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What Is A Talent Marketplace, And Why Do You Need One?

There is plenty written about the ‘future of work’: the new needs and desires of our next generation of workers, the move to hybrid working models, and the evolution of Human Resources as a more strategic function.

As HR moves beyond ‘one and done’ activities (post a job, run a performance review, etc.), people are looking for a continual but consistent experience that allows them to work in the way they want.

Talent Marketplaces are a perfect representation of the future of work: a more transparent, agile approach to work, with smart technology that puts humans first.

What is a Talent Marketplace?

A Talent Marketplace is a system or platform within an organization that matches people with jobs. More specifically, employees can find and apply for gigs, projects, mentors, and full-time roles that match their interests. They can share their skills and aspirations, and the system will recommend opportunities that may be of interest, as they arise. Businesses can deploy and redeploy talent ‘on demand’: we’ve seen how Uber has done it for taxi rides and Airbnb did it for holiday rentals.

A good Talent Marketplace uses AI to bring together a deep understanding of the talent in the business, with the needs of the business, in real time. It handles the discovery, hiring, onboarding, and movement of people from role to role. It operates almost like an internal LinkedIn, with career management, networking and recruiting brought together.

The Talent Marketplace is a huge element of Talent Lifecycle Management: the idea that you can (and ought to) manage, operationalize and measure every stage of the talent lifecycle from one place.

It is also highly democratizing work, by offering a more transparent process for getting the right people into the right roles quickly. Employees can self-direct, with full visibility into the options they have.

It allows organizations to put employees and their skills at the heart of everything, which leads to better business outcomes.

The Rise of the Talent Marketplace

We will explore the benefits of introducing an agile Talent Marketplace below, but first it is worth outlining why it has become such an important part of a holistic talent strategy in recent years.

Firstly, the raging ‘war for talent’ means that companies are looking for new ways to retain their best people, and fill roles in quicker, smarter ways. 88% of business leaders told us that acquiring and retaining employees is more important to them now than it was 18 months ago. You cannot rely on old strategies to address new problems. 

Secondly, COVID-19 has accelerated a need for agility, and introduced a more hybrid approach to working that has changed the nature of recruitment. While companies are having to get comfortable with pivoting in times of global crisis, people are reassessing their priorities and voting with their feet when it comes to flexibility. Technology that helps HR move faster is crucial, as is a fresh approach to employee retention.

People are familiar with the idea that they no longer need to climb some sort of career ladder. The concepts of the ‘squiggly career’ and the ‘career jungle gym’ have been popularized by thought leaders; the FT told us in 2017 to plan for ‘5 careers in our lifetimes’. How do companies give their own people the range of roles that they expect?

At the same time as hiring and retention has become a bigger challenge globally, the gig economy has emerged. This means a new paradigm of short-term, project-based or task-based employment... and new strategies for getting the right person into open roles. 

Finally, but related to the points above, HR is becoming a more strategic partner to the business than ever before. Today, talent teams cannot solely focus on recruiting for open roles. They need to consider the multifaceted workforce of the future, the potential and the career of the human being behind the CV, to help their organizations survive and thrive. 

A good Talent Marketplace strategy unlocks the potential of your workforce and leads to greater agility, while offering solutions to issues of skills gaps, talent churn, engagement and DE&I targets. 

“Building a talent marketplace... is not just leveraging your ATS and your skills-based CRM to create a great experience for candidates, but it’s also going beyond those two systems to exploring talent intelligence platforms that can really encompass the employee experience, combined with that recruiting experience that we use in talent acquisition. And that means a one-stop shop for growth, recruiting, and learning, and skills-based approach and skills matching. On the employee side, it’s creating an employee profile where they can explore their skills, have access to career partners, which is a new role that has come out of this entire innovative thinking.” – Elin Thomasian

Benefits of a Talent Marketplace Strategy

Empower employees

A Talent Marketplace gives workers control over their own development journey, by providing intelligent recommendations based on stated goals, cognition style, work preferences and more. Your top performers are likely to be those most motivated to try new things and learn from different leaders, but baking these opportunities into static career models is a huge challenge.

With more control of their potential career paths, employees will feel more engaged: helping to boost retention, increase productivity, and improve the company culture.

Boost employee retention rates

In the fourth edition of our Talent Index survey, 51% of people told us they plan to leave their job in the next 12 months. The reasons? As well as desiring higher salaries and better perks, people were seeking out meaning, flexibility, and opportunities to develop.

