Knowing and systematically expanding the qualifications of one’s own employees is not only necessary, but also very sensible. This is the only way to ensure sustainable quality in the company and the satisfaction of the workforce. A helpful tool for this is the qualification matrix. You can read here how such a matrix is structured and how it relates to quality management.
The qualification matrix (also called competence matrix) is a tool for personnel development that enables the comparison of existing competencies of employees with the competencies required for the respective positions. The goal is to further develop the competencies in the workforce that are necessary to achieve the company’s goals.
A qualification matrix can basically be thought of as a kind of table. The employees are recorded in the rows – often grouped by department or team. The necessary competencies are listed in the columns. An evaluation is then made in each of the cells – this can take the form of numerical or color codes, for example. It is important here that the respective company defines a fixed scheme with gradations beforehand.
The qualification matrix primarily considers technical competencies (hard skills). These make a statement about the ability of employees to master certain technical tasks. These technical competencies can be documented by training courses attended, further education and training, or degrees. Social competencies (soft skills) are often assessed directly by the manager, as they are more difficult to quantify – which is why they are not always included in the competency matrix. What is relevant above all is the comprehensible and uniform assessment of competencies within a company.
The competence matrix is mainly used in the HR department. With its help, job advertisements are written and vacant positions are filled in a targeted manner. In addition, there is added value for supervisors: the transparent qualification profiles make it easier to plan the further development of employees. This development of competencies, in turn, also affects the management – because the strategic goals pursued can only be achieved with certain competencies of the workforce.
In addition, the qualification matrix can also be seen as part of quality management: DIN EN ISO 9001:2015 and other standards require proper qualification management. But what does this term actually mean exactly? The quality management standard stipulates that required competencies must be determined and documented for the activities of employees that influence the performance of the quality management system. In addition, it must be ensured that employees have or obtain all the qualifications they need to perform their jobs.
Since a company is a dynamic entity that is constantly evolving, the requirement to always be informed about the qualifications of employees poses a number of stumbling blocks. The activities and areas of responsibility of individual employees are constantly changing – and so are the qualifications required for them. Some of the required proof of competence must also be repeated at regular intervals.
The qualification matrix provides a remedy here: missing competencies are identified and expanded through new hires or the further development of employees. If someone drops out within a team, it quickly becomes clear who could be considered for the replacement. In addition to all the advantages for the company, the qualification profile also offers the employee a transparent view of his or her own opportunities for further training.
As a company grows, so does the number of employees. At a certain point, the manual maintenance of qualification matrices becomes time-consuming and is no longer in proportion to its benefits. But the standard requirement of documenting qualification profiles remains. Therefore, use QM software such as BabtecQ, which provides a remedy and is also integrated with other relevant disciplines of quality management.