What is a Competency Matrix and How to Create One

Growth is an important feature of every organisation. Understanding what your company needs and when best to implement it is key to a successful business.

There are many ways that businesses and companies help themselves grow. One of these ways is the use of a competency matrix to evaluate and help companies grow.

A competency matrix

Generally, competency is one’s ability to carry out certain functions they are assigned with or required to perform. It is an essential feature that every organisation or business needs to thrive.

Companies have however been able to manipulate this attribute into a tool to help grow their organisations. A competency matrix is a company’s way of weighing its available workforce, strengths, and weaknesses to help improve productivity.

Many times, people think that competency is an abstract feature. This also means that we may not be able to manipulate it for our benefit. However, there are many ways to go about using a competency matrix as an essential tool.

Characteristics of a good competency matrix

A good competency matrix is an effective one that yields results. Creating a competency matrix requires time, dedication, and good decision-making skills. It is hence advisable that an HR team takes charge of organising yours for you.

It must be brief

A competency matrix gives room for only the important points. It may not permit you to go into details of why you think that your employee does not meet up in certain skills areas. It is for this reason that we use numbers or figures to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of members. Here’s a draft of a simple competency matrix;

S/N Employee Names Leadership Autonomy Teamwork
 1 Alexander Price B C D
2 Joseph Brown E B B
 3 Peter Pot D D B
4 Fridge Augustine B E C

It should be impartial and unbiased

It is only logical and fair that you are not biased in your conclusions. Whatever decisions you reach will affect your project and company or business. It is hence advisable that you carry out proper research findings before you begin to draft your competency matrix. It is understandable if you do not know your employees and their capabilities too well.

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Asking the right questions and making proper research can rectify the issue of your lack of knowledge. In the same vein, you mustn’t favour one team member over the other. A competency matrix deals with implementable skills.

You may treat it as a project and hire expert writers like My Paper Writer to handle this part of your company’s growth. Be that as it may, the competency matrix must have the following features;

A competency matrix focuses on a goal

More often than not, business owners may create a competency matrix when a new project comes up. Some others may want to just find out why certain projects have failed. Either way, there is always a goal to meet. A competency matrix is not just drawn out from a hobby. It requires proper planning and implementation.

You must reach a conclusion or solution

The mission of your competency matrix is to reach a conclusion that can help your company grow. It is therefore useless if you cannot derive a conclusion from your competency matrix. From your findings, you can know the weak links in certain areas of your company. You can also know how to help the weak links become stronger when necessary.

What a competency matrix is not

Sometimes, people are tempted to believe that a competency matrix is a means to fish out incompetent members of the company or a team and eliminate them. Hence, it serves as an opportunity to lay off employees and relieve them of duty.

It is important to note that workers who are highly qualified according to job descriptions may be weak in skill competency. This does not however give room for you to relieve them of duty. The best way to handle this is to train employees to be better and reshuffle duties.

Competency matrix is good for the team

Image: Pexels

Why your company needs a competency matrix

Below are some great reasons why these two work well together.

It helps understand the strengths and weaknesses in the company

One of the obvious importance of a competency matrix is that it helps the company identify its strengths and weaknesses. This gives room for tackling weak links. You can train them to make them stronger or concentrate on their stronger skills. A company that understands the importance of relying on its stronger features will thrive amid competition.

When companies face competition, it is important to present their best features. Further, while you’re working on a competency matrix for one project, there is a clearer vision for possible future projects. This is because you already have first-hand knowledge of the capabilities of your staff.

It helps reassign responsibilities

With a good competency matrix, you can decide if certain responsibilities should be held by some staff or reshuffled. Sometimes, you’ll find that the team member is in the wrong department or needs to be given more challenging roles. From your competency matrix, you can deduce who would be trainable and who would not be interested in training.

Grooms competent workers

Whether you like it or not, the success of your company depends to a large extent on the individuals. The individuals make up the team, the teams make up the company, and the company delivers to your clients.

