Do You Need an Employee Training Matrix?

employee training matrix

An employee training matrix, also known as an employee skills matrix or competency matrix, is a valuable tool for employers looking to improve their training programs and enhance their employees’ skillsets. It’s especially useful when used alongside other tools like an LMS. And while it’s not the only tool you need at your disposal, it can provide you with valuable perspectives that you typically won’t get from your other training reports. We’re here to shed light on certain questions, like:

  1. What is an employee training matrix?
  2. Who needs an employee matrix?
  3. How do you even create an employee matrix?

What is an Employee Training Matrix?


An employee matrix is simply a report that allows you to examine a breakdown of each employee’s skills at a glance. A typical skills matrix will appear as a grid that lists the employees’ names on the y-axis and all of your essential workplace skills on the x-axis. At each intersection is a score detailing how your employee stacks up on that particular skill.

Consider a couple of examples of when a training matrix might prove useful:

  • A grocery store manager needs to transfer an employee from the produce department to the front register. Which produce associates possess the customer service skills required for the job? Product knowledge? Grocery bagging skills? With a skills matrix, you can instantly see who stacks up.
  • A busser in a restaurant wants to become a server. Are they ready? Do they have the requisite skills? What kind of training do they still need before they’re ready to serve customers in a more direct capacity? The manager can easily figure out the answers and update the training schedule accordingly.

The more you know about your employees’ individual skills, the better equipped you are to make important personnel decisions and get the right training completed.

Employee Training vs Competency Matrix


Note that the term “skills matrix” is sometimes used interchangeably with “competency matrix.” But while these two reports are very similar, there are some subtle distinctions worth noting.

A skills matrix is concerned with individual skills: communication skills, typing skills, cash register skills, banana handling skills or whatever the job requires.

A competency matrix is concerned more broadly with competencies, or groupings of skills that coincide with one another for a bigger purpose. Customer service is an example of a workplace competency. It encompasses many skills, including verbal and nonverbal communication, conflict resolution, negotiation and product knowledge.

A typical training matrix will contain both granular skills and broader competencies, so the distinction is a small one. The important thing is that you include attributes that are important to your organization.

How Do You Create an Employee Training Matrix?


The basic process for creating an employee training matrix is pretty simple:

  • Make a list of essential skills or proficiencies. If you have a lot of skills to cover and you really want to break it down, you can create a different matrix for each role or department. You can create separate matrices for desired skills and required skills, or you can include all the relevant skills on a single matrix.
  • Develop a grading system and rubric for assessing those skills. You can use numeric scoring, A-F grading, a point system or whatever works best for you. Just make sure that your rubric precisely defines how grades or scores are assessed.
  • Assess each employee based on your rubric. You can assess your employees using firsthand observation, interviews with direct supervisors, LMS reports or any other method that gives you an honest, objective look at your employees’ skills. Use a combination of tools and methods to get the best perspective, and be consistent in how you grade each employee.
  • Lay out all of your compiled information in your employee training matrix. You can easily create a matrix using Excel or Google Sheets if you don’t have dedicated software for it.

Rather than just updating the same skills matrix with new scores every few months, consider creating a new, separate matrix with each update. This will allow you to measure your employees’ growth over time.

Example of an Employee Training Matrix


Here’s a basic example of an employee training matrix for a call center: 

Customer service Phone etiquette Conflict resolution VoIP system  Live chat
Employee A 3/5 4/5 4/5 5/5 2/5
Employee B 4/5 2/5 4/5 5/5 3/5
Employee C 4/5 3/5 2/5 2/5 4/5
Employee D 3/5 3/5 3/5 4/5 5/5
Employee E  2/5 2/5 1/5 3/5 4/5

There are countless ways to design your employee training matrix. You can follow a skills matrix template or just create your own. The important thing is that it’s clear, organized and succinct.

Why Do You Need an Employee Training Matrix?


In today’s economy, it’s absolutely critical that employees have well-rounded skills so they can shift gears at the drop of a hat. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor statistics reveal a staggering 57.3% employee turnover rate across all industries in 2021. Your matrix can be referenced when short-staffing requires employers to quickly move team members between different roles and departments.

An employee training matrix also offers many other benefits to employers:

  • It allows employers to quickly determine which employees excel in a particular skill—which is useful if a specific skill is needed at any given time.
  • It’s an excellent tool to use as part of a skills gap analysis. It gives L&D teams the ability to determine any missing skills, both for individual employees and across the board.
  • It makes it easier for employers to track their employees’ skills development over time.
  • It can be referenced before employee performance reviews or used to establish employee career development goals.
  • It allows recruiters to fine-tune their hiring priorities and determine which skills are most essential for new hires.
  • It’s an excellent reference to have when you’re considering reskilling or cross-training employees.

Additionally, an employee training matrix can complement your LMS reports. For instance, an LMS like Axonify provides a thorough knowledge profile for each employee as part of its comprehensive training measurement. Pairing their knowledge profiles with your internal skills assessments, you can get a complete picture of your employees’ strengths, gaps and areas for improvement.

Give It a Try


You might find that your current LMS reports and other company data are sufficient for mapping your employees’ skills and skills gaps. However, if this is an area where your company is struggling, a skills matrix may be an asset. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees say they would remain at a company longer if the company invested in their learning.

Whether you use a skills matrix or any other tool, investing in your team’s skills is always to your benefit.

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