Develop your team with a skills matrix

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What is a Skills Matrix?

When managing a team, department, or even an entire company, you want to ensure that everyone has the skills they need to succeed. Employees who lack crucial skills, don’t just hurt your company, it also hurts anyone who tries to do a job they aren’t equipped to handle. Happy employees are more productive, perform better, and seek new jobs less often, resulting in a workforce that benefits the bottom line. There is no division between an employee’s success and that of your company. 

A skill matrix for employees is a mapped-out network of the skills your workforce already has, or should ideally possess. Creating a database of skills that updates itself as individuals complete training courses is ideal. And, using an employee skill matrix chart will allow you to see at a glance who has the skills to work on various tasks. When fostering a well-balanced workforce, it’s essential to arm your employees with both general and specific skills. Not everyone will attain the same proficiency, however, so when you need someone with mastery over a particular skill, you need to know who tops the charts. Sometimes, a project might require middling proficiency at multiple tasks, or you might need three different people with high ability at three different skills. Whatever the case, having various skill matrix levels of each employee defined from the get-go will help you choose the best person for each project.

Benefits of Skill Matrix Building

Having a picture of the skills pool you can draw from has immense benefits across the board. When choosing members for a team or project, you can immediately see who is best suited for the job based on their available skillset. 

Choosing people for tasks based solely on their documented skills is a fair and equitable way to distribute responsibility and shows that you value each team member’s skills. As a best practice, skills matrix building should focus on selecting the best person for each job. This has several benefits.

By including the category of none in an employee skills matrix, an organization may mean to indicate that they are moving into a new area of endeavor and are developing new teams and skills. This is especially useful for companies that want to hire internally. Of course, these skill levels are open to alteration depending on the needs of your organization.

Team cohesion

Putting people in roles they dislike or don’t feel qualified to perform will breed resentment and self-doubt. Team spirit and productivity will suffer as a result. It’s also bad for team cohesion if someone fills a role the other team members don’t think they’re qualified to carry out. Having a skills matrix to point to as the reason you made your choices allows everyone to understand that your motivations are above board and not based on favoritism or politics.

Individual growth

People tend to stay in jobs where they feel appreciated. Offering ongoing training is investing in your current employees and showing that you will still find them valuable in the future. This makes each member of your workforce feel like an integral part of your team. Mastering new skills and taking on new roles offers exciting challenges and personal growth, improving job satisfaction across the board.

Employee retention

Since they have visible evidence of your appreciation, employees are less likely to jump ship at the first sign of opportunity elsewhere. Continuing skills training also gives them a tangible path toward promotion, which also helps raise your retention rate. Promote-from-within cultures allow your workforce to have confidence that hard work and experience will pay off for them in your company.

Productivity

As skills improve, so does proficiency. Adding more skills to each employee’s repertoire will allow them to complete more tasks with less effort. This lowers their stress, improves their outlook, and makes them less likely to look for a different job. Rewarding productivity (as sales roles often do) is an excellent incentive for employees to learn new skills that they see as beneficial to their work. 

As you can see, building a skills matrix and allowing your employees to acquire additional skills benefits everyone in your company. Equipped employees are happier employees—who perform better, complain less, and stay longer. That’s a win-win scenario for everyone!

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Skill Matrix Example

Now that you know the benefits of creating a skills matrix, you might still be wondering what that looks like. We’ve added knowledge, skills, and competencies examples below to help you grasp what a matrix does for you outside of the abstract. 

For each skill that an employee in a given role should possess, you can rate their aptitude ranging from “beginner” to “expert.” You can rate from 1-5, 1-10, or use words like beginner, advanced, competent, expert, and trainer

The important thing is to set clear standards for each of your ratings and consistently apply them across every job role and skill set. Having a visual representation of each employee’s skill level will help you place and promote individuals more efficiently. It also allows you to apply the specific online training program you need to address any skills gaps you might find. 

