What is a training matrix and why does my company need one?

Woman on laptop using training matrix

When looking at your organisation’s processes and the workforce behind them, it’s good to know what skills, qualifications and competencies these people have.

A training or skills matrix is great for organising this information and displaying it in an orderly and easy to read way.

A training matrix will typically show the qualifications for each member of your workforce and the status of the qualification for example, whether it is valid, expiring or expired.  This document will become essential for those responsible for managing your workforce. Health and safety managers, training managers, team leaders, operations managers and HR for example, will be able to instantly spot any gaps in training or weaknesses in skills. They will know who has the required skill sets to carry out certain roles or tasks within the business too.

Traditionally a training matrix is created using spreadsheet software like Excel, however training matrix software is also very popular and makes the process easier, saves time and and is less susceptible to human-error.

Where do I start building a training matrix?

This is a good opportunity to identify and define roles and responsibilities within your business.  Look at the tasks your workforce may need to carry out and identify the training, skills and knowledge they would need to execute them in a safe and competent way.  You may need to take independent advice on this and there is some good advice on the HSE website too. The law and guidelines may differ depending on what country you are in, so if in doubt, check.

Usually you would list your workforce names in a column along the left of your page, and then list the training/skills or competency in a row along the top. Look at each individual and work through the list of training requirements, recording whether it is a requirement for their job role or not. Where there is a requirement, record if the person holds the necessary certificate or qualification and where possible, the expiry date.  If there is a requirement and their certificate is missing, record this also.

What are the benefits of maintaining a training matrix?

As your training matrix fills up with data, you will begin to see gaps, shortages in skills and even where there is a saturation in a particular skill.

This data will allow you to ensure continuity and productivity by quickly identifying trained members of your workforce to carry out certain projects. You will know who can be re-deployed during periods of peak in demand or if a person is off sick.  We are all humans after all and unfortunately sickness and periods of absence happen.  

The data your matrix holds can help you to plan a training schedule which in turn allows you to ensure there are enough staff to cover those off the job training and take advantage of cheaper block booking costs. It will also help you to plan for succession and up-skilling your workforce. This helps to keep your workforce feeling valued and in turn, help with retention of key players within your organisation.

Know your workforce have been trained and their training is in date. Being proactive and ensuring that your staff are only working on tasks that they are adequately trained to do protects them, and you.

What are the risks of not maintaining a training matrix?

Managing your workforce skills and training records without a training matrix will become a logistical nightmare, even with a small number of employees. You will likely experience difficulty in identifying suitably trained personnel, miss certificate expiry dates and spend much more on training in the longrun.

You run the risk of employee’s carrying out roles that they are not trained to do or using expired certification. And here’s where things snowball…

Risks include:

  • Increased workplace accidents and incidents
  • Poor safety culture
  • Poor staff retention
  • Audit failure
  • Loss of contracts
  • Improvement Notices
  • Prohibition Notices forcing you to stop work and costing you money
  • Prosecution
  • Fines
  • Custodial sentences
  • Civil claims
  • Loss of reputation

It makes sense to put steps in place to avoid these risks. Protect your workforce, protect your organisation and protect yourself.

Spreadsheets v Software

When spreadsheets were first introduced, they were a big upgrade from pen and paper.  They’re available on most office computers and therefore they’re cheap to use.  

However, when we say ‘cheap to use’, we often don’t take into account the cost of time to keep these things populated and up to date.  If used to create a training matrix, they will need constant monitoring and updating. In today’s busy workplace where roles often change, legislation changes and people come and go, your matrix will always be out of date somewhere. Spreadsheets are open to human error (I’ve entered data in the wrong cell before and I’m sure I’m not alone). They’re difficult to extract information from and rely on the user having some sort of degree in Excel formulae! Version control is also difficult to keep on top of when data needs to be shared across teams and departments. And, there’s always that fear of data corruption too.

Can software provide a better solution?

I believe it can. Dedicated training management software can provide you with a much more efficient and intelligent way of gathering, collating and displaying reliable data.  It offers much better security and ease of use and often it will have additional tools to help you find the data you need quickly. This helps you be proactive in achieving and maintaining training compliance.

Find out more about our software based training matrix

Cloud software

Solutions like Moralbox suit organisations of any size and gives users intelligent, efficient and simple to use tools to manage training compliance. Unique automated features such as the training needs analysis and training matrix save time and ensure accuracy and reliability of data.

The easy to read, intelligent dashboard gives you complete awareness and visibility of your compliance status.  See the information you need to make sure your workforce remain training compliant, at a glance.

With a weekly summary email and notifications you can have confidence and relax knowing you’re always fully aware of your organisation’s compliance status. No more trawling through out of date spreadsheets. No more sleepless nights worrying.

Your data is stored safe and secure in the cloud and can be accessed from your mobile device on the go.  Share information with customers and auditors while restricting sensitive personal data.

If you have any questions about setting up your training matrix, I’m happy to help you get started. Please feel free to drop me an email [email protected] and I will get back to you.