‘How to Prepare a Skills Matrix’

Introduction
A Skills Matrix is one of the most simple, but highly effective, tools available to assess training needs. It is easily reviewed and updated, and presents the skills of team members in a single chart. This guide examines how a Skills Matrix will help you to: • Review the skills and competences required for roles within the team • Assess training needs • Identify gaps in skills within the team • Build commitment to the development of new skills.

Definition
A Skills Matrix is a table that clearly shows the skills held by individuals in a team, and the skills gaps within a team.

Key steps in preparing a Skills Matrix
To get the most out of your Skills Matrix you will need to:

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1.Identify the job roles in your team

2. Review and code standards of performance

3. Assess the requirement for on-the-job training.

An example of a completed Skills Matrix is provided at the end of this guide, as well as a blank proforma. Look at the example, photocopy the proforma, and using your own team as a guide, follow these steps to prepare a Skills Matrix. (For more on Organisational Training Plans, see ‘How to Develop an Organisational Training Plan’).

Learning Resources
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1. Identifying job roles
List your team members in the left-hand column of the blank proforma. Identify up to 8 key tasks or roles that your team must fulfil to be effective and achieve its goals. It may help to use the following tips: • Ask yourself and your team “What are the main things that individuals in the team have to be able to do?” • Refer to Job Descriptions for the team. • Use National Vocational Qualification standards (NVQs) to help compile your list. The standards are a helpful starting point, which list the key skills required to operate in a wide range of business areas. • Consider new tasks and skills that may be required of your team in the near future. • If it becomes too complicated, break the job roles down into some key areas, and create a Skills Matrix for each.

2. Coding and standards of performance
Use a coding system to show who has the skills required, and who requires training. There are a number of ways of presenting this on the matrix. The most simple is to place a cross in the relevant box for those who can complete the task, and leave a blank against those who cannot. Alternatively you could use a colour coding system where: Red = No skills in this area Amber = Partly trained in this area Green = Fully trained in this area. Another option is to rate the skill level of the individuals with a coding system: Can complete the task Can complete the task to the required standard Can complete the task to the required standard, in the required amount of time Could do all of the above and train others. A coding system based on training status is presented at the bottom of the proforma. Try using this system to create your Skills Matrix. Remember… …to avoid any unnecessary duplication of skills and too many people requiring training. Use the box at the bottom of each column to show the maximum number of people requiring this skill. Review this number with your team regularly, and according to changing circumstances. …to update the Skills Matrix regularly. This is a dynamic document that may change due to changes in priority, personnel, time of year. You could incorporate a review of the matrix into monthly team meetings. …to gain commitment to training and development by keeping the team involved in updating the matrix and assessing needs.

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3. Assess the requirement for on-the-job training
You are now in a position to see what requirements you have for new skills to achieve your team objectives. You can update training as it is completed by each individual and keep track of progress. The maximum number of people required to be able to complete a skill may vary, and will affect your requirement for on-the-job training.

Skills Matrices and Investors in People
The Investors in People indicators provide a clear framework for assessing training needs. Check the effectiveness of your current arrangements against the following indicators and associated evidence. Main Indicator Indicator 8 People learn and develop effectively. Evidence: Managers can describe how they make sure people’s learning and development needs are met. People can describe how their learning and development needs have been met, what they have learnt and how they have applied this in their role. People who are new to the organisation, and those new to a role, can describe how their induction has helped them to perform effectively. Skills Matrices are one method of recording existing skills of a team and any gaps where development is required. Additional Indicators Indicator 1 A strategy for improving the performance of the organisation is clearly defined and understood. Evidence: Managers can describe how they involve people when developing the organisation’s business plan and when agreeing team and individual objectives. Skills Matrices help to review training needs at the individual and team level. If you put on the bottom of the matrix the maximum number of people required to have this skill, you are linking in the organisational requirements. It is important that employees review the matrix so people feel encouraged to participate.

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Example Matrix for an Administration Team
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