient and productive manner. Using a skills matrix is one way to better understand each team member's skills and identify any areas where team members need to improve to be more successful in their job. In this article, we will discuss what a skills matrix is, why it's useful and the steps you can use to create a skills matrix for your team.

What is a skills matrix?

A skills matrix is a tool used in the workplace to identify the skills that a team will need to complete a project successfully. This matrix may list skills that team members already possess as well as skills that need to be developed. By listing out the skills and competencies that a team has and/or is working on, managers and team members can clearly see what the team has to offer and what is being worked on.

A skills matrix typically includes skills that are needed that the team currently doesn't have, skills that are available within the team and skills that are required to complete a project. The matrix may be broken down by specific roles within a project or may list all skills needed to complete every facet of a project. Each team member is typically given a rating on their proficiency in a skill as well as their interest in learning and/or using a particular skill. This allows leaders to effectively distribute tasks to team members who both want to use their skills for the task and who can complete the task in a successful manner.

Why use a skills matrix?

A skills matrix can increase the performance of a team and boost productivity in several ways. Benefits of using a skills matrix in the workplace include:

Makes team members aware of their skills

Creating a skills matrix can show individuals on your team where they excel and where they need to improve in terms of skills. This can help team members be more aware of the skills they should focus on honing as well as acknowledges the skills they are currently proficient in.

Outlines expectations

By clearly noting what skills are required to successfully complete a project, team members are aware of the expectations and what needs to be done to be effective in their role.

Easily indicates where new hires are needed

A skills matrix makes it easy to determine if new employees need to be hired to fill a certain role on a team. Knowing the skills that are missing from the team enables companies to find people who have these skills and hire them to successfully complete a project.

Identifies weak areas

Skills matrixes enable teams to have a good idea of what skills the team lacks as a whole and to work together to either compensate for the lack or to ensure missing skills do not hinder their performance.

Highlights areas within an organization that should be developed

When several teams within an organization use skills matrixes, the company as a whole has a clearer picture of any areas that need improvement. The organization can then use this information when deciding where to invest in additional training and development to increase company-wide productivity and success.

Related: 6 Tips for Effective Teamwork

How to create a skills matrix

The following are the steps you can take to create a skills matrix for your team:

  1. Determine the skills needed to complete a project.
  2. Gauge each team member's current level of skills.
  3. Rate each team member's level of interest in a skill.
  4. Use the information from the skills matrix to determine any missing skills needed.

1. Determine the skills needed to complete a project

The first step in creating a skills matrix is to clearly outline which skills are required to complete a project. Be as specific as possible when defining the skills and outline what is expected for each skill about the project.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

2. Gauge each team member's current level of skills

The next step in creating a successful skills matrix is to list out each team member and assess their current skill level for each skill needed to complete the project. You can assess their skills by either asking them about their proficiency in each skill or by administering competency testing. You will want to rate each employee's level of competency for a skill clearly by using a number system. The following is an example of a rating system that can be used:

  1. No competency/experience
  2. General level of competency/experience
  3. Intermediate level of competency/experience
  4. Advanced level of competency/experience

Using this scale, indicate each employee's competency level on the skills matrix.

3. Rate each team member's level of interest in a skill

After determining each team member's skill level for the skills needed to complete a project, you will then want to rate the team members' level of interest in either using a skill they already possess or learning a new skill. This ensures that team members are working on tasks that they enjoy or have an interest in doing and helps prevent burnout during a project. You can rate each skill for each employee as either "no interest" or "interested." Simply asking employees to provide their interest level for each skill should suffice for this step.

4. Use the information from the skills matrix to determine any missing skills needed

Once you have filled out the skills matrix, you can now use this information to see what skills are needed but that your team lacks. You can then either train team members on these skills or hire new employees who are already proficient in these skills.

Related: The Best Ways To Motivate Your Team

Example of a skills matrix

The following is an example of using a skills matrix to determine the skills needed for a project as well as which employees have the skills needed:

Competency levels:

  1. No competency/experience
  2. General level of competency/experience
  3. Intermediate level of competency/experience
  4. Advanced level of competency/experience

Interest levels:

  1. Not interested
  2. Interested

Team member Data analysis Project management Marketing Customer service Computer systems
Yolanda 4/2 2/1 3/2 3/2 2/1
Sharon 2/2 3/2 1/1 3/2 4/2
Anwar 2/1 3/2 2/2 2/1 3/2
Chris 2/1 3/2 3/2 2/1 4/2
Tomas 3/2 2/1 2/1 3/2 3/1

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