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12 April 2022

Skills and versatility: how can they be measured and digitised?

Monitoring the skills and versatility of your employees is an effective way to achieve operational excellence. However, it is not always easy and many managers struggle to manage the skills of their teams. Yet there is an effective tool: the multi-skill matrix. Traditionally used in Excel, this matrix has now been digitised and can go far beyond its primary function. 

The skills and versatility matrix, an ally for managers

You may have heard of this matrix before, but you may not know exactly what it is. 

What is the skills and versatility matrix

Also known as the "multi-skills matrix", this tool represents the skills of a team at a given moment. The main interest is therefore to map the available skills in relation to production needs.

In concrete terms, it is a table that merges various data:

  • - Human resources, materialized by the names of the employees
  • - The skills required for each process (number of employees needed, minimum skill level)
  • - The individual skills of the team members, assessed according to a rating system defined by the company.

The construction of this matrix requires first an estimate of the skill requirements of each process in the company.
Once established, the matrix provides valuable information on the versatility rate of the teams, but also on theirtraining needs.

What are the benefits of this tool?

The multi-skills matrix is not only used on an operational level. It also plays an essential role from an HR point of view. For example :

Managing training needs

Managers sometimes struggle to identify which skills need to be developed, whether at the team, departmental or even the company level. This issue is greatly facilitated by the multi-skills matrix, which enables the know-how of all operators to be mapped.

The Jobs and Skills Provisional Management

Jobs and Skills Provisional Management is a legal obligation for companies with more than 300 employees. It is a strategy whose objective is to help organisations face the challenges of agility due to the acceleration of digital transformation. In concrete terms, it is about answering the question: "how can we ensure that we have the right skills at the right place at the right time?

Internal mobility

For some years now, recruiters have been struggling to attract talents. As a result, it is vital to retain employees by improving their skills. Internal mobility also aims to offer them opportunities for development in line with the company's strategy and their personal aspirations.
Strategically, the skills and versatility matrix helps factories in remaining competitive:

Maintaining expertise and critical skills

In 1998, Gérard Vergnaud defined critical skills as "the skills acquired by an individual in the course of his or her experience, which make him or her irreplaceable at certain tasks". Thus, the multi-skills matrix makes it possible to check that the company has the resources necessary for the proper execution of its strategy.

Monitoring work clearances 

The skills and versatility matrix can also be used to easily visualize the clearances and certifications held by the employees. Indeed, managers can consult the obsolescence dates for each of these clearances, and ensure that they never fall below the regulatory threshold for each activity.

Regulation and quality

Finally, maintaining a skills and versatility matrix is an asset for any company seeking the ISO 9001 certification, as it is a sign of quality management.

More than a simple monitoring table, the multi-skills matrix plays a strategic role and helps companies maintain their competitivity. However, it should be noted that this matrix is not fixed in time, and that it is no longer valid if an employee arrives or leaves. The same applies when a team member acquires a new skill. Thus, it must be rigorously kept up to date.

Implementing a multi-skill matrix in your company

After the theory, let's get practical! A little research is all it takes to understand how to create a skills and versatility monitoring matrix from scratch. Does this mean that you have to use a standard Excel spreadsheet?

Excel VS a specialised software: which tool to choose?

Let's compare the two options. Excel is a very effective tool for anyone who has mastered the basics. The first option may be suitable for small companies with a relatively stable workforce. For larger organisations, however, keeping track of the skills of individual operators can be a real headache. In this case, it may make sense to use a dedicated skills management solution.

Skills and versatility matrix Excel
Skills and versatility matrix Excel

An example of a multi-skills matrix in Excel

Specialised software offers significant advantages over spreadsheets:

Automatic data update

A multi-skill matrix built with a tool like Excel will quickly become obsolete if it is not updated regularly. On the other hand, with a specialised solution the issue no longer arises because everything is updated automatically.

Simplified sharing and viewing

Managing employees' skills with a dedicated software makes the information accessible to all and facilitates decision-making, particularly around the time of annual evaluations.

Feedback from the field

Finally, a specialised solution enables data to be mapped directly from the field. This data is then shared with the support functions and helps to manage the production sites.

In summary: why use a competency management tool?

Monitoring the skill level of employees is a strategic issue for several reasons. On the one hand, having a correct view of this indicator makes it possible to develop the overall versatility level of the employees (and by extension, the degree of agility of the company). Managers are thus better equipped to deal with the unexpected, such as the departure of an employee.

Strategically, companies that are able to accurately map the skills of their teams can better anticipate the transformation of their businesses and be competitive in the 4.0 Factory era. This monitoring is carried out using tools such as the multi-skills matrix, which can now be digitised using dedicated solutions.

Skills, work clearances and versatility are managed on Mercateam
Skills, work clearances and versatility are managed on Mercateam

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