How To Design A Skills Matrix (With Steps And Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 17 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Staying informed of a team's technical and soft skills can help leaders delegate assignments suitable to the employees' skill sets. Creating a skills matrix for your team can make it easier to analyse their potential to participate in a project and highlight which skills they can develop. Understanding more about this chart and how it helps in the project allocation process might allow you to complete tasks quicker and up-skill your team.

In this article, we discuss what a skills matrix is, provide reasons to use it, explain how to create one, highlight some tips and review an example for your reference.

What Is A Skills Matrix?

A skills matrix is a tool that managers use to assess their team's existing skills when distributing work. Such a reference point helps managers study each team member's competencies and interest in developing other in-demand skills in the organisation. You can use this table to examine which skills your team requires and conduct training sessions or new recruitment drives to upgrade your team's expertise. This matrix allows you to rate a team member's expertise and make smarter decisions when forming special teams for specific tasks.

Related: Employee Engagement Tools (With Features And Examples)

Reasons To Use A Matrix

Here are a few benefits of designing a matrix for your workplace:

Creates a reference document for team members

Creating a matrix using data on your team's skills and the results of projects demanding these abilities can be a reference document accessible to other departments. This may promote intra-department collaboration and improve the productivity of the company. Apart from other departmental heads, your team can also check this matrix to understand their professional strengths and weaknesses. This makes it easier to decide how to distribute internal tasks and what training programmes can help develop necessary skills. As employees can clearly see where they require improvements, they may show a proactive approach to skill enhancement.

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Allows managers to make effective teams

As a matrix rates employees on their competency level and motivation to learn new skills, managers can create effective teams using it. For example, suppose a project requires coding and marketing knowledge, but the team is proficient only in coding. This helps a manager plan in advance and request resources such as new employees or experts from the marketing department. As managers can set realistic expectations, they can accurately predict project completion dates and suggest timelines to clients. An easy-to-understand matrix might support managers in assembling teams and sharing comprehensive project briefs.

Informs HR of skills to identify in new recruits

As this type of matrix shows a team's individual and collective skills at the workplace, human resource managers can create better job descriptions for future employees. The focus on numbers to rate abilities lets managers determine what new talent can prepare the team for upcoming projects. Sharing department-based skill matrices with managers can assist a company in conducting a profitable recruitment drive by onboarding employees who help improve the statistics of your matrix.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions And Examples

Highlights underdeveloped skills in a team

This skill assessment tool can assist you in identifying what skills are lacking in a specific department or organisation. For example, if employees are uninformed about using data analytics software to verify the accuracy of financial predictions, the team can be at a disadvantage. The competency matrix helps highlight skills a team is deficient in and guides the project manager to create groups with a mix of professionals having unique skill sets.

Tracks employee development

Building expert teams becomes simpler if an organisation conducts frequent skill development training sessions. One way to track their progress in a particular skill is by assessing the matrix at periodic intervals. Another advantage of this type of matrix is how employees measure their own competency and required skills to work in more advanced or niche-specific teams. While they get clarity on their capabilities, you can contribute by assigning mentors with knowledge in specific skills.

Simplifies finding replacements

This matrix lets you make intelligent replacements if an employee requires a sick leave or vacation during a high-demand period of collaboration between teams. Inputting accurate data in such tools allows you to sustain productivity in similar situations. You can substitute their absence by studying the matrix and choosing an employee with sufficient knowledge of the department. As there are chances of employees asking for leaves when there is a surge of incoming projects, you can save time in finding suitable replacements by referring to this matrix.

Related: Skills Test: Definition And Examples

How To Create A Skills Matrix?

Here are the steps to develop a matrix:

1. Create a database of skills

Start listing which skills are essential depending on whether you create a matrix for a project, department or company. You can categorise them based on soft and hard skills. Try asking experienced managers what skills can help amateur, intermediate or expert employees. This might ensure you include any skills which you missed in the matrix. Some examples of soft skills are work ethic, customer service, communication and time management. In comparison, some examples of hard skills are proficiency in software, graphic design, data analytics and marketing tools.

2. Design a skills-grading system

Design a grading system to assess how proficient employees are in these skills. While rating their interest levels requires a different approach, understanding their expertise in a skill can be difficult. You can use parameters such as their awareness of a topic, whether they are a novice or expert in executing the skill or if they can interact with clients directly. Create a scale where you can assess the employee's performance and give logical reasoning to determine a relevant skill grade. If the company organises skill assessment tests, completing your team's matrix might be convenient.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

3. Evaluate their interest in developing a skill

Once you determine your team's competency for the skills required in a specific department, gather data on how interested they are in developing these skills. Create a questionnaire that checks their interest in improving on skills they can develop and their existing skills. After displaying their interest levels in the matrix, managers can increase employee satisfaction by assigning them to projects that give them a positive working experience. For example, you can assign an employee to a search engine optimisation project based on their expertise and interest in enhancing knowledge of this skill.

Related: What Is Skills Mapping? (With Definition And Importance)

4. Analyse the matrix to understand which skills your team needs to develop

A completed competency matrix lets you analyse any missing skills which can benefit your department in efficiently finishing tasks. Identifying these skill gaps can enable you to launch skill development programmes to improve your team's performance in the company. Suppose the company is actively hiring new employees. In that case, the hiring managers can highlight these missing skills in the job post and prioritise candidates that improve the diversity of the matrix.

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Tips To Remember When Creating A Matrix

These tips may help you create an effective matrix:

  • Create a matrix which correlates your team's skills and the current demand for project-specific skills. This lets you respond fast to potential skill gaps and inform the hiring department.

  • Making it accessible for employees can guide them in areas they can improve. Simplified accessibility lets them understand and track what career development paths are available.

  • Relating their skills to past performances helps focus on collecting accurate details regarding their proficiency and interest. This can help strategise the reallocation of projects and avoid overworking other employees when resourceful alternatives are available.

  • Visualising data on how the employees approach a problem and the methods they applied for a positive outcome can assist you in correctly rating their competency. Try setting a rule where you include employee performance tracking software when creating a matrix.

Related: What Is Employee Retention? (And How To Increase It)

Example Of A Matrix

This example matrix explains how familiar a marketing team is with specific skills. The first number describes their level of competency and the number after the slash explains their interest in developing the skill:

Experience levels:

  1. No experience

  2. Basic experience

  3. Intermediate experience

  4. Advanced experience

Interest levels:

  1. Not interested

  2. Interested

Employee name


Database management/ Search engine optimisation/ Project management/ Email marketing/ Creating presentations/ Client servicing

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