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| 3 minutes read

The future of talent acquisition is skills-based.

The way we work is changing. 

Technology is having a profound impact on people’s jobs, and the skills gap is widening. Each day, new job roles are being created at speed to meet the demands of tomorrow. But with a shrinking working population and scarcity of global talent, businesses know there’s a need to shift their thinking. 

Recruiters are turning their back on traditional ways of hiring based on experience and job qualifications to a skills-based approach to hiring, providing greater flexibility and potential. But while many have jumped on the bandwagon, very little are truly reaping the benefits.  

In a recent webinar event, AMS colleagues Nicole Brender A Brandis, Head of Strategy Consulting, and Annie Hammer, Head of Technology and Analytics Advisory spoke to some of the world’s leading businesses to find out where they were on the skills-based journey, as well as discussing practical steps on how to make this new approach a success. 

Here are the key takeaways. 

The current outlook
Businesses are currently sitting on the fence when it comes to future skills. In a live survey, we asked our attendees if they felt they had the skills they need to succeed in the new world of work. Almost 60% said they didn’t. 

68% of respondents had started the skills-based journey, but 50% were in the early stages and nobody had got it right yet.  And that’s not surprising. Businesses have realized that they don't have enough workers, with skills that are future fit. So, adopting a skill-based solution makes sense. But implementing it successfully is another matter. 

It starts with clear objectives
Before you jump into the solutions, it’s imperative to tie down the business objectives. No two organizations are the same, so each one will have different reasons why a skills-based hiring approach could work for them. Questions businesses need to ask are, for example, ‘how will it accomplish better talent agility or mobility across the business?’ Or ‘how will it help utilize internal resources?’ Getting the answers to these questions at the start will give you the platform to deliver a solution that’s right for your business. 

Think small 
As the saying goes, ‘don’t run before you can walk’. When it comes to a skills-based approach, some businesses get over-excited and try to implement change across the whole organization. Inevitably, this leads to a breakdown. The path towards a skills-based approach is not a Big Bang type of change. It takes time, and small steps can make all the difference. 

For example, you could start with a single test group whose jobs have things in common. You’ll find there's a significant amount of overlap at the skill level within those defined jobs. Then, boil it down to the key skills needed to be able to deliver the work.  

Quick wins are so important when delivering something so new and complex.  

Engage with the wider business
It’s vital for everyone to work together and look at the skills that are needed today, that may need to change for tomorrow. One example mentioned during the session was literacy. In the future, it’s not going to mean ‘can you read and write?’, it’s going to means, ‘can you learn, re-learn and unlearn?’. And to do that, everyone must work closely together to understand how those deficits and reskilling need to happen.  

Think cross-functional
When you’re rolling out a radical new way of working, you need buy-in from everyone. Currently, in many businesses, this new approach starts with the Talent Management leader.  

There’s a role for TA teams to start helping HR departments to think broadly across HR, as well as the business as a whole, to see how it will change the way that people work. It’s about continually thinking cross-functionally while you’re making the move to a skills-based model.  

Evaluate success
For a new initiative to gain momentum, it requires a well-structured approach to evaluating success.   

Organizations need to make sure that they understand how they’re going to define success, and how to communicate it. By showing the results and outcomes in clear way, it will ensure the new approach continues to gain support, building momentum so it becomes a larger program.  

Lean on technology
The key to delivering this new skills-based approach are technologies.  

AI, for example, is being used to skills-match candidates for shortlisting. But it can go much deeper. It can also uncover adjacent or relevant skills that are not clearly stated on a profile, as well as bring together information about a certain candidate from numerous online sources.  

Technology helps with conversations, too. It can guide recruiters on what questions they should be asking – reducing the admin burden, so they can spend more time building relationships.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Technology is playing a key role in helping businesses realize the potential of a skills-based approach for their future employment. 

To learn more about skills-based hiring and what it can do for your business, watch the full webinar session, Skills-based Organizations and the Future of Talent Acquisition, here.

Alternatively, if you would like to have a conversation about how to progress skills-based hiring in your organization, please do get in touch 



artificial intelligence, innovation, hr tech, leadership, recruiter skilling, reskilling, talent acquisition, technology