The launch of a new project is upcoming and the company needs a team for this task ASAP. A situation every company has faced. Who will be responsible for the project? How to evaluate the competency of your teammates and choose those who have the relevant skills? How to develop them professionally for future projects?
Sound familiar? If yes, read the story by Liga Stavok (League of Bets) Company about how they implemented skill matrices in the work of their team and optimized the recruiting process.
Star map creation and automation
Our company used to run a classic skill review of employees, which took a lot of working hours. Due to its ineffectiveness, we decided to divide this task between the HR Dept and the team leads. To do this, we needed to create a star map that would include skill sets and skill levels for every role.
If someone from your team gets the idea that, “It’s my ceiling, there are no career opportunities for me in this company anymore,” it means that he or she will leave you for another company very soon.
To avoid this, you should create a transparent step-by-step growth plan for every team member. That’s why Liga Stavok (League of Bets) decided to automate career paths by building a mentoring and development program. A well-built assessment system helps to create career paths and quickly assign employees to the most suitable working tasks. The question is how this system will work? And what is more important: how to sell this tool to the team?
So how does it work?
To solve this task, we chose Vectorly which:
- has ready-to-use skill matrices
- automates the review process and gathers team analytics results
- creates growth plans based on a grade’s requirements and skill gaps
- gives recommendations on learning activities to develop focus skills
- provides visual analysis on a team’s skill review results
- offers tools for analysis of specific roles, as well as a whole team
Vectorly covered all our needs to complete our task. So, we started to create skill matrices for our company.
When a company is hiring, managers usually have an understanding of an ideal candidate and the skills required for the position. A Gallup research study claimed this approach has benefits: employees hired for their specific competencies show faster adaptation and are able to increase business revenue by 48%.
The most difficult task turned out to be developing a set of requirements to evaluate the skills of a potential candidate and take into account future tasks. Skill matrices allow you to choose candidates more easily and improve the quality of the hiring process. Thus, both a team lead and a recruiter have a clear understanding of what skills a possible candidate should have to match the needs of the company. This model helps to make a transparent decision on why one person suits the position and the other does not.
At the same time, an employee also has a clear understanding of:
- what expectations the company has
- what the management principles in the company are
- what he/she needs to do to perform better
- what qualities and skills he/she needs to grow professionally
- what skills he/she needs to have to get promoted
As a result, an employee gets a professional development plan with areas of growth and a transparent career path.
There is no need to be afraid. It’s just a review
The fear of assessment is familiar for most of us and comes from childhood, when a teacher called our name. Being adults, we still feel stressed when someone evaluates us and our work. As a result, employees tend to resist reviews and think: “Who are you to assess me? I know I’m a professional!” or “Is it an excuse for firing me?”
Sometimes, lack of feedback culture in the company is the reason for employees’ resistance to having a review. That’s why you should explain the benefits of skill matrices and how the review process is organized, before implementing this practice.
Yet, there is another pitfall. HR or a team lead might think: "Well, my team knows how it works and understands the process.” Actually, they don’t. Here are the recommendations for how to hold this conversation and what exactly you should explain to your teammates:
- What the goals and tasks of the company are
- Why your team needs to hold reviews
- How the review process will be organized
- How the results of a review will be analyzed and how an employee can influence it
Focus on the benefits of a review. Lack of certain skills is the area of growth and professional development for employees. As a result of a review, they get a personal development plan. The goal of a review is not to fire someone but to give them the motivation to grow professionally. At the same time, a company and a team lead get information about the strengths and weaknesses of the team and can improve performance. Win-win.
Dynamic skill matrix (Front-end developer)
When you have collected the necessary information about the skills of employees and have started creating a star map with the skills required for your company, you can go further and make the skill matrix dynamic. This means a skill matrix can be adapted to new projects and challenges, displaying the progress of employees and showing the changes in their career paths.
Sounds great! We have never heard of a single case of its successful implementation, so we decided to develop it ourselves. We are currently testing it, but we already have results to share.
The review process starts at Vectorly. Have you ever noticed that LinkedIn has an option: ’Validate your skills’? You can indicate skills in your profile, and your colleagues confirm them. The review system in Vectorly works the same way, only better. You make a list of skills required for each position and build a gradation in four levels: beginner, basic, advanced, professional. Next, you assign a specific employee to each position and start a review of his/her skills.
Let’s take a closer look at how it works, using the example of a front-end developer skill matrix.
An employee can be reviewed by him-/herself, by the whole team and by a team lead, to get 360-degree feedback. The Liga Stavok company used to hold performance reviews once a year. We’re now planning to hold them once a quarter, so employee development plans can be regularly updated and the skills checked when we need to build a team for a project.
At the stage of implementation of a skill matrix, we understand which front-end developers we need for a project and how many. The next step is to build a career path for employees. For example, a review showed that a junior front-end developer lacks certain skills to move to the middle. In a 1-on-1 with his/her manager, they make up a list of focus skills to develop and create a growth plan for a year, taking into account the company's goals. The development plan helps an employee to improve his/her skills faster.
Much depends on how clearly the plan is created. So, instead of "you need to develop a project management skill", it is better to write: "learn how to set goals and deadlines for a task, and divide the project into stages". When an individual development plan is created, an employee starts training. There are various opportunities for developing soft skills at the Liga Stavok company. Once a quarter, we create a growth plan for the development of hard skills. For example, our employees have recently improved their knowledge of agile and the product. Also, we are implementing a mentorship program, which will allow the sharing of experience of senior employees and make the adaptation period of newcomers easier.
How is it done?
It took a year from when the idea to implement skill matrices in our work was introduced until the moment it was implemented on pilot projects and product departments. To summarize the results of this period, we set the stages of the process of skills assessment:
Step 1. A review of employees on focus skills
Step 2. Creation of skill matrices and career paths with the help of team leads
Step 3. Team leads create individual development plans
Step 4. Implementation of skills review practice and assessment
Step 5. Building individual development plans and monitoring
Step 6. Team leads manage their employees based on the review results
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this system, we calculated the following metrics:
- time spent
- lost profits
- lost productivity
In the first case, we compared how much time it takes for our HR managers to manage teams using the old methods, compared to the automated process with Vectorly.
The second metric showed us the lost profit of the company from hiring people with no relevant skills. Lost profit can be calculated not only in monetary terms. According to a Gallup study, if you don’t hire employees with the required skills, you can't:
- increase income by 48%
- increase performance by 22%
- increase employees’ engagement by 30%.
Thus, skills review, building career paths using the dynamic model, and development of skills of your employees solve the problem of lost profits.
And finally, the last metric is lost productivity. Everything is quite simple here: we calculate how much we lose if a person lacks the required skills. Due to this factor, the productivity of such an employee is 30% lower than that of a specialist having these skills. Filling the skill gaps with the help of the new system will help solve this problem.
We expect that the implementation of the review system will significantly save time because managers will be able to make decisions without coordination with HR, solve business problems more quickly and free up to 28% of their working time.