For a long time, workers at companies would stay in their position for years with little lateral or upward movement. If someone worked in a single department, they would likely remain there for years or decades until they retired. In the modern era, it's much less common to see someone plant themselves in a position, both due to changing demographics and the needs of businesses. Instead, it's becoming standard for workers to be in multiple roles throughout their career, either by changing companies or departments within the same company.
But, how does that work? How can one employee go from one department to the next, wearing unique figurative hats along the way? The best option is a talent marketplace (aka opportunity marketplace), and it can deliver exceptional worker satisfaction when implemented correctly. Don't worry if you've never heard of a talent marketplace before; that's where this article comes in. We'll discuss the various ins and outs of these marketplaces and how businesses of all sizes can use them to their advantage.
What is a Talent Marketplace?
Broadly speaking, a talent marketplace is an internal network of jobs and opportunities for employees. The primary goal of a talent marketplace is to help develop employees' skills and talents, so they're more valuable to the company.
If you've ever searched for a job before, you're probably familiar with job boards that post listings from various companies. You can organize jobs based on different factors, such as skills required, experience level, and industry. This way, you can sort through the jobs that fit your abilities and interests the most.
A talent marketplace works very similarly, but instead of jobs from different companies, they're all from the same enterprise. Workers can log onto a marketplace platform and browse and apply to openings much like they would on a site like Monster or Indeed. The company creates these listings and opens them to qualified candidates. For example, perhaps the marketplace is only available for employees who have worked at least a year in their current position.
How Does a Talent Marketplace Work?
The great thing about a talent or opportunity marketplace is that it can be customized to suit a company's needs. Here is where having the right platform can make all the difference because it allows the business to facilitate a seamless transition from one position to the next. Conversely, if the marketplace is an assortment of listings from different sources, it can be virtually impossible to manage efficiently.
While the specific details of the talent marketplace can vary from one business to the next, most opportunities can be broken down into several categories:
- Gigs and Stretch Projects - Companies start temporary time-sensitive projects all the time. In many cases, these projects require new skills that workers may not possess currently. So, during the opening phase of the stretch project, workers can learn new skills as they go, making them an integral part of the team's success.
- Job Openings - Maybe a senior employee is retiring, or perhaps someone left the company to work somewhere else. As a rule, internal recruitment is more beneficial than external because it's much easier for current employees to move into a different position than training someone brand-new. Also, promoting from within helps foster loyalty and community within the company.
- Mentoring Opportunities - Mentoring is a valuable process that can lead to long-term success for both workers and the business. A talent marketplace can connect mentors and mentees for specific projects or goals. For example, perhaps the company has an executive training program so that current execs can mentor up-and-coming managers.
- Learning Opportunities - The top workers are those that are eager to learn new skills and insights about different positions. A talent marketplace can discover informative elements like webinars or workshops and connect individuals with these educational programs. The programs can be related to a worker's current position or to one that they're interested in pursuing later.
In each case, the talent marketplace should allow workers to find opportunities based on their skills, interests, and aspirations. For example, perhaps someone in an entry-level position really likes planning parties, and there's an opening to coordinate the company's holiday party. Now, that employee can fulfill their interest while still providing value to the business. If all goes well, they may be the default event coordinator for all parties and events. Either the position can be on top of their current job or replace it altogether.
Posting jobs and fielding applications is only one aspect of a talent marketplace. Businesses also have to create a system for workers to move around between departments as necessary to fulfill various needs and positions. For example, if a manager leaves to work on a project off-site, who will handle their duties while they're away? Does the manager get a bonus or pay increase for this project? If so, how does that affect their salary or payroll processing?
The back-end logistics are just as, if not more important than posting openings and opportunities. Fortunately, technology and TM solution platforms like Structural make it easy to navigate and overcome these challenges. For example, by automatically building employee profiles, managers can move people around quickly and efficiently without leaving gaps. By investing in the right talent marketplace model, you can increase productivity without short-staffing any department.
