Knowing the skills and expertise employees have can help managers decide how and which tasks to assign efficiently. Using a skills matrix helps managers see in which areas their employees are performing well and where they might need improvement. 

In this article, we will discuss what a skills matrix is, its benefits, how to create a skills matrix and the steps involved in creating one. 

What is Skill Mapping?

Skill mapping is a visual representation of your employees’ skills. 

The process involves mapping which skills are required to perform certain tasks or close a project. The next step is to figure out which employee lacks certain skills or which employee is great at doing some tasks. 

Skill mapping can be applied to not only employees but also the organization as a whole. It is a great way to discover the strengths and weaknesses of employees. Using skill matrices is one of the best ways to visualize a skill map.

What is Skills Matrix?

A skills matrix, sometimes known as a competency matrix, is a tool that helps managers map the required skills or competencies in order to complete projects successfully. A skills matrix for employees lists out all the skills that an employee may require in order to complete tasks efficiently. In addition, it also helps map the skills that employees already possess but need improving. 

A skills matrix is a grid that contains details about skills and competencies in employees along with their evaluations.

Importance of a Skills Matrix

Skill matrices help keep everything organized and ready for when you need them. They are ideal for keeping track of an employee’s skills and competencies. Let’s look at the importance of creating a skills matrix:

  • For both general and specific objectives, this tool can be a totally flexible and versatile tool.
  • A skills matrix is a great way to help you track the individual progress of employees and the team overall. 
  • Once you add the skills, competencies, certifications, and qualifications of your employees to the organization’s records, it helps with recruiting, planning, and training your employees efficiently.
  • They’re a great way to improve team efficiency.
  • Creating a skills matrix helps organize teams and identify skills that are required to complete a certain task by the most qualified employee. 

The Difference Between Skills Matrix and Competency Matrix

Although both of these terms are often used interchangeably, there are the following differences between the two:

  • A skills matrix is a tool that helps map the skills that employees already have or the skills they need to develop in order to effectively complete a project.
  • A competency matrix can sometimes go more in-depth considering, for example, employees’ attitudes, their qualifications, and of course their competencies. 
  • A competency matrix is a list of all the skills that someone in a particular role needs to do at a target level in order to be successful in that role. 

Benefits of a Skills Matrix

Look at the following benefits of creating a skills matrix:

Find Potential Skill Gaps 

Skill matrices are designed in such a way that they lay out all the skills employees may have or not have. This is great because it will help you find the potential skill gaps, areas that need improvement, and the skills your team is missing. 

Similarly, this tool helps you determine which particular skill your team or your organization requires in order to complete a project or finish a task effectively. 

Skills Matrix

Identify Competency Gaps

Skill matrices are often enough in gaining insights on your employees, their strengths, and the areas of weaknesses. 

Identify Gaps in the Organization and Train Your Employees

When you know where you or your employee lag behind when it comes to certain skills, it can be a huge benefit to your organization. When you identify skill gaps in several employees, you can work on training them instead of hiring someone new. This will, in turn, save you both time and money. 

The whole point of creating a skills matrix is to gain insights into how well your employees are performing, allowing room for improvement. Depending on the areas your employees lack skills in, you can offer them training and help them with their career development.

Makes Hiring Easier

Knowing what particular skills your employees have that helps complete projects in their best way, can help you hire the right people in the future. This is especially important for determining skills that might be lost if employees leave the company.  When you know the skills they had, you’ll hire someone with the exact skill set to fill the gap. Additionally, it will help you train more employees in these areas to handle and be prepared for instances like an employee leaving the company. 

Using a well-designed skills matrix can help you select the right people for a project. For example, an employee whose evaluation showed great skill in the art of sales is likely a better option for a project that is sales-oriented. 


The flexibility and versatility are what make skill matrices a great tool. Depending on your requirements and your objectives, this tool can also be applied on an organizational level. Skills matrix can help you overcome organizational challenges by offering a broad range of solutions. 

A skill level matrix offers greater transparency on all levels within the organization. Everyone is aware of their capabilities, skills, competencies, and where they stand in the organization. 

Identify Your Top-Performing Employees

With skill matrices, you can identify your key employees depending on their stellar performance. These are employees that you wouldn’t want to quit. A single look at the skills matrix can help you easily identify these employees based on their good evaluations. 

In addition, the skills matrix is a great tool to manage your workforce by forecasting the skills required, creating staff schedules, and making sure that productivity is maximized.

How to Create a Skills Matrix?

Now that we’ve seen that skill matrices offer a lot of value to the company, let’s look at the way how to create them.

Begin by Defining the Skills

Be it a project or an arduous task, begin by clearly defining what skills will be required to complete them. For your and your employees’ ease, you can make subcategories of these skills. 