1. Skills matrix for sales reps

Skills Matrix for Sales Reps

Sales isn’t as straightforward as it can sound. It requires a variety of hard and soft skills that contribute to the overall success of each rep. Creating a sales skills matrix will help you determine which skill contributes the most to productivity, and help you raise the proficiency of anyone who seems to be lagging. For sales reps, your skills matrix might include:

  • Email sales: Written communication and reading comprehension.
  • Phone sales: Verbal communication, empathy, ability to listen.
  • Follow-up: Knowing the ideal interval before next contact, ice-breaking, being personable.
  • Cold-calling: Being personable, low-pressure tactics, rapport building.
  • Referrals: Networking, group-building, reciprocation.
  • Value proposition: Communicating the benefits of the product to potential customers. 
  • Active listening: Understanding the customer’s pain point, acknowledging needs.
  • Problem-solving: Finding unique solutions, innovative thinking, finding a way to please the customer, adjusting to a more digitally-driven sales climate

Your matrix might rate each employee on general mastery of an overall skill, broken down into component strengths to assess which skills add most to productivity. Is your one amazing cold-call rep weak on timing but extremely personable? How much better would their productivity be if they could increase “ideal interval” skills as well?

2. Leadership skills matrix

A leadership skills matrix may look different according to the specific needs of your organization. You may need someone with specialized skills to lead a particular team or organize certain projects, but base-level leadership skills should look the same across your company. The skills are vital to managing both people and tasks:

  • Project management: Prioritizing, estimation, delegation.
  • Time management: Arranging by deadline, accurate completion estimates, flexibility. 
  • Negotiation: Adjusting schedules, getting more help, making your case, extending deadlines. 
  • Task assignment: Giving tasks to qualified personnel, snap decisions, evaluation of progress.
  • Employee management: Understanding who is best for a job, impartial judgment, reciprocated loyalty. 

As you assess each of your employees for leadership skills, it’s important to nurture areas of strength and address places of weakness. Sometimes, those who are successful in a role compensate for weak skill sets by being highly proficient in another. This can work in the short term but lead to breakdown once you require more from the person filling the role. Periodic assessment and ongoing training can help address these inequalities to give you a more well-balanced skills pool.

3. IT skills matrix

Again, depending on your particular needs, the skillset of your ideal IT candidate may vary. However, there are certain core skills you’ll want every IT employee to possess. You can customize any of the examples below to fit the unique requirements of your business. 

You may have your own list of skills that you want your IT staff to possess, but common ones include Python, Javascript, Six Sigma, Microsoft Office Suite, hardware networking and repair, and customer service. Each of these skills might be necessary to troubleshoot your e-commerce store, assist customers with account problems, fix your internal network, and other vital roles within your organization.

How to Create a Skills Matrix 

So, now you know what a skills matrix is and what it should look like. But how do you get started when trying to build one? 

It’s best to start with a pre-existing template to save yourself time and trouble. A basic training matrix template will help you arrange a list of skills into a chart. You need room for the employees that you’re rating, their skills, and their rating on each. Then, assign lessons based on the areas that need addressing and update each employee’s competency rating as they begin to improve. If you are evaluating productivity before and after assigning ongoing training, mark that down, as well. 

You can also create a skills matrix template that organizes by the skills required for each position to see how your employees stack up to their job roles. A good skills management software will let you change views with a few clicks, so you can evaluate either by position or by the employee. This will help you see the big picture and focus on improvement rather than perfection. 

Looking at the technical skills and competencies of your employees will allow you to make better hiring and promotion decisions. Instead of hiring by general skillset or perceived competency, you’ll know exactly what you need to balance out each team. You can also identify opportunities to train up someone who already works for you to fill a new role or take on added responsibility.

Skills Matrix Software

First, the right software is critical. You need to consolidate information, track and manage skills, and see everything you need with a few simple clicks. That’s where Lessonly has you covered. 

If you find gaps with your employee’s skill levels, or simply want to level up your team’s skills, Lessonly can help. Our enablement software makes continuous training and coaching possible for all customer-facing teams. With Lessonly, trainers and managers can easily create, deliver, and track training on key skills for entire teams and individual employees so everyone has what they need to succeed. Our powerful solution also enables team members to apply newly learned knowledge and hone skills through interactive practice exercises. The result is a 76% improvement in performance. See how teams train faster with Lessonly.

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