What are the Benefits of a Talent Marketplace?
As you might imagine, a talent marketplace can provide substantial advantages for both employees and businesses. So, let's break down the various benefits for each group.
- Create a Multi-Talented Workforce - Gone are the days of one worker performing a specialized task all the time. We're far removed from the "factory" methods of yesteryear, so employees are expected to handle various duties within the same position. A talent marketplace allows a business to train its workers in a wide array of jobs, meaning they can move around as needed based on shifting demands. For example, what if a team gets sick and can't work for several days? With a mobile workforce, the business can pull talent from other departments to fill in until the team is back on track.
- Foster Loyalty and Long-Term Success - These days, employees want to feel appreciated and fulfilled. The old methods don't work partly because the modern world doesn't work that way but also because individuals want more meaning from their jobs. It's not enough to "punch a clock" and collect a paycheck anymore. So, an opportunity marketplace allows workers to develop their skills and try new positions that suit their interests and preferences. When employees are fulfilled, they're more likely to stay with a company. So, a business can create a resilient workforce that's more willing to put the needs of the business first.
- Reduce Turnover - High turnover rates can be a costly part of running any company because it takes time, energy, and resources to train new employees. Not only that, but steady turnover could lead to other problems like security breaches, especially if new hires are responsible for financial transactions or passwords. Since workers are often more satisfied with a talent marketplace, they're far less likely to quit and move on, thus saving the company time and money. You can learn more about retention strategies your employees will love here. If you're having a retention problem, an internal talent marketplace can bring solutions into view.
- Attract High-Talent Employees - Overall, a talent marketplace shows that a business is willing to invest in its workforce. This commitment to excellence is attractive to many top-tier employees, who may want to stretch their talents and expand their skillset. So, when top-level positions become available, the company can recruit excellent individuals who can bring a lot of outside value to the brand.
- Learn New Skills - Most modern workers want to learn different skills throughout their careers so they become more well-rounded individuals. An opportunity marketplace allows employees to discover new positions that may strike their interest. In some cases, a new role might be more fulfilling than their current one, leading to a career change. Ideally, if this happens, the worker can grow within that position and thrive in the same company.
- Find New Growth Opportunities - Many employees want to stay with a business for the long term as long as growth opportunities exist. Since these marketplaces offer promotions and higher-level positions, it's easier for workers to find a path forward.
- Find Fulfillment - No matter how passionate someone is about their job, working in the same position can get old after a while. In many cases, temporarily having workers fill a different position can help reinvigorate them when they return to their old job. So, if workers are feeling stuck or stagnant, applying to an internal opening can provide the change of pace they need to rediscover their purpose.
How Businesses Can Utilize a Talent Marketplace
Knowing the benefits is only the first step - now, how can a business take advantage of an internal opportunity marketplace? While the specifics can change from one company to the next, here are some tips and best practices to ensure success.
Identify Your Goals
Although opening an opportunity marketplace can yield tangible benefits, you have to have goals and objectives in mind. Otherwise, it's hard for the marketplace to thrive, especially long term. Some examples of goals can include:
- Cost Savings - Look at your current recruitment budget and estimate how much you can save by recruiting internally. On average, new hires can cost about 18 percent more than existing workers. That said, 18 percent may be a bit too lofty, so start smaller (i.e., five percent) and see how easy it is to reach.
- Growth - Because a talent marketplace can yield a mobile workforce, it's easier to implement projects to facilitate business growth and success. For example, perhaps you want to open new offices in different cities but haven't had the infrastructure to do so. To start, you can set a goal to open one new office in six months, then another in the next six months, etc.
- Operational Efficiency - As workers become more talented, they'll become more efficient and productive. It's crucial to set quantifiable goals to measure these improvements. For example, if a worker usually takes three hours to complete a project, you can set a new goal of 2.5 hours and see how easy it is to trim the excess time.
