Do you use skills matrices in your business?

If you do you’ll know all about how useful they can be…

Most businesses, in reality, will compile their skills matrix under duress and then ignore them. They are completed under duress normally for an audit of some kind, or a request from a business director.

However, if you do use them properly you will know all about the benefits:

  • Structured training for your team
  • Clarification about what training has been provided when things go wrong (rather than just assuming that training has been given)
  • Linking your Standard Operating Procedures to your daily operations
  • Developing multi-skilled staff and operatives

Used properly, a good skills matrix really can help to improve the performance of the business.

So, what am I referring to in the title of this post?

When you try to determine the skill level of someone, against your defined skill areas, a common scoring system looks something like this:

0 – untrained

1 – limited training

2 – can work with supervsion

3 – can work unsupervised

4 – can train others

Recently I had a problem with this. The people I was speaking to seemed to think that they were at a much higher level than they were really. I changed the scoring matrix as follows and got a far better response:

0 – huh?

1 – I know that a document exists.

2 – I’m OK but don’t look too closely.

3 – If you ask me questions I will be able to answer most of them correctly

4 – I would happily give staff a talk, this afternoon, on this particular topic

This got a far more realistic response and made the whole process of mapping out the skills profile quicker to perform. Not many people wanted to volunteer to speak in front of their colleagues, mind you, but the level of knowledge required to achieve a level four response was now crystal clear.

I hope that you use a skills matrix in your business effectively. If you don’t, or have thought that they were a bit of a waste of time, then try out the scoring system I have shared in this article and then see what you think.

For more ideas, grab a copy of my book Effective SOPs from either Amazon or iTunes.

effective standard operating procedures
Available from Amazon and iTunes

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.