How To Prepare Your Job Structure For The Talent Marketplace
Junctions, not ladders
For decades, your job title defined your place in the work universe. Everyone knew their precise rung on the corporate ladder. (And long live the Peter Principle.)
Today, that approach doesn’t work for adapting quickly to change. Instead of a fixed ladder, organizations need a spinning junction that can open different pathways to quickly staffing projects with the best talent available.
Organizations may need to rotate people for special projects or departmental needs or to restructure the business. More agile firms are paying renewed attention to the idea of a talent marketplace.
What is a talent marketplace?
The talent marketplace is arguably an old idea with roots in competency-based organizations, reinvented with today’s AI-enabled technology and employee experience (EX) expectations.
The idea is simple: create an internal gig system for special projects, jobs, or mentorships within your firm. Base it on people’s skills, competencies, certifications, and personal career interests. This can include their aspirations —areas in which they have ambition or potential to excel. Then marry those elements with company needs.
In other words, do more with what you already have.
A bonus is that HR won’t have to spend resources recruiting externally.
Doing internal hiring well means first knowing your people’s existing skills, talents, career desires, and competencies. Those may differ from credentials on initial job applications.
Many HRIS systems have gaps. Designed for recording identity, payroll, and time-tracking data, employee profiles don’t capture the full range of people’s talents, learning goals, and career ambitions.
But if you capture that data, you can put it in an AI-enabled database. That enables the redeployment of talent for more agile project teamwork.
It’s not just AI-tech. It’s a mind-shift.
The talent marketplace approach uses technology and people’s career motivations to match talent with opportunity.
Ruslan Tovbulatov, Vice President of Global Marketing for Gloat, is a pioneer of the talent marketplace idea. Gloat was the world’s first AI-powered talent marketplace platform.
HR expert Josh Bersin believes it is “one of the most successful innovations in HR.” He says talent platforms let employees “find internal positions, projects, and mentors without going through their boss.”
The approach, however, can be complex at first for some firms. That’s because it’s much more than just having a new intranet advertising internal projects and gig work.
It involves a significant shift in mindset from control to mutual enablement. Instead of managers controlling workers along career paths, people are free to “jump ship” from one department or project to another. People more actively shape their career paths.
Not all managers welcome this. Some prefer to hoard their best people.
Benefits of a Talent Marketplace
However, several large firms have embraced the more open, teams-oriented, internal gig approach. And some have seen surprising benefits.
- Schneider Electric, with 135,000 employees, credits its selection of Gloat Talent Marketplace in 2020 with unlocking over 200,000 hours and saving $15 million in productivity gains and reduced recruitment costs.
- Unilever, with 149,000 employees, saw a 41% improvement in productivity and unlocked 500,000 hours after launching its talent platform, FLEX Experiences. They’re using the platform to align opportunities with an employee’s sense of purpose. It enables significant upskilling and the cross-country staffing of assignments.
- Seagate Technology, with 40,000 employees, didn’t want to fire anyone during the pandemic or hire more new people than they had to. They opted for internal hiring and redeployment. But they couldn’t efficiently keep track of everyone’s skills manually. They realized AI could automate that for them. So they used a talent marketplace software system to redeploy people better. The results included $1.4 million in savings within the first four months of launch and 35,000 hours unlocked in the first four months of use.
Things to consider when setting up a talent marketplace
A good talent marketplace will link skills, career interests, and competencies with business needs and projects. Managers and employees can use the system to help decide what’s best for them.
As Bersin notes, a talent marketplace is not just an internal job searching system. It’s also a system for exploring new career directions, managing gig work, and for recruiters to find internal candidates. Talent marketplaces, as they evolve, may also integrate with an LMS to encourage relevant learning for new roles.
But how do you start along this path?
In January 2022, Phil Albinus of HRE talked with George LaRocque, founder of WorkTech. LaRocque commented that most employers aren’t ready for a talent marketplace because they must define their skills and competencies first.
Here are some steps to consider.
1. Are you ready?
Audit your company’s readiness for a skills-based talent marketplace. Assess your firm’s HR processes, skills taxonomies, and employee and manager attitudes to this approach. Are your managers and departments willing to work this way? A talent marketplace approach will focus on the work your people can do, not their job titles.
2. Solutions for employees and management.
Respect the unique career desires of your people. Be willing to help them develop themselves and find opportunities that can benefit the company.
3. Identify all the skills and competencies you need.
Identify the full spectrum of skills, competencies, and talent areas you need to include. Be granular as well as strategic. Then record this data in a database that is easy to update.
- You can build your own talent marketplace—Bersin notes this is what Allstate and Vertex did. Start by building a solid internal skills data set. You’ll need a skills taxonomy to map out all your skills to jobs and tasks.
- Alternatively, select a talent marketplace vendor who will work with you to identify and categorize all your skills, competencies, and talent metrics. Have them install the necessary AI-enabled software, tools, and solutions. For example, top platforms like Gloat or Fuel50 will provide an AI matching engine, a skills taxonomy, and analytics out of the box, says Bersin.
4. Create a unique, complete professional profile for each employee.
Create a unique, complete professional profile for each employee. Employees can fill in their profiles and add their aspirations and professional interests. They then receive instant recommendations for career, project, and mentorship opportunities.
5. Create a constantly updated, well-designed site to match internal opportunities with candidates.
Create a constantly updated website for all internal opportunities—part-time projects, internal jobs, mentorships, etc. Managers can post their open projects and jobs there and see all the employees whose skills and interests align with each opening. Employees can also choose which opportunities they want to pursue.
6. Eliminate bias—get the best qualified for the job.
When matching opportunities with people, eliminate bias by first leading with skills and experience.
7. Don’t wait for perfection.
You might never collect a perfect internal skills data set or get 100% employee involvement. Go ahead anyway. You’ll be building a flexible platform and tools to help you deal with future change while helping interested workers progress.
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