But this survey also revealed that 54% of people who left a company, due to feeling unhappy or unfulfilled, have later regretted doing so. So there is a huge opportunity to retain people with a considered approach to internal mobility, and a Talent Marketplace where they can not only scope out work and learning opportunities, but be approached for gigs, projects and new roles.

Increase engagement & tenure

Related to the points above, a Talent Marketplace and smart internal mobility strategy helps boost morale. You can improve the culture inside the company by showing a clear commitment to supporting and developing all staff.

The optimum system is transparent and easily navigable, with all internal vacancies listed. Moreover, each employee will have a personalized career plan that indicates the ideal next step, whether for a new role or training opportunity.

Upskill and reskill employees

A thriving internal mobility strategy with a clever Talent Marketplace at the center helps you get the best from the people working in your company. New gigs and projects, experience of different teams, and a culture of mobility and progression will ensure more employees learn more, and continue to add to the knowledge base in your business.

As well as helping to break down organizational silos, people who move around will gain new ways of thinking, uncover useful cultural insights, and build helpful relationships, to make every person and team more efficient.

And there is an appetite for this amongst employees: 34% of those surveyed in the Talent Index have already taken on an internal project within their current company, and 37% say they are considering doing so. Of those who had done it or were interested in an internal gig, 36% said they would do so to learn new skills and 33% to challenge themselves in a different way. Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) told us it would encourage them to stay at their organization for longer.

Meet business goals

An AI-powered Talent Marketplace aligns employee skills to business priorities in real time. It’s important to note that these may be skills you (managers, HR teams, colleagues) were not aware of: the system can help fill crucial roles quickly by digging out hidden talent within your company.

As the world changes (and the pace of change accelerates), ‘business agility’ is high on the agenda. Redeploying talent as priorities shift is something successful businesses will need to be able to do.

Of course, every business is focused on ROI. A Talent Marketplace is designed to help you save money and time when it comes to hiring.  

Improve diversity

By digging out the hidden treasure in your business (with ethical AI), you can move beyond old-fashioned referral systems, where lookalike candidates are put forward for roles, towards a world where skills speak louder than reputations. Taking away much of the human intervention in talent mobility will likely deliver more diverse results.

If DE&I is a priority for your business, looking at your internal mobility strategy might be just as helpful as revisiting external hiring practices.

Get a holistic view of talent

A Talent Marketplace performs an additional useful function: visibility of what you currently have at your fingertips. For managers and HR teams, a Talent Marketplace will let you see and assess your total talent universe (this may include candidates and alumni as well as employees) in a fair, objective way.

Identify the skills that you need and the adjacent skills your candidates can learn: the win-win for businesses and staff.

Getting it right: Building a great Talent Marketplace

As we have said, a successful Talent Marketplace will bring together a deep understanding of the talent in the business, with the needs of the business, in real time. This understanding will be based on skills: on what people can do, want to do, and may be able to do in the future. A smart Talent Marketplace will gather and analyze this skills-based data dynamically, so the information is always up to date, and not affected by manager bias.

But true talent mobility is about more than just a platform: it needs to be part of a wider strategy that looks at talent holistically and allows businesses to make smart decisions across (and at every stage of) the talent lifecycle.

The right cultural conditions

If you want to enjoy the many benefits of talent on demand, as with any big technological transformation, your company needs to have the right mindset.

Alongside a Talent Marketplace, you will need to be ready to embrace a faster way of working when it comes to internal recruitment, new methods and tools for learning and development, and handing over some ‘responsibility’ for hiring decisions to a machine: ideally, a transparent and ethical AI-powered solution.

You will need to be prepared to remove departmental silos, and shift your focus from experience and qualifications to skills and potential. Rather than focus on (only) ‘high performing’ individuals and personal reputation, you will need to trust your technology to identify the right individuals for the task, based on insights that HR doesn’t even have.

Choosing the right Talent Marketplace partner

There are plenty of suppliers; you want a solution that comes from years of experience working with HR teams, recruiters and talent operations teams, and can therefore integrate with the other tools you use and is customizable based on your unique circumstances. Beamery offers all of this, as well as technology that humans love to use.

You also want to ensure your technology partner is using AI in a fair and transparent way (applying AI and other technologies to solve human challenges) and can offer rich analytics to help you understand, clearly, how your Talent Marketplace is performing. With help from Beamery, you will be well positioned to harness the potential of your workforce.

Learn more about how HR teams can win with Talent Marketplaces. And watch our webinar with Human Resource Executive on demand, to learn how to get the most out of your HR tech stack.