For example, categorize them with either hard or soft skills. Hard skills include skills that are technical knowledge or training. Soft skills on the other hand are personal habits of an employee like creativity. Remember to be specific when it comes to categorizing skills. 

Decide a Grading System

You need to create a grading system against which you will grade your employees’ performance. The grading system can include, none, basic, average, above-average, or expert categories to decide the skill level of your employees. 

Below Average/None

An employee with zero knowledge or capability can be graded below average or none.


An average level can be for those employees that have the most basic and general knowledge of a particular task but haven’t practically applied it.


An above-average level is when an employee often exceeds expectations when it comes to certain skills. they are those employees that solve problems proactively and can help other people around with skill-learning.


Exceptional employees know good enough to do a task efficiently. They always exceed expectations and can coach others with the latest trends and knowledge. They can also guide or mentor others when it comes to their skills.


An expert grading level is given to those employees that are professional in their areas of expertise.  These employees have vast technical and skill knowledge. They too can share their knowledge with juniors.

To enquire about employees’ interests in learning a particular skill or capability, you can also add an option to see their interest. 

0 = Not interested

1 = Interested 

These are examples of how a grading system might look if you were to rank your employees’ performances with a skills matrix. The grading system can however change according to every department, with the preference of your categories, and can even exceed the categories.

Improving skills

Measure Current Skill Level 

As the next step, gauge where your employees currently stand in their skills. To do this, list out each individual and mention their current skill level. You can assess your employee’s skill levels in different ways. 

Self Evaluation by Employees Themselves

For instance, you can manually ask them how efficient they are in a particular task. 

Evaluation by Supervisors

For this, you as a manager can directly test your employees in those skills. 

Evaluation by Colleagues

An employee knows their colleagues’ skills better than others. For this evaluation process, you can ask feedback from the rest of the team and then evaluate them for certain skills. 

Conducting Tests

Perhaps the best way to evaluate an employee’s skills is by conducting tests that are made for the purpose. You can conduct competency tests for that and see how good an employee is at the given task. The tests often consist of quizzes that determine an employees’ knowledge level. 


Most employees are certified in certain skills. Having a certificate can make the evaluation process easier. However, it’s unlikely that all employees have it.

Measure Interest Level

The next thing you may want to do is measure your employees. Interest level when it comes to doing most tasks. This will help you determine whether you should invest in training an employee in a particular skill or not. Doing so will help you save both resources and time. Additionally, this can also be beneficial in preventing employee burnout. 

Determine Areas of Improvement

Once you’re done adding the skills and then grading them you’ll get a clear picture of who stands where. As the next step, determine the areas of improvement for your employees based on their evaluations and score. Then you train them in helping them overcome those weaknesses. Secondly, you can also use these skills to hire employees who are proficient in these. 

Skills Matrix Examples

For an example, look at the tables below:

Team MemberCommunication SkillsContent Marketing SalesOrganizational Skills Design SkillsSocial Media Marketing Skills


Team MemberCommunication SkillsContent Marketing SalesOrganizational Skills Design SkillsSocial Media Marketing Skills
JakeNoneAverageNoneNoneExpertAbove Average
PaulAverageNoneAbove AverageExpertAverageBasic
KateAverageAverageAverageNoneAverageAbove average
KimAbove AverageNoneNoneExceptionalAbove AverageAverage
JohnExpertAverageAbove averageAverageNoneNone
RyanAbove averageAverageNoneAverageNoneAverage

Training Matrix Templates

A downloadable skills matrix template is given below:

Skills Matrix Excel Template

Dunning Kruger Effect 

The Dunning Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their own ability, and that people with high ability at a task underestimate their own ability. In simpler words, it is common for some people to overestimate their competence or abilities in one or other areas. They may exhibit utmost confidence in areas where they have no knowledge. This is known as the Dunning Kruger effect. A lack of self-awareness or self-assessment may be a cause of this bias. 


For example, employers often conduct performance reviews. But those employees who don’t like constructive criticism due to the Dunning Kruger effect may end up making excuses for their negative performance review. For instance not accepting their faults, not trying to make improvements because of their illusion of themselves.

To prevent this bias, a 360-degree approach is better suited for feedback. In this technique, feedback is considered from everyone in the organization. This includes the subordinates, self-evaluation, and evaluation from bosses. It is therefore considered a better approach for measuring the skills in employees for a skills matrix. 

Skills matrices can be simple or complex like you prefer, however, it’s better to limit them to principal skills, competencies, tasks, qualifications, and certification relevant to each task. Having separate matrices for both hard and soft skills is a good idea to consider if you want things to be organized better. 

The Bottomline

Skill matrices are a great tool for easily pointing out a team’s strengths and weaknesses. They can help you plan which employees can efficiently complete a task. Additionally, it also helps determine the areas where an employee needs some additional training.