Implementing Competency Matrix in an organization – part 1

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A Competency Matrix is a tool that is designed to facilitate the daily work of teams and their leaders, as well as to give value to the entire organization, so it is worth considering its technical aspects. At the very beginning of implementing this idea, we should choose a tool in which the Competency Matrix will be built and which will be easy to use by all concerned employees. In this post, we will show you how have we built the Competency Matrix at Polarys Polska.

Which tool is the best to build a Competency Matrix?

It all depends on your needs, time to implement the solution and budget. At Polarys Polska, we’ve built the Competency Matrix from scratch. First of all, we wanted to make this tool easily accessible, easily editable, and viewable on any device. That’s why we chose… Excel. 

Building a competency matrix in Excel is neither time-consuming nor complicated, and in our opinion has many advantages, including:

  • no limitations imposed by the tools available on the market,
  • ease of editing and adding new team members to the matrix,
  • the ability to expand with features needed by individual leaders,
  • easy search with customizable filters.

We based the implementation of the Competency Matrix at Polarys Polska on the possibilities provided by Excel, and we did not need an expert for this at all. However, we have a piece of advice – when building a Competency Matrix, remember to write instructions for its creation and editing in parallel so all people, who will use the tool, can easily navigate through its functionalities.

List of competencies

The next step in implementing the Competency Matrix is to develop a list of competencies that are used and useful in the work of teams. Such a list cannot be arbitrarily assigned by leaders but requires consultation with employees. For this reason, the creation of the list of competencies for Polarys Polska took place in several stages:

  • firstly, we introduced the leaders to the concept of competencies,
  • secondly, the leaders created competencies lists for their teams, 
  • the next stage was to standardize the list of competencies between teams. This is not possible in every organization and it is often better to create separate competencies lists for different teams, especially if we use different technologies or our teams are divided by roles in the organization. 
  • lastly, with such a list of competencies prepared, the leaders held meetings with their teams and discussed each competency with employees. 

Direct discussion with team members is a very important step that should not be skipped because it should reflect the reality of the team’s daily work. 

Develop a scale to assess competencies and interests 

As we already know from the previous insight, which you can read here, the Competency Matrix is based on the premise of knowing the level of competence familiarity in the team, but also on the level of interest in developing it. So how to study the level of competence and interest in its development? 

It is necessary to prepare appropriate rating scales according to which, first employees and then leaders, will assess the level of knowledge of each competence. At Polarys Polska, we have adopted two separate 5-point scales that completely cover the aspects of familiarity and interest in the development of a given competence. At the same time, the scales are not too extended and do not impede the employee’s self-assessment. See how it looks in our organization. 

Familiarity level scale:
Competency Matrix Scale
Interest level scale:
Competency Matrix Scale

Questionnaire – a tool for employee self-assessment 


The last component that needs to be prepared before implementing the Competency Matrix isa survey or a form to collect self-assessments from employees in the team. With a list of competencies and rating scales prepared, this is already a very easy task. There are many tools to gather evaluations, and you are only limited by your creativity.  You can prepare an online survey that you will send to employees by email out, or you can prepare a paper version of it. The only thing worth considering is compatibility with the tool you chose to build the matrix and ease of sharing the data with team leaders. 


Competency Matrix implementation

Now you have everything you need in the initial phase of implementing the Competency Matrix into your organization. In the next post, you will learn how to do it in practice.



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