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Roles to skills: How a learning and development skills matrix can revolutionise the L&D function

The learning and development function has changed rapidly in the last two years.

To address the post-pandemic skills gap, L&D and HR departments are moving away from hiring for specific roles and more towards hiring for skills.

Many L&D teams have adjusted their onboarding and training methods to make them more accessible for remote and hybrid working.

With this in mind, how can learning teams adopt this approach to manage their departmental recruitment needs? By creating a skills matrix.

Why hire for skills?


Skills-based hiring takes a new approach by removing barriers for candidates that might not have the degree or network.

Additionally, it broadens skill pools and improves hiring efficiency by focusing on technical and transferable skills.

Employees and new hires can be appraised based on skill sets rather than their experience, which levels the playing field, creates opportunities, and enables companies to embrace their existing talent.

Hiring for skills means the implementation of more accessible learning. With face-to-face training no longer being the norm.


What is a skills matrix?

A skills matrix is a precious tool for Learning & Development managers.

Employees should be encouraged to upskill existing talents and be enabled to learn new techniques to keep up with developing digital tools.

When multiple skills are essential to an organisation's success, they must be identified and mapped internally.

A skills matrix simplifies the process and identifies the employees who require training to develop certain skills.


The benefits of a skills matrix

  • Identifies what’s needed for the job, task, or project
  • Displays weak areas
  • Identifies gaps between employees, teams, and departments
  • Tracks employee development and progression
  • Indicates where new hires are needed
  • Supports developing career paths



How to create a skills matrix


Create a skill database

A skills database includes the list of abilities required for the role, department, or project.

This is where you outline required business needs by gathering and combining them into categories, for example:

  • Management
  • Technical skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Data analysis
  • Design
  • Marketing


Add a grading system

Once you've listed skills for each employee, you'll need to decide how to evaluate them. 

For example, degrees of competence could be ranked by junior, mid-level, senior or lead.

You can also put these into subsections like:

  • Aware - basic understanding but hasn’t yet applied the skill at work.
  • Training - able to apply the skill, but still needs support.
  • Professional - experienced in utilising the skill and can work independently and solve problems proactively.
  • Expert - has ample experience in applying the skill in practice. Can communicate the topic and coach others.
  • Lead - extensive experience, can guide and encourage a team to reach certain goals.


Outline level of interest

Make sure that people are working on tasks that they are interested in, this helps prevent burnout and employee dissatisfaction. You can rate each skill for each employee as "interested” or “not interested”.


Utilise the data

Once you have filled out the skills matrix, you can use the information to see the skills needed. You can then either train team members on these skills or hire new employees who are already proficient.


The future of Learning & Development

To stay ahead of the curve, businesses must incorporate Learning & Development into their cultures.

Organisations that are reluctant to adapt could result in dissatisfied and unmotivated teams, as well as a reduction in general innovation.

Learning & Development teams will play an essential role in creating more opportunities for employees at all levels in years to come.

Learning & Development managers will be at the forefront of building productive, sustainable organisations by creating personalised training programmes to help employees upskill, reskill, and advance their careers.


The benefits of an L&D function

  • Encourages employees to step out of their comfort zones
  • Launches programmes that help employees to learn from their peers
  • Encourages employees to collaborate across departments
  • Empowers employees to foster a culture of innovation


The takeaways

By taking a skills-based approach to the hiring process, you pinpoint quality applicants for hard-to-fill roles and enable your business to adapt to changing demands.

Once you’ve hired, keep your employees engaged by creating a learning-centric culture.

  • Stay focused on skills and the assessments that can measure them
  • Enable learning-centric growth
  • Learning material should be responsive and accessible
  • L&D is the way of the future

L&D specialists are there to map out skill gaps and create training programs and immersive learning experiences.

Get in touch with Instinct today.