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Skills-Based Practices: A Journey Map for Employers

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November 2, 2023

At a Glance

This document is a one-stop guide to help employers build business agility, workforce diversity, and resilience through skills-based talent practices. It includes business cases for a skills-based approach and resources to assess a company’s maturity and readiness to identify and adopt specific skills-based talent practices. 

Cat Ward Vice President
Sheila Jackson Director
Jon Kaplan Senior Advisor
Practices & Centers

Yesterday’s talent practices can’t meet tomorrow’s business needs. 

Skills-based talent practices can help companies match employee capabilities to business needs with greater accuracy, cost effectiveness, and agility while building a more diverse, inclusive, and productive workforce. 

In our work with more than 100 employers implementing skills-based talent practices, JFF commonly encountered two questions: “How am I doing?” and “What should I do next?” 

To answer these questions, we have developed a resource called “Skills-Based Talent Practices: A Journey Map for Employers” that will help business leaders do the following: 

  • Make the business case for skills-based talent practices  
  • Assess the maturity of their current skills-based talent practices across seven criteria: job requirements, sourcing strategies, candidate assessment, hiring protocols, post-hire support, advancement opportunities, and organizational culture 
  • Identify specific next steps toward more sophisticated approaches based on their current level of maturity  
  • Determine organizational readiness for skill-based talent practices across four factors: vision, organizational buy-in, dedicated capacity, and implementation strategy 

It also includes an extensive list of additional resources that can help them as they progress on their skills-based journeys.  

One of the greatest challenges in any new endeavor can be determining where to take the next step. Our journey map will help you make the right choices. 

Let’s get started! 


We often talk with our customers about how to get started with skills-first talent practices. This is a really tangible resource to turn intention into action.

Alyssa Leppla, Group Manager, Narratives & Social, LinkedIn

Additional Resources

Discover the importance of education-to-career pathways with our comprehensive resources. These materials highlight how embracing diverse educational routes beyond the traditional four-year degree can enhance the diversity of education and career opportunities. Read and review our resources to understand how education systems need to adapt to this new way of thinking, driving diversity of opportunities for learners and empowering individuals with varied skills and experiences.

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Jobs for the Future (JFF) is a national nonprofit that drives transformation of the U.S. education and workforce systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.