How UCI Increased Employee Retention with Fuel50’s Talent Marketplace




United States


Talent Mobility

Joined Fuel50


UCI Success Story Preview Image

Founded in 1965, the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities. UCI’s unyielding commitment to rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, leadership and character development makes the campus a driving force for innovation and discovery.

With more than 37,000 students, 1,497 faculty members, and 11,622 staff, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system. UCI draws on the unwavering spirit of their pioneering faculty, staff, and students who arrived on campus with a dream to inspire change and generate new ideas.

Business Challenge

UCI is a strong advocate for learning, development, growth, and progression for students and employees alike. To ensure their employee experience is adequately supporting the needs and wants of their people, UCI conducts regular engagement and culture surveys.

Results had indicated that employees were craving more career development opportunities within the organization. They enjoyed working at UCI but were looking for the next step in their career and would prefer not to leave to find it. As feedback continued to flow in, the team at UCI saw this as an immediate call-to-action to enhance their talent development strategy to better support the retention and engagement of their people.

At the time, easy access to development opportunities were few and far between. Employees had the desire to grow, but the ability to match them to relevant opportunities within the organization was a real challenge that needed to be solved.

UCI operates in a fast-changing environment, so they knew their reformed talent development strategy had to support continuous skill-building to ensure employees are equipped with high-demand skills that will enable the organization to adapt and pivot to current and future market changes. The ultimate mission was to hold on to skilled talent, invest in their continued development, and facilitate their growth, all while keeping them committed to organizational objectives. These goals required a comprehensive platform to help catapult UCI’s ongoing success.

"The goal is to hold on to our talent and to invest in our talent… that’s where the strategy and platform enablement idea came from. It really came down to retaining our talent, evolving our talent, and keeping our talent committed to the organizational objectives.”

Tom Andriola – Vice Chancellor for IT and Data and Chief Digital Officer at UCI
Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor for IT and Data, and Chief Digital Officer
Tom Andriola – Vice Chancellor for IT and Data and Chief Digital Officer at UCI
Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor for IT and Data, and Chief Digital Officer
Fuel50 Journeys


Learn more about Fuel50

HR Tech Stack

System of Engagement: Fuel50

System of Record: Oracle PeopleSoft

As UCI began to search for a solution that would spearhead their enhanced talent experience, the team came across Fuel50’s science-based Talent Marketplace. After examining the platform features and capabilities, the team felt confident that it could help solve the organization’s challenges.

“We chose Fuel50 because it was the only product we could find that really checked all the boxes for what we were trying to do. We weren’t just trying to create a database of skills and people and then match them up to jobs. We wanted something that was more holistic and more enveloping of the entire career and the different pathways of an individual’s career. Fuel50 was a platform that had built out a lot of those different pathways.” – Kian Colestock, Chief Information Officer at University of California, Irvine

UCI wanted to ensure every single employee, both current and new hire, is in the driver’s seat of their career – free to build their future, explore different roles, and take steps to achieve their goals. Nidia Barros, Director of Office of Information Technology (OIT) Human Resources, says that Fuel50 acts as an incubator, facilitating and enabling employees to dream, and not be solely defined by a “traditional job description and career ladder.”

Prior to launch, the team at UCI worked with Fuel50 to transform their traditional career framework into a skills-based architecture by intelligently mapping skills to roles. This transformation was pivotal in gaining a deeper insight into employee skills and capabilities and identifying critical skills gaps, both current and future. Babette Vogel, Director of Business Services for OIT, loved that this entire process gave UCI the ability to truly understand the nuances and complexities of their workforce and make more intelligent, data-driven decisions to support employee and organizational needs.

Ahead of implementation, the team decided to launch Fuel50 through a phased approach that began with Personalization exercises aimed at building each employee’s career DNA, which then led to the release of the Career Journeys, Gigs, Mentoring, and Learn features. This approach supported effective change management by ensuring employees were not overwhelmed with monumental change all at once. This enabled UCI to truly embed the platform features and benefits within their talent ecosystem, and shift the way employees develop, interact, and envision internal career possibilities.

“The modules such as Mentoring, Gigs and Learn helps each employee visualize a potential journey they could never have imagined.” – Babette Vogel, Director of Business Services, OIT

UCI were thrilled to have a platform that not only powered better retention and engagement through internal mobility, talent development, and employee growth, but also enabled the organization to become more skills-centric. Fuel50 is helping UCI to identify, understand, and action skills like never before, making it the foundation of their reformed skills-based talent strategy.

"We have many silent skills within our org chart that we’re not using because that’s not what that person was hired for. The ability to find people who have those silent skills and identify them through automated matching of profiles, skills, and experience, opens the door to finding candidates that don’t know there’s an opportunity, or that the manager does not know would be a good candidate."

Kian Colestock, Chief Information Officer at University of California, Irvine
Kian Colestock, Chief Information Officer at University of California, Irvine



Reduction in Attrition


Returning Users


Turnover Rate
(compared to industry average of 13-15%)


of Users Have Target Roles


Gigs in First Week


Skills Data Points Per User

UCI has completely transformed their talent experience by partnering with Fuel50. Employees can now easily explore internal career opportunities within the organization, understand what skills they need, and take actionable steps in their development to propel them forward in their careers.

This has helped revitalize employee engagement, demonstrating the organization's deep commitment to their growth and development. Employees have embraced these new opportunities and regularly use the Gigs and Learn features to progress their career journey and expand their skill sets.

“People see the opportunity, they see the engagement, and they see the caring from the organization, that they're invested, and both sides are invested into the employee's growth.” – Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor for IT and Data and Chief Digital Officer

Many employees have enjoyed taking on short-term gigs as an opportunity to work in other departments within the organization, so much so that their enthusiasm sparked a new initiative called ‘reverse gigs’ – where employees outline what kinds of roles and opportunities they would like to explore within the business, and then HR and leadership work together to make it happen.

Leaders at UCI now have deeper insight into the values, motivations, and goals of their employees, helping to facilitate stronger relationships, trust, and better alignment so they can support employee growth more effectively. Fuel50 has enabled UCI’s leaders to become powerful advocates for the growth and development of their people.

Investing in technology to deliver visibility and access to growth opportunities and data-driven insights has contributed to increased retention and engagement – strengthening UCI’s competitive edge and ability to attract talent.

This is just the beginning! Together, UCI and Fuel50 are excited to see the continued impact as we focus on driving purposeful development, bridging skill gaps, and further strengthening UCI’s success.

“We’re running at about a third of our industry’s typical turnover rate and we think that the Fuel50 platform has provided a tremendous input into keeping that number much lower than our peers.”

Tom Andriola, Vice Chancellor for IT and Data, and Chief Digital Officer

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