Employers are at risk when making team changes – even minor changes, without correct processes in place. The Skill Matrix reduces this risk.
There are a number of areas of high risk for employers when it comes to HR Management – one of which is considering changes to employee roles without the foundation of knowledge and consideration of the bigger picture.
The employee skill matrix provides the structure of information required to make sensible moves – whether they be temporary or permanent.
Putting correct, structured processes and communications in place during any shift in employment is the other side of the high-risk equation. Where personal grievances are upheld in court, it is almost always due to a lack of correct procedure being followed rather than the actions taken.
Every alteration of an employee’s work environment requires documentation and written consent from both parties for every aspect.
The role of the Employee Skill Matrix
The Skill Matrix is a grid that tables the skills, experience & training an employee has and matches them against the skills & experience required for each role, often also taking into consideration the relative importance of the role to the business & the relative time of accumulating the required level of expertise & training for any given role replacement.
When you conduct a skill matrix for every employee and you also detail the skills required to do any job in your business well, it becomes apparent where you have overlaps and where you have gaps.
It will also become apparent if you have gaps in your succession plan in covering key and core capabilities – and you will see the requirements for training and development in some areas.
It can happen that in considering moving one person from one role to another, that you plug one hole and in doing so, create another hole. Employees with overlapping key and core skills become relatively more important to your business overall.
There is value in letting employees become aware of their importance – this instils a sense of pride. It is equally important that they see you putting in place the necessary steps to replace them if required to do so – if for no other reason than to have adequate cover should any key employee become ill or require leave.
A strategically planned HR Strategy takes the future direction for the business into consideration and identifies priorities for the process of building skill and capability for the future – allowing business owners to build experience and trust in the most impactful areas.
Restructuring or temporary restructuring
On any occasion where a business owner needs to respond to an emergency or unforeseen situation (such as a pandemic limiting business functionality), an equally planned and measured approach must be put in place.
The bird’s eye view of an external party such as ourselves is extremely valuable in this situation, as we look at skills and capability as much as (if not more than) anything else – and we are somewhat more removed from the stress of the emergency situation to hand.
In every business situation, employee skills, experience and aspiration to a degree must be considered before all else – even in emergency planning situations.
To create an Employee Skill Matrix, the 4 pillars for success are as follows:
- List the roles in the business (the positions)
- Nominate the key skills required for each of the positions, the relative level of experience or competence required, and the relative importance of the skill to your business. Key roles require a robust succession plan to be in place.
- Rate each employee against each of the required skills for each role (regardless of the role they are presently in, taking into account the level of skill and level of experience.
- This should give you your map of where you need to increase resources and where you may be able to release or redeploy some.
Please give us a call to discuss further if you need some expert advice or if you feel you are getting caught up in the details.
Making a position redundant in your business
When you make a position redundant in your business, it is the job that is disestablished – not the employee.
The affected employee only has to leave the business if there is no other suitable job for him or her at that time.
Employers are required to offer upcoming suitable positions to the person affected by the position’s disestablishment for six months following disestablishment.
This being the case, the short answer is that if a position is disestablished, you cannot hire a new employee into it – simply because it no longer exists.
Business restructuring process must precede redundancy
The process prior to disestablishing a position in your business is also critical to transparency and risk reduction – given how frequently employees losing their jobs due to their position being disestablished (or made redundant) challenge the decision with a grievance.
The risk of grievance is reduced significantly if the employer follows the correct restructuring process leading up to any positions being established or disestablished. The process can also get messy if any performance management of the employee has taken place leading up to this process. This can be challenged as a sham redundancy- buts that’s another blog topic!
A restructure process must be based on the needs of the business and be managed in accordance to the business plan. Restructuring is conducted when a business moves to a growth or scaling up phase as much as it is when a business needs to scale down.
After the business planning and structure revisions are considered at management level – based on business requirements, the initial stage of restructuring is one of consultation and soliciting feedback from the employees. Anyone potentially impacted by a change in the structure must be consulted – and there is a strict sequence of events to be followed to ensure this process is compliant. We are not listing that information here, simply because compliance requirements can change from time to time.
Employees should be invited to have a support person attend meetings with them (but are not required to do so) – meaning that enough time to allow people to contact their support person and enough time to consider the situation to hand must be allowed for in the process – but not so much time that they begin to become anxious. A couple of days are generally enough.
Most employers getting into difficulty with grievances have skipped this step and presumed that they have the right to make changes that impact on employees without a consultation process.
Following consultation, the employer is required to take time to consider feedback before moving forward.
In the case of a team where all employees have the same position and one or more positions are to be disestablished, in the absence of a company policy stating the redundancy structure when restructuring occurs (which we recommend for all businesses), each team member must be individually met with an interviewed for the remaining positions.
In this instance, a selection process is required. That process must also be transparent and laid out at the initial consultation so that everyone knows what to expect.
Following your reconsideration, another meeting must be held.
Positive side effects of managing a restructure and redundancy process correctly are as follows:
Firstly, you have taken time to consider the restructure from a business point of view and you have a business based reason for the moves at play. This ensures no personality or performance related issues are able to be connected to your decisions.
Secondly, because the team has been informed from the outset, had the opportunity to input and to consider what the business needs, they will adjust much more easily to losing a job or a teammate.
Employers acting in good faith putting business needs at the fore will generally manage this process without it feeling personal for the employees, which means less risk and less grief due to a team member’s job and thus a team member being removed.
If you feel you need assistance or guidance with this process, our team of HR experts are here to help or to manage the process for you. Often that is easier for all concerned. Please contact if you feel that this would be helpful for you.