How to Create a Competency Matrix & FREE Template Download

How to Create a Competency Matrix & FREE Template Download

Are your employees the perfect match for their job positions? It’s important to identify skill gaps in a workplace to ensure that everything runs smoothly. However, determining the level of competency that your employees have can be difficult – but it doesn’t have to be. 

One of the easiest ways to level up your business and identify any areas for improving employee competency is with a competency matrix. 

Let’s explore this essential tool and everything you need in order to successfully implement one in your organisation today. 

What is a Competency Matrix?

A competency matrix is a visual tool which tracks employees’ skills and competencies. It is in the form of a grid or table that provides a complete list of the knowledge, abilities, qualifications, and behaviours required for a specific role as well as proficiency levels. This helps identify areas where you can boost employee’s competencies. 

A competency matrix enables managers to analyse the current competencies of their staff, and the desired competency levels for future needs. This can then be acted upon by identifying future training opportunities to build up the company’s talent pipeline. It can also be used to identify any gaps that can only be filled by recruiting new employees. 

In project management, a competency matrix helps project managers group employees of different skill levels together. Employees are categorised according to their competency levels based on organisational or project needs. 

Employees of varying competency levels can be grouped together to maximise efficiency and allow opportunity for mentorship by fully competent employees to inspire the semi-skilled employees, aiding succession planning.

Download FREE Competency Matrix Template

Competency matrices can make a huge difference for businesses. While you could create your own matrix from scratch, it can be quite a time-consuming task. Our downloadable competency matrix template is available for free! Just click on the link below to download our template in less than a minute. Talk about time-saving…

Unlock Your Organisation’s Potential Now! Download Our Competencies Matrix for Success.

Benefits of Competency Matrices

While there is a study that shows the relationship between employee competency and their stress-levels and overall performance, here are some more benefits for implementing this useful tool:

1. Improved Recruitment

The competency matrix helps the company to see which competencies they fall short of, highlighting the need to hire fresh talent and fill positions for the desired new competencies, in order to achieve organisational success. This is especially important in modern workplace environments. A recent study has shown that 65% of firms in London struggle to fill vacant spots. 

wooden figurines representing stand out employee

2. Clearer Career Paths

By listing the competencies required by employees, matrices help identify where there are opportunities for growth. Not only can it be used to see where an employee’s skill level falls short in their current position, but it can also be used by human resource managers to chart the career trajectory of valued high potential employees, encouraging talent retention and work engagement by providing good career development prospects and planned transitions.

3. Tailor skills training needed for company goals  

By highlighting competency gaps, managers can identify where there are employee training opportunities. Employees can also take their development into their own hands by requesting specific training and education resources based on their current shortcomings and career goals.

Tip: Learn more about the latest employee training methods.

​​4. Assemble productive teams and task forces

Managers can rely on the competency matrix to put together more productive teams and select the right employees for the right roles and tasks. Project managers use a competencies matrix to bring together employees with complementary strengths and capabilities.

Steps for Creating a Competency Matrix

Here are the steps for building a competency matrix for your entire team. 

1. Identify the scope of the competency matrix

Before you can actually start with listing the competencies needed, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to create a competency matrix that can be applied across your entire organisation? Or is this for a specific job role or position? Sometimes multiple competence matrices are needed in order to reap the benefits.

2. Define the Competencies Needed

The competencies and skill areas listed will be guided by key organisational goals. Employee competencies include skill sets and behaviours specific to an organisation’s needs, be it for company performance, a specific position, or shaping an organisation’s culture. 

Competencies have to be implementable and measurable for all staff, based on their specific roles. Examples of employee competencies include:

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork and interaction with other employees
  • Problem solving abilities and initiative
  • Command of software and other technical work tools
  • Work ethic

Make sure that the competencies selected match the goal of the organisation. If you are creating a competency matrix for a single project or job role, list down only the relevant competencies and skills required to be able to complete it. 