While the competency matrix helps the company recognise weaknesses and strengths, it begins with the individual. You can help individuals improve on their strengths and deal with their weaknesses.

Helps with ensuring backup during emergencies

Sometimes, your competency matrix becomes important in cases of unforeseen absence of one or more members of the staff. Since you have identified the strengths and weaknesses of each staff, you can get an immediate substitute to fill out important roles. Many companies find this rather helpful than leaving a vacant spot in their organisation.

A competency matrix keeps track of company progress

The competency matrix helps companies reflect on how well they have progressed over a period. This is particularly if there have been preceding training programs and measures put in place to improve employee performance.

For instance, the skill rate of employees in the last competency matrix should not remain the same after a set time. It shows that there is more work that needs attending to.

Creating your company’s competency matrix

Every competency matrix may come in tabular form. More often than not, larger companies like to include technical, basic, and language skills in their competency matrix. Below are some of the important points to consider when creating a competency matrix.

Set up your table and prepare to start working

The most interesting and simplest part of creating a competency matrix is constructing the table. The information you gather from the steps below will help you construct your table. First, create a table with rows and columns. Your number of rows and columns depends on how broad your competency matrix is.

If you like, you can separate rows with colours that signify sections for names of team members, skills required, and ratings. For instance;

  • Expected skills- orange
  • Employee names- white
  • Rating-green.

Draft out the names and skills of employees

Once you identify what you expect from a project and your company, you must recognise your workforce. Human resources make up a successful workforce for any business or company.

Hence, write out the names of employees or people who should work on the project. Here, you also need to understand the capabilities of your team members. Know the strengths and weaknesses of each person.

Further, deliberate on if employees will be able to meet up to your expectations on the project you want to work on. The only way to achieve this is by carrying out proper research using the right tools.

Sought out the project and skills you require

The important thing to check here is why are you creating a competency matrix? First, fish out the area of your company that you want to analyse. If you’re looking to complete a project, you must identify the project you want to work on. For instance; a project on doubling sales.

Further, write out the skills and attributes that you need to successfully carry out the project. For instance; good communication, leadership skills, confidence, etc. Your expectations for each project will help you decide if your team can handle the load or not.

Establish how you want to grade your employees and fill in your table

Your rating system determines your final grading decision on your employees. This measures their strengths and weaknesses. You may choose a scale from 1-10, 1-5, or alphabets from a-e. Decide whether you want your rating system to go in an ascending or descending fashion. For instance;

  • A – excellent
  • B- very good
  • C- good
  • D- average
  • E- poor

You must label your table appropriately to match the data you collect. Further, fill in the details according to how you have labelled the table. Do not forget that the skills are often relative to project types, company preferences, etc.

A simple template that you find on the internet may not do enough justice to the competency matrix that your company may need. Hence, you may choose to be more creative about how you construct yours.

Reach a conclusion from your table and strategise

The conclusion you get from the competency matrix is equally as important as the matrix itself. This is because it determines the next steps that you’ll take to help make your company better. You may need to coach or train employees.

You may also need to include more members in the project or employ more workforce. You can create another table for your conclusion if you like. This will help organise things better. For instance;

S/N Employee names Conclusion
1 Alexander Price Training program on teamwork
2 Joseph Brown Training program on leadership
3 Peter Pot Reshuffle departments

The result you get after the trouble of creating a competency matrix determines how effective your effort is. The action stage is important if you want to see positive changes when next you modify your table.

In Summary

In summary, the importance of a competency matrix cannot be over-emphasised. A good competency matrix helps a company grow by identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

The primary goal is to know where you have leverage and work to reduce weaknesses. Creating a competency matrix is not always as difficult as people try to point it out to be. The steps in this article will help you create the best competency matrix for your company.

About the Author

Yuly is a content writer and expert who has spent quality time building a career in writing. With his experience, he has helped simplify issues that pose problems of complexity to people.

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