Pushing skills-first talent management to scale

Grads of Life – with Walmart funding – is scaling its framework to gather evidence and build the business case for this management strategy

“We don’t yet have a really robust body of evidence demonstrating both the business case for skills-first talent management and social impact of skills-first talent management,” says Elyse Rosenblum, founder and managing director of Grads of Life –  a national nonprofit working to close the country’s opportunity divide.

Elyse Rosenblum, founder and managing director, Grads of Life

Rosenblum explains, “We focus our work with the private sector, working with employers to help them adopt skills-first talent management practices, build strategies, and implement those strategies.”

Opportunity to Scale Impact

A just-announced $1-million, one-year grant from the Walmart will afford Grads of Life to further scale its Impact Measurement Framework.

“Last year, we did a really great piece of work in partnership with the Business Roundtable and about 10 companies to really co-create a framework with tons of input by the companies,” explains Rosenblum.

She says, “We came up with a tool, a framework which identifies key metrics that companies should be looking at when thinking about a skills-first talent transformation. ‘How many jobs have you re-credentialed? How many people without four-year degrees have you actually hired into those roles? How many people have you promoted into those roles? What does the retention look like of people without four-year degrees compared to people with four-year degrees?’ – those critical questions that we need to answer in order to understand the ‘so what’ of adopting skills-first talent management practices.”

Representatives from Walmart, IBM, Accenture, American Express, and others were part of the working group that initially created the framework.

Walmart is on the Bandwagon that Focuses on Skills
Patti Constantakis, director of corporate philanthropy,

In a statement, Patti Constantakis, director of corporate philanthropy at Walmart, says, “The framework has already garnered so much excitement from leading employers given how it has equipped them to capture the value of talent practices that focus on skills, not degrees.”

She continues, “I’m very excited for the framework to continue to support the growing shift toward more rigorous measurement in this space.”

Grads of Life’s Rosenblum summarizes, “Walmart’s new round of support is really focused on us bringing this tool into the market – bringing it to many more employers. The first thing we’re doing is we are launching a joint working group with members of the Business Roundtable and the OneTen coalition.”

She continues, “Where we are now is really socializing the tool with a larger group of organizations – getting companies to use it, getting them to focus on the metrics, getting them to go find the data, and then sharing it. We will be publishing a set of case studies over the course of the year of the grant – elevating companies that are probably further along in doing that work and just continuing to build that evidence base.”

“We expect a substantial number of companies to be involved in that action cohort. It’s very ‘roll up your sleeves’ to get companies using the tool and measuring impact.”