Laying off staff? Make transparent decisions using a skills matrix

Laying off staff? Make transparent decisions using a skills matrix

Use a skills matrix. Nobody can predict the future with absolute certainty. And although you want to avoid doing so, unforeseen economic circumstances such as the current corona crisis might mean you’ll have to lay off staff. If it gets that far, it always involves making radical and gut-wrenching decisions. This article explains how you can at least make the decision-making process honest, objective, and transparent.

Why redundancies?

Having too many people in employment is referred to as ‘redundancy’. There are numerous reasons why this arises, for example economic downturns, which cause revenues to drop and prompt organizations to cut their staffing costs. Take, for example, the airline, travel, and entertainment industries hit by the corona crisis. Travel restrictions and reduced passenger numbers or visitors have caused profits to nosedive, forcing organizations to cut their workforces.

Robotization and automation are other causes, where machines replace humans on a production line or chatbots replace customer support representatives.

Other causes include organizational strategy changes, for example a shift toward greater specialization to gain a competitive edge. This can mean divesting certain tasks, services, or products, and with them superfluous staff.

Using a skills matrix

It’s always a gut-wrenching process to have to fire people, especially when they work and perform well. After all, it’s a decision that negatively impacts the life of your employees. If the step is unavoidable, then it’s vital that your decision-making process be honest, objective, and transparent.

Skills matrices help you achieve this because they provide a clear, concise, visual representation of your staff’s skills, competences, knowledge, and qualifications. They list your employees’ names down the left-hand column and all the skills needed to perform a certain task along the top row (or vice versa). There are several types of skills matrix depending on the complexity and number of skills and competences you’re mapping and monitoring. – Read more

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9 tips for successful team collaboration

Collaboration is an important success factor for any organization. In fact, according to Yuval Noah Harari (author of the bestseller Sapiens), the capacity to cooperate in large numbers is the main reason why the human species has become so successful! Still, smooth collaboration between colleagues isn’t necessarily a given.

Problems and challenges facing teams

Team collaboration can be quite a challenge. Especially when an assignment or project hasn’t been going the way you’d like it to. Meetings and meetups bear little fruit to the point where you get stuck. The result: irritation, frustration and demotivation.

In order to eliminate the problems above, it is important that team members are aware of the problems and challenges associated with collaboration.

This includes:

  • Lack of a clear dot on the horizon. This tends to cause confusion about the task distribution and time schedule.
  • For good collaboration to be established, it is important that everyone considers themselves a worthy group or team member. Compare it to someone who just joined a sports team: this person wants to prove themselves and gain popularity among their team members as quickly as possible. The same applies to professional collaboration: each team member must be open to the strengths of their colleagues and promote mutual acceptance. In practice, this tends to be a challenging process.
  • An unclear distribution of tasks and roles, giving rise to misunderstandings about who is supposed to do what.
  • Sloppy communication. This problem is often the result of poor listening or an imbalance between introverted and dominant characters who like to take the spotlight.
  • The absence of or failure to adhere to sound and clear agreements. It is important that each team member musters the discipline to honor agreements and execute their portion of the work carefully and competently.
  • A leader whose leadership style does not match the team. The result is that you lose control of the collaboration process and risk the resistance of unhappy employees.

Improved collaboration?

How to shape good collaboration? Improving and streamlining collaboration usually holds the key to success. But it is easier said than done. Raising your collaboration game takes more than scribbling down a plan. – Read more

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So how do you evaluate your employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities?

My Post (15)Employees’ professional profiles are primarily the sum total of their knowledge, skills, and abilities – often abbreviated simply to KSA. But how do you evaluate your employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in practice? And what tools are available to help? Here’s how to do it!

KSA explained

The abbreviation KSA stands for knowledge, skills, and abilities. They form a major part of an individual’s personal and professional profiles.


Knowledge is primarily theoretical in nature. If you’re knowledgeable about a certain subject, then you’ve acquired a lot of facts and mastered the concepts and theories underlying the topic in question. We usually gain knowledge from information sources such as books, journals, internet, or traditional classroom-style courses and lectures.


Skills are primarily more ‘practical’ in nature than knowledge. They’re rooted in knowledge, but are generally acquired by means of training courses and work experience. A skill is the ability to perform a certain task or role competently and relates to application of knowledge in a particular situation or context.


Abilities are very similar to skills in many respects. However, there are important differences. An ability is broader – a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other personal traits.

About KSA

The sum total of knowledge, skills, and abilities define a role or job title. Does a candidate or employee have the right KSA combination for a specific opening? Using the KSA model, you can see quickly and clearly if the right person is in the right role/job.

The US government still regularly uses the KSA concept, especially at a federal level, to recruit suitable staff, using a scale from 0 to 100. A score of 70 is generally a minimum requirement to be eligible for a job opening or role.

Nowadays, the model is primarily used to map and analyze the success of, and necessity for, a particular training program. In other words, a useful tool for identifying potential skills gaps and finding concrete solutions.

How to evaluate knowledge, skills, and abilities

You can evaluate each of the three KSAs, assuming you have the right tools and adopt the right methods. It’s high time we looked at exactly how to evaluate these three components. – Read more

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