Overall, with each goal, you need to set measurable and quantifiable benchmarks. Otherwise, it's hard to know when you've reached your objective or how far away you still are. It's also crucial to know where you're at right now so you can determine how much improvement you can expect.
Find a Suitable Platform
Fortunately, there are quite a few talent marketplace platforms that make it easier to connect workers with new opportunities. Sites like Gloat or Structural empower your business to take advantage of a mobile workforce without requiring too much investment or effort. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a marketplace program:
- Onboarding Process - Some workers are adept at adopting new tech, while others may require more time and training. Be sure to determine the necessary time and effort to onboard all employees. It's imperative to allow everyone to participate in the marketplace so that they can all take advantage of the opportunities available. Otherwise, jobs may only go to a part of your workforce, defeating the purpose.
- Integrations - You already use various programs to make your business work, so you want a platform that can sync with the rest of your software. The more seamless the transition, the easier it is for workers to find and apply for new openings. You can also set the platform to notify employees of opportunities that may suit their talents or interests.
- Automated Profiles - You need to set various rules and conditions when setting up your talent marketplace. For example, perhaps workers have to create a profile with interests and skills to be matched with jobs more effectively. The best TM systems can pull data from various sources (business directories, social media, etc.) so the profile information is not left to the employee. Sophisticated programs like Structural can even gather data from scanned resumes and spreadsheets for even more seamless integration. Similarly, maybe jobs are only available to a specific talent pool, such as workers from a particular department. The platform needs to allow you to organize your postings so that unqualified candidates can't apply.
- Equitable Opportunities - Unfortunately, bias can affect internal recruitment as much as any other aspect of your business. For example, perhaps a hiring manager only vets employees they know personally, rather than fielding applications from all candidates. So, you want a platform that can remove as much bias as possible. With the right talent acquisition framework, the phrase "who you know" doesn't dictate one's career path.
Create a System for Talent Mobility
As we discussed earlier, what happens when workers move between departments? What if a sales manager moves into marketing to help with a project? Who will handle their duties until they return?
Typically, having a bird's-eye view of your company's workforce can help you make informed decisions about how to move and shift employees as necessary. Also, you should ensure that multiple people can handle the same tasks so that success doesn't just depend on one person.
Thankfully, technology enables you to create this internal network easily by entering individual details and getting snapshots of who can handle each task. This way, instead of trying to manage people manually and getting overwhelmed, the system empowers you to shift workers and encourages cross-training without leaving any substantial gaps.
Another advantage of high-tech talent mobility software is that it can facilitate communication between employees, managers, and executives. When everyone is on the same page, it's easy to have one person cover shifts as another moves to a different position, both temporarily and permanently. This clarity and transparency not only help your team move workers around as necessary, but it also builds trust among employees and supervisors, strengthening the network overall.
Facilitate Open Communication
An opportunity marketplace only works if all qualified employees and managers participate. After all, what's the point of posting a diverse set of opportunities if no one will apply to fill them?
As a rule, you should start by educating managers and supervisors since they're the ones who can anticipate any issues or setbacks that may be created. Also, depending on your authority structure, employees may have to clear their applications with managers before interviewing for a new position. So, if these supervisors aren't aware of the openings, they may deny requests unwittingly.
Once all managers are up to speed, you should notify all employees of the marketplace, including any restrictions or qualifications. Fortunately, with the right talent marketplace system, you can filter these results automatically so everyone knows what's available without the potential for too much human error.
Finally, as openings become available, it's critical to send notifications through the platform instead of word-of-mouth. While telling workers directly might be more convenient, doing so could lead to inequitable opportunities or favoritism. Even if you have someone in mind for a position, you should go through the standard hiring and recruiting process to ensure equity and promote a culture of trust.
Let Structural Help You Create a High-Functioning Talent Marketplace Platform
Building a talent marketplace platform is challenging, but the results are well worth the investment. Fortunately, Structural can work with you to develop a platform that suits your company's specific needs. Contact us today to find out more and to discover the options available.