A skill grid, or skill matrix, is a tool that helps supervisors and managers evaluate employees’ skills against the skills required for their positions. Skill grids are useful for evaluating whether an employee or team of employees has the expertise necessary to perform specific tasks. Skill grids can be used to assess current competencies and future hiring requirements, as well as to identify employee strengths, weaknesses and training needs. Skill grids can also be used as planning tools for hiring and evaluating employee compensation.
Identify the employees that need their skills assessed. Typically, these employees are part of a project team, although multiple teams can be identified in order to compare team skills. Place the names as headers in the grid’s left column to identify the rows.
Identify the skills that will be evaluated and place each skill in the grid as a column heading. Ideally, the columns include the team’s complete set of competencies. The number of columns that comprise the skill grid is equal to the number of evaluated skills.
Identify the rating system based on the chart’s granularity. Simple skill grids use "Y" or "N" to identify whether a particular employee has the skill or does not. For more detailed skill grids, a rating system (e.g., 1 through 5) can be used. Graphical representations can be used for the rating system, such as pies or boxes.
Define how to measure performance and evaluate the skills for each team member identified in the grid. The evaluations might be determined by managers or by the employees themselves. A collaborative approach using evaluations from managers, employees and coworkers might more accurately determine skill levels.
Create the skill grid by placing an evaluation in each row (employee) and column (skill) intersection. When the skill grid is complete, it can be used to evaluate many team dimensions, including training needs, team competencies, leadership candidates and team dynamics.
There are many ways to format skill grids, ranging from simple to very complex grids that require legends. Use the format that makes the most sense for those that will use it.
There are many applications available to help create skill grids, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Skill grids can also be hand written.
Skill grids can be used to evaluate new employees and as a day-to-day planning tool to judge skills where they are most needed.
Skill grids can also be used to drive improvements by assessing performance against benchmarks and retraining if necessary.
A good skill grid contains information that is current and complete. Skill grids require skills reassessment and updates in order to be useful when making business decisions.