3. Use a Rating System to Measure Competency Proficiency Levels 

It’s important to create proficiency levels that are specific and measurable and that are aligned with the needs of the company. While complex proficiency levels can be used, a simple rating system can be created based on the following scale: 

  • 0 (No capability)
  • 1 (Basic capability)
  • 2 (Intermediate capability)
  • 3 (Advanced capability)

4. Determine Assessment Methods

Assessing employees proficiency levels can be conducted using a variety of assessment methods. Employees can evaluate their mastery of the competencies, giving themselves a score for each of the listed competencies and required skills. Managers can also rate the employees for each competency, as part of the 360 feedback method. Additionally, peer assessment or other methods can also be used. 

5. Map out employees competencies and proficiency levels

Now that the correct framework has been developed and the necessary assessment completed, it is time to map out employees’ competencies on the matrix. After this, the competency matrix is ready to be used and can be integrated with HR processes and used to implement training and development plans

6. Evaluate and Update

Once the competence matrix has been implemented, the process isn’t finished. In order to make the most out of your competency matrices, it’s important to regularly evaluate and update them. This will ensure that any changes, such as employee development or new recruits, are recorded. Keeping an up-to-date competency matrix will ensure that it is always useful and can be relied upon for making important company decisions.

management evaluating data relating to employee competencies

What makes a Competency Matrix Effective?

An effective competency matrix should be brief and achieve the following:

1. Provide clear and comprehensive competencies  

In order to be effective, the competencies listed on the matrix should be clear and comprehensive for the specific role. Proper research and consideration should be done in order to capitalise from this beneficial company tool. 

2. Proficiency levels should be clearly defined

It’s important for the proficiency levels to be clearly defined and well thought out. Management and employees should be able to easily identify which proficiency level they fall under.

3. Assessment methods should be consistent

In order for the competency matrix to provide accurate information, the assessment methods used need to be consistent and clearly identify proficiency levels. Multiple assessment methods can be used in order to collect more data, allowing for more accurate results.

4. Used for training and recruitment

It’s easy for competency matrices to just be another tool that isn’t properly used in a company. Once created, the data should play in active role in guiding leaderships competency training, recruitment, and career development decisions. 

5. Focus on company goals    

During annual reviews, the competency matrix is guided by key organisational goals to assess if employees have the required skill areas for their jobs. Managers can also create a brand new competence matrix for a single project, to review the available skills within the team along with project requirements. 

Not just a Skills Matrix or Capability Matrix

A skills matrix, competency matrix, and capability matrix are all similar tools used to assess and manage employee’s skills, knowledge, and abilities. However, there are subtle differences between the three that them useful for businesses. 

While skills are granular abilities unique to an employee, competencies are a general set of skills and attributes which are necessary for a specific position. On the other hand, capabilities are an employee’s inherent aptitudes or innate qualities that assist them in being able to perform a range of tasks or activities. 

Next read: If you’re looking to add one more matrix to your company’s portfolio, consider a risk assessment matrix

Competency Matrix FAQs

1. How does the competency matrix evolve as organisational goals and roles change over time?

The competency matrix evolves as organisational goals and roles change by being regularly updated to reflect new skills, technologies, and business objectives, ensuring alignment with current and future strategic directions.

2. Can the competency matrix be effectively integrated with performance management systems, and if so, how?

Yes, the competency matrix can be integrated with performance management systems by mapping competencies to specific performance criteria, enabling targeted development plans and performance evaluations based on clearly defined competency requirements.

3. What are the best practices for communicating the findings of a competency matrix to the team?

Best practices for communicating the findings of a competency matrix include providing constructive feedback, focusing on development opportunities, creating personalized action plans for skill improvement, and fostering an open environment where employees feel supported in their growth efforts.

Start Tracking Your Team’s Competency

A good competency matrix is instrumental for any organisation, to visualise the overall competencies of employees in relation to the business direction. Assessing how well each current employee and new hire fits into your business culture and goals is crucial for human resources management, including training and development to nurture your employees to their fullest potential. Get a free trial with Cloud Assess to set up a competency matrix for your company.

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