Skills Matrix Chart Basics, Examples, and Templates

Skills Matrix Chart Basics, Examples, and Templates

If your company has large teams and a(n) unclear or complicated hierarchy, you need to build a skills matrix. Skill matrices are simple and effective tools that help you fill gaps in teams or track skill levels throughout your company or in a single department.  

A skills matrix empowers your HR and learning and development team by offering a simple framework to improve productivity and resource allocation within the company. The data from the matrix can help guide decisions related to hiring, promotions, and talent development like upskilling and reskilling. As the skills matrix visualizes the skills and competencies required for a certain position, a well-filled and customized matrix can help HR quickly fill important roles.

With the help of this article, you’ll be able to understand the basics of a skills matrix which will, in turn, help you streamline worker performance and create valuable learning programs.

Table of Contents: Skills Matrix Charts

What is a skills matrix chart?

A skills matrix helps chart the performance, skill sets, and experience of your talent, teams, and departments. It can also record the attributes needed for roles and positions. Putting together data from the matrix can help skill assessment and evaluation of competency in your company. The main beneficiaries of a skills matrix are the HR department and the learning and development team.  

Skill matrices can be simple two-column tables in Microsoft Excel or well-designed and detailed charts that record a number of data points. A completed skills matrix projects available skill sets, along with required soft skills and technical skills, and identifies any skills that are missing. Depending on your organization's needs, you can choose templates or create a matrix from scratch.

The benefits of skills matrix charts

Skills matrix charts offer a number of benefits related to proper staffing and training.

  • Identify the right person for a job. One of the benefits of having a skills matrix in place is the ability to quickly identify and place the right talent for a specific job or task. This helps you move projects faster and ensure the best allocation of resources. Skills matrices are an efficient tool that aids the delegation of tasks and allocation of resources.
  • Identify gaps in skill sets. With a completed skills matrix, you can identify gaps in teams, departments, or even your whole organization. This can help pinpoint any missing pieces that are holding the company back from optimum performance. Once you’re aware of the gaps in your organization’s skill sets, you can craft training programs that will add value and improve the contribution of your professional talent. On a smaller scale, team performance can also be optimized once you’re aware of the strengths and weaknesses of members.
  • Allocate resources efficiently. The ability to quickly switch professionals between teams and allocate them where their skills are required is a great advantage of a skills matrix. As you save time that would otherwise be spent in identifying the right person for a task, you also save money and increase productivity.  
  • Track professional progress.  A skills matrix can go beyond just aiding the identification and allocation of the right person to a task. It can also help you track professional progress on a regular basis. The learning and development department can use the matrix to their advantage and track how effective their training programs have been. Most importantly, the matrix can help you benchmark certain goals and conduct performance reviews. They are also useful for anyone looking to chart a career path and work on the skills they are currently missing.
  • Speed up the hiring process. When you lose talent  in your organization, a skills matrix can work as a readymade description of skills and competencies that suitable candidates must possess in order to efficiently fill the open position. This reduces the load on the HR department significantly, allowing them to focus on quality and getting better end results.  
  • Help eliminate bias during the hiring process. Humans have unconscious biases (e.g., confirmation bias and affinity bias) that can manifest during the interview process. If you use a skills matrix to codify the skill set needed for a particular role, it can help reduce the odds of you hiring the wrong person because of your favoritism.

If you already have a skills matrix in place and are well aware of the kind of talent you are looking for, you can find your next team member with Upwork. All you need to do is post an opening along with a description of the position you’re looking to fill, and you will be connected to top-quality independent talent.

How to build a skills matrix chart

Understand the benefits of a skills matrix and want to build one for yourself? Follow these steps:

  1. Determine the skills needed to complete a project. Determining the skills needed for a project will help create a kick-off point for your matrix. Being highly specific in this step will make the matrix more efficient.  
  2. Determine each team member's current level of skills. Once you have the skills listed in rows, the next question is, how do you score the skills matrix. You can start by listing every team member in a column and gauging their experience or expertise concerning the particular skill. You can complete this skill assessment with reviews and interviews, or through testing. While recording skill levels, use a number scale to plot different levels. An easy system to follow would be assigning numbers 0 to 4, starting from no competency and going up to the advanced level of competency.  
  3. Record each team member's level of interest in a skill. After plotting skill level, you should also record the level of interest shown by team members for each skill. This helps you track whether team members work on tasks they enjoy and find stimulating. You will prevent burnout and increase satisfaction by matching interests with tasks. This step helps ensure that you also take the talent’s perspective while creating the matrix.
  4. Use the information from the skills matrix to determine any missing skills needed. Finally, once you have plotted each worker’s level against the required skills, you can look for any gaps in your desired skill set. Using this information, you can track training needs and use that to create effective training programs, or shuffle how workers have been allocated to optimize productivity.
Skills Matrix

Three skills matrix chart templates

Using a skills matrix indicates that you are choosing a data-driven approach to managing people. Creating an effective matrix will help you recruit and retain the right kind of people for your company. If you’re keen on creating a skills matrix but don’t want to build it from scratch, browse through the list of readymade chart templates below and opt for the best fit.

1. AG5 skills matrix template. This free template has a guide to help you set it up properly. The AG5 matrix is a fairly simple template that plots existing skills from your organization and identifies critical tasks. You can download the MS Excel template for free.

AG5 Skills Matrix

2. Gemba Academy. This template is suitable for those looking to plot the skill level and progress of a large group of people with diverse skill sets. The matrix uses color coding to signify skill level in the final matrix in the place of a number system.

Gemba Academy

3. Analytics in HR. With a simple layout and an option to enter a level of interest, the template by Analytics in HR is a great option for those just starting out.

Analytics in HR

A talent manager can create the perfect skills matrix

Human resources is likely your company’s biggest investment and most important asset.

However, HR teams are often overworked and burdened with onerous tasks of hiring followed by paperwork and other tedious admin work. This is where a skills matrix can be put to good use. Data from a detailed skills matrix will help you pair the right tasks with the right employee, ensuring success.Creating a skills matrix is time-consuming and needs investment to continually record and update employee performance.

Instead of burdening your HR team with another framework to learn and keep track of, an effective alternative is hiring a talent manager..

While you are busy solving problems of various degrees, a talent manager can streamline your workforce. If you’re looking for someone who can evaluate employees and keep your teams in good shape, you can find a talent manager on Upwork.

You can do this by creating an account, posting a job description, and choosing the best candidate, or by browsing resumes of talent managers with existing profiles on the platform. With Upwork, you’ll have access to a pool of bright, talented, and competent people to choose from.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this section. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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Skills Matrix Chart Basics, Examples, and Templates
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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