Your IT Skills Matrix; Friend or Foe?

Today’s technical world is rapidly advancing and if you’re a manager of an IT team or technical organization, one of your biggest challenges may be overcoming the digital skills gap.

Finding the best talent, upskilling your current workforce, and keeping up with the demand to deliver projects better and faster every time is no easy task. There has never been a more critical time to see your team’s makeup clearly so you can attract, retain, and train your IT staff to ensure gaps in skill do not threaten overall performance and results.

How to overcome IT skills gaps

A skills matrix is a great tool in any business or industry but becomes even more beneficial for fields like IT, software development, and cyber security which warrant more tracking and updating of skills due to the rapidly changing landscape of the industry. Creating and managing a staff skills matrix allows you to easily visualize individual, team and organization-wide IT skills and determine where effort needs to be put in to hire or upskill staff and overcome gaps.

Calculating the competency levels of employees starts with a few questions:

  • What are the skills that are important to your workforce now?
  • What are the skills that are needed in the future?
  • How are these skills mapped to people, roles, teams and office locations?
  • What are the necessary proficiency levels in each of these skills?

These core questions all help outline the foundation to creating and building your skills library. The next step is to create a scalable IT skills assessment framework, that allows each employee to consistently measure their skill levels in an efficient and scalable way. (we’ve actually created a checklist to get you on your way.)

After you have all the foundation information, it comes down to building the matrix itself.

Competency and skills matrix tools

The best way to collect, compare, and update skill levels is through a custom matrix. There are lots of ways to create a skills matrix, with some people choosing Excel or a Google Sheet, which can be good for small teams and smaller skill sets but given the complexity of IT and technical teams, we recommend using skills management software.

The right skills matrix software can collate team, skills, and opportunities to give you a full picture of your team. From creating the perfect team and finding gaps to career planning and upskilling, good software can automate everything so you can make educated, positive decisions for your organization and team.

Getting team buy-in

A skills matrix isn’t just for management or organization benefit – it helps companies on every level.

It’s not uncommon for individuals to see a skills matrix as a foe, something that is a burden and won’t really help them personally, but really they can be a great friend when used correctly. It gives insight into someone’s competencies and where they can learn and grow, arming them with the data to back up training requests and even promotions and pay rises, as well as identify when an individual might need help. If you work in IT, having transparency in your skills and any gaps means you can continue to learn in a rapidly changing industry.

From a team or organizational perspective, the benefits are many. As a team, it is easier to see how everyone’s skills work together and where there is room for improvement or growth. Team members can easily identify who can help them or where they can step up. Organizations can clearly pinpoint where they can invest their learning and development budget and how to find hidden gems in their current workforce, preventing the move to hire new staff until genuinely needed, while also helping staff grow and increasing retention.

Finally, a skills matrix can mean better results and happier clients, stakeholders, and teams in different areas. Whether internal or external, by knowing team skills and where to train, everyone benefits.

Want to supercharge your tech teams? Keep your IT department up to speed with technological changes by regularly assessing skill and competency levels across your workforce with Skills Base. We work with technical teams every day and understand how important understanding employee skills and competencies is, so get in touch to see how we can help!