September 8, 2023

Transforming Talent Acquisition and Retention with a Skills-Focused Approach

The art of hiring is a daunting challenge for any manager. It is a task that often defies conventional wisdom, where promising interviewees may not always be the best fit for a role. The rapidly evolving job landscape demands agility from both employers and employees. Amidst these changes, the concept of skills-based hiring and upskilling has emerged as a strategic approach to not only hire smarter but also to retain and nurture talent. Anthology stands as a trailblazer in the realm of education technology, offering innovative solutions that redefine talent acquisition and retention strategies. 


Why a Skills-First Approach is Paramount 

LinkedIn's groundbreaking report, "Skills-First: Reimagining the Labor Market and Breaking Down Barriers," underscores the immense impact of prioritizing skills in the hiring process. By adopting a skills-first approach, organizations can unlock remarkable advantages. This includes expanding the talent pool by up to 20 times, fostering gender diversity by 24% more in underrepresented roles for women, and significantly broadening the talent pool for various generations. Specifically, Gen X workers benefit from an 8.5x increase, millennials 9x, and Gen Z workers an impressive 10.3x. 

Traditional hiring signals, such as years of experience, have proven to be flawed predictors of job performance. As the global economy undergoes seismic shifts, reimagining the labor market has gained renewed urgency. The changing demographics across the world, coupled with factors like declining worker populations, early retirements, and shifts in immigration, have rendered certain roles difficult to fill. A skills-first approach emerges as a beacon of hope in this scenario. 


Retention through Learning and Growth 

LinkedIn's data highlights the integral link between employee retention and investing in their learning and growth. Notably, employees who make an internal move within their organization at the two-year mark boast a remarkable 75% likelihood of staying, compared to 56% for those who have not. Companies excelling in internal mobility demonstrate the ability to retain employees for an average of 5.4 years—nearly double the 2.9-year span for organizations grappling with the concept. 

The path to successful retention involves nurturing employees to evolve alongside the organization. Empowering employees to progress within their careers by offering guidance on internal career paths and opportunities to build and apply relevant skills fosters engagement and loyalty. This approach ensures that employees remain invested in their personal growth while contributing to the organization's success. 


Creating a Skill-Centric Learning Program 

Central to fostering a skills-focused workforce is the creation of a learning program that nurtures skill development. Anthology advocates for investing in a flexible and innovative learning management system (LMS) that supports learning teams. This includes providing blended learning experiences accessible on both computers and mobile devices. By centralizing content, organizations streamline instructor-learner workflows, enhancing transparency and progress tracking. 

Furthermore, Anthology emphasizes the power of integration and innovation. The Blackboard® Learn AI Design Assistant, developed in partnership with Microsoft, empowers instructors to revolutionize course creation, tests, and rubrics using generative AI capabilities. The platform's Flexible Grading feature enhances efficiency and feedback quality, saving instructors valuable time. 


Promoting Inclusivity through Accessibility 

An inclusive learning environment transcends skills alone; it encompasses accessibility. Anthology's Blackboard Learn shines as the most inclusive learning management system in the market. The integration of the Ultra Accessibility Checker powered by Anthology® Ally ensures that all Learn Ultra documents are optimally accessible, catering to diverse learners. 

Anthology® Ally takes inclusivity a step further by offering digital content options for adult learners and breaking language barriers with its translation capabilities. By prioritizing accessibility, organizations create environments where all learners can thrive. 


Nurturing a Culture of Continuous Learning 

In an era where learning and development steer an organization's trajectory, Anthology's Blackboard Learn emerges as an indispensable ally. With a focus on skills-first hiring and retention strategies, organizations can harness the power of adaptable, engaged employees. As revealed by Zippia, a staggering 68% of employees prefer learning on the job. By embracing a skill-centric approach and harnessing Anthology's technology, organizations cultivate engaged employees, higher returns, and a thriving bottom line. As demonstrated by the 24% higher profit margins experienced by companies with comprehensive training programs, Anthology's Blackboard Learn lays the foundation for building impactful learning journeys centered around skills-focused hiring and retention. 

Headshot of Celena Westlund

Celena Westlund

Senior Marketing Manager for Business and Government

Westlund joined Anthology in 2021, bringing nearly 11 years of government and marketing experience, including over 7 years at the U.S. Institute of Peace and 3.5 years at a MarTech company. In her role at Anthology, she works to create awareness and demand for our EdTech solutions in federal, state, and local governments, and within corporate entities. Westlund graduated from Washington State University with an M.A. in strategic communication and previously earned an M.A. from American University in international peace and conflict resolution, with a focus on conflict in the Southern Balkans.