Create a Skills Flexibility Matrix to Set Mine Up for Successful Expansion

March 18, 2024

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As Mexico’s regulations on the granting of mining concessions become more contingent on compliance with environmental and social requirements, strategizing skills acquisition, training and retention is crucial to build a resilient and adaptable workforce to facilitate these transitions. 

Mining companies are going the extra mile to secure the right candidates for the right roles amidst a competitive demand for talent. Technical skills are becoming increasingly sought after, particularly with emerging areas of focus in mining such as energy efficiency, predictive maintenance, cybersecurity, and digital twin simulations. In fact, according to one analysis, the average skillset of the mining employee is likely to change by 40% within 4 years.

To ensure companies have a comprehensive workforce to ramp up mine expansions and execute change initiatives effectively, any gaps in skills must be identified. A skills flexibility matrix can be a helpful tool for HR teams and management to ensure that roles needed in mining teams are filled and that any skill gaps are addressed.

Identify Technical Skills Gaps to Effectively Address Them

As Mexico’s mining laws begin to include more regulations on the environment, water and community engagement, hiring employees with the skills to successfully implement change is paramount. Hiring graduates and prospects who have knowledge in spaces such as environmental science, social work, remote sensing and AI technology, robotics engineering, and big data to improve mine efficiency should be aligned with a company’s skills flexibility matrix.

By mapping the necessary roles and aligning them with hiring budgets and the overall change initiatives and goals of the company, HR and executives can better understand the needs of a mine and the gaps which may exist which need to be addressed.

Build Comprehensive Training Programs for Employees

To improve compliance with environmental regulations, many mining companies are adopting new technologies to improve operational efficiency. However, systems, tools and technologies alone will not be enough to truly sustain change and new ways of working. Many of these systems such as tire monitoring systems, sensor-equipped machinery and geographic information systems (GIS) require a certain number of hours of on-the-job skills training for employees.

Significant skills gaps can result in more workers being required per unit of output. As such, a skills flexibility matrix with mapped skills needed can help mining managers ensure that the company’s average labor costs are not unnecessarily higher than they should be. With a bird’s eye view of skills gaps, training programs can be developed to cater to the specific gaps present in a mining company’s workforce.

Develop Comprehensive KPIs and Performance Standards

Once a comprehensive mapping of roles and skills has been done, it is equally important to establish defined KPIs and performance standards. The skills flexibility matrix becomes a dynamic, evolving document to set shared expectations for each role within the company. These requirements can be incorporated into role descriptions during hiring or raised during appraisals and evaluations of employee performance and used in succession planning to promote and train promising talent.

By allowing employees to better understand how their role fits within the larger organization and mining processes, they are more likely to stay motivated, understand their impact and collaborate more effectively. Building a skills flexibility matrix is a proactive step toward a company’s hiring, skills development, succession planning and equipping the company with the skills to take on sustainable change initiatives.

Build a skills flexibility matrix to address skills gaps.

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