Many Global CHROs are reporting that they are facing serious issues around retaining skilled employees. On top of that, all of them have identified “talent” as their top priority especially now with more than 20 percent of the global workforce openly stating they are planning to leave their organizations. The time to reexamine Talent strategies is now.

Our Talents are our secret weapon

As HR leaders, we look like young Indian Jones looking for the Holy Grail that will solve all our problems when the solution is still in front of our eyes. In the last years, organizations are finding that investments in strong succession planning; career development, and re-upskilling to feed an internal talent pipeline are much less than the combined cost of recruiting and onboarding new employees (considering also the high percentage of new hires who are leaving in the first 12 months). So how can we leverage the potential of our internal employees? We have to switch focus from “fire-to-hire” and “quite leaving” to a strong culture of internal mobility based on an Agile Internal Talent Marketplace.

What is an Internal Talent Marketplace (ITM)?

Simply put, we can define the Internal Talent Marketplace (ITM) as a two-sided platform that harnesses the power of AI to align employees and their skills to new opportunities and it is expected to provide them access to gig work, mentorship, rotation programs, stretch and volunteering assignments and innovation and skill-building experiences that align with business needs. There’s no denying that implementing a talent marketplace is a major change and HR leaders need to deep dive into the pros and cons that this talent strategy can bring inside their companies.

What are the biggest benefits of an ITM?

Josh Bersin said that one of the biggest benefits of the talent marketplace is that it allows career growth to be everyone's responsibility, not just the manager's job. "It makes people aware of opportunities in the company and matches people to those opportunities; creates connections between project managers and people looking to work on projects; fosters professional development; facilitates teams to get more work done.". The Talent Marketplace can offer a range of different benefits to both organization and the employees, here are some of the key ones:             

1. breaking down silos, the traditional rigid hierarchies, and career paths are no longer valid in our fluid business contexts

2. unlocking agility, moving from a reactive to a proactive approach when we assess our talents and their capabilities

3. strategic upskilling and reskilling in which we take our Learning Portfolio to the next level by matching people to projects, gigs (short-term engagements that typically don’t involve a change in pay or job code), and mentorships that will provide the hands-on experience that was once lacking

4. bring a more diverse and inclusive approach removes bias from the equation and increases the visibilities of all our employees (not only the top potential ones)

5. increase engagement and retention support the development of our employees and open new opportunities that align with both their skills and ambitions as well as your business priorities.

Sounds like a no-brainer? Before reading this and jumping into an ITM without a second thought, we need to consider a few possible seatbacks that could impact the success of the ITM. 

6. One of the biggest barriers can be culture. Don’t present a talent marketplace just as another process in your HR toolbox. It has to be supported by Senior leaders and it should offer concrete opportunities to your employees.

“We can define the Internal Talent Marketplace (ITM) as a two-sided platform that harnesses the power of AI to align employees and their skills to new opportunities.”

We need to switch from the “old” career development approach in which a normal path is based on comments like “you’re an HR person” or “You are a stellar Sales guru” and with that, it’s hard to reinvent your career. How do we support cross-functional moves? Do we have training tools available to help people rapidly learn new roles?

1. To ensure that your Talent strategy is inclusive and considers all the talents in our companies, you need to tailor it to offer personalized opportunities that reflect the employees' desires and needs. For example, you have a top professional in accounting who after 10 years in the same role, she doesn’t want to change jobs, but she is not fully satisfied, how we can keep her engaged? In this case, we should have an open career conversation and listen to her desires and needs, to what is giving or draining her energy and map everything in her Talent Card. Maybe you will discover that she can be a great mentor for your junior talents, and you need to connect her to one of the mentoring opportunities available in your Marketplace.

2. Make opportunities to reflect on what your employees would like to explore. For many talents, more skills without more opportunities are insufficient. If our employees don’t value the opportunities we are offering — if those don’t speak to their passion, potential, and purpose, for example — they can and will likely leave. So, let’s continue listening to what our employees are sharing with us, and let’s ‘bring the outside in’ in the way of designing those opportunities.

What’s next?

When Unilever launched its Talent Marketplace in 2019, Jeroen Wels, Executive VP of HR, stated, “We believe that our people are much more than their job title. If our people thrive, we thrive as a business.”

As Talent experts, one of our biggest mission is to keep and develop our people and create new opportunities for them, instead of having them exit. It’s a simple win-win for the individual and us. Now, are you ready for this new challenge?