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Employees must have training in order to do their jobs properly. Managers and supervisors can use training matrices to identify common training requirements.
Basic Training Matrix
A training matrix form is a tool used to identify topics, processes or standards employees must know before managers can assign them to specific job tasks. These forms are typically created from spreadsheet applications, such as Excel. The first step to writing a training matrix involves understanding the end goal. Some training matrices simply identify what an employee must know for a given job. Others go deeper, identifying employee skill levels or including plans for achieving the required knowledge.
The most basic training matrix identifies job roles and required training per role. In a spreadsheet program, title the first column "role" or "position title," and then list out each position in a given department or organization. In each subsequent column, identify specific training classes or topics. For each position, place an "X" in the cell corresponding to every training class or topic required for every employee filling that role.
Expanding Training Matrices
Expanding basic training matrices allows you to gather more information to use for coaching or developing training programs.
Skills or Competencies Matrix
Take a basic training matrix a step further by identifying the level of skill required per position for each training class or topic. Instead of an "X," use a scale of 0 to 4, with 0 indicating no skill in the class or topic is required, and 4 indicating anyone filling the given position must qualify as a trainer or "go-to" person for the skill or topic. Managers often use level 4 employees to coach new employees.
Need help building a skill matrix, a competency matrix or other type of training matrix? You can find numerous examples on line, including some generated at academic institutions specializing in training and worker health and safety. Check online for tutorials that show you how to build training matrices with a spreadsheet software program such as Excel.
Training Gaps Matrix
Build out the matrix further by adding a column before or after the position title to identify specific employees. Create a second column for each topic to record each employee's current level. The goal here is to compare current skill levels with required skill levels. If the position calls for a level 3 skill and the employee is at level 2, there is a training gap. Management must then establish a training plan to get the employee to the required level. As an alternative to adding columns, some companies use color to identify gaps, with red indicating a gap and green showing that the employee has met or exceeded the required level of skill. Be cautious in taking this approach, however, because color-blind readers will not be able to pick up the distinctions being made.
Training Plans Matrix
Instead of using "X's" or numerical scales to record skill levels, some managers record dates. The matrix can function as a training plan, a training record or both. In a training plan, enter a future date to show when training will take place. In a training record, enter the current date or a historical date to show when training actually occurred. If the goal is to show both the planned and actual dates, simply add secondary columns for every topic or class.
Training is On-Going
The workplace is typically a dynamic environment. When change happens, employees need new training. Training needs must be re-assessed and addressed whenever an employee is given a new task or assignment, if new equipment or materials are brought into the workplace, particularly if they are hazardous, and anytime an employee cannot demonstrate adequate understanding of the requirements of the task.
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A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.
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