Why Your Enterprise Should Create an Internal Talent Marketplace

For a growing number of businesses, talent acquisition begins at home. An internal talent marketplace can help IT leaders find skilled individuals in their own organizations.

John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author

April 24, 2024

5 Min Read
Manager is checking off four workers in a virtual planning matrix to select them for a work team.
Leo Wolfert via Alamy Stock Photo

Internal talent marketplaces are intelligent platforms designed to connect employees with the career opportunities and resources necessary for professional growth. Powered by AI-matching algorithms, talent marketplaces allow managers to view candidates for specific job roles without the involvement of a recruiter. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 30% of large enterprises will have deployed a marketplace to optimize talent utilization and agility. 

A talent marketplace provides a mechanism to deploy the right talent, with the right skills to the right opportunities more quickly and effectively, observes Jeff Williamson, vice president, human resources, excellence and strategy at technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, in an email interview. "It creates visibility to opportunities for all employees and visibility into talent for leaders beyond their direct line of sight." 

Strategically, an internal talent marketplace is a way to empower employees to be in the driver’s seat of their career journey, says Gretchen Alarcon, senior vice president and general manager of employee workflows at software and cloud platform provider ServiceNow, via email. "Tactically, it's a platform driven by technology that uses AI to match existing talent to open roles or projects within the organization," she explains. "It provides a more transparent view of new opportunities for employees and identifies untapped employee potential based on skills rather than anecdotes." 

Related:IT Careers: Does Skills-Based Hiring Really Work?

Heading to Market 

A talent marketplace offers employees mobility and upskilling opportunities, Williamson says. The technology also helps organizations end their reliance on traditional, localized networks, which can make it challenging to find specific talent within the enterprise. "By focusing on promoting the work that needs to be done and using skills to describe what's needed to source internal talent for the work, it helps connect an organization's employees with leaders needing their expertise for the benefit of the organization." 

With an AI-powered platform, leaders can understand the skills they have and the skills they need and whether they should build, buy, or borrow to fill those gaps, Alarcon says. "By investing in the ongoing development of the workforce, and enabling internal mobility for employees, organizations can propel employee growth, retain their best people, and foster a more engaged and resilient team that's well-equipped to navigate the evolving business landscape." 

Getting Started 

Building an internal talent marketplace that employees and managers will actually use, takes time, perseverance, and collaboration across the company, including HR and IT, Alarcon says. "Bringing employees along on the journey is a critical first step, since they're the ultimate end-user." 

Related:IT Security Hiring Must Adapt to Skills Shortages

Williamson notes that it's important to build, refine, and map out a common skill-based taxonomy. Doing so ensures that managers are defining job skills in the same way talent is presenting their skills in their profiles. 

A talent marketplace is only as good as the information it contains, Williamson warns. "Organizations should emphasize to employees that it's in their interest to keep the skills and preferences in their profiles up to date," he says. Managers. meanwhile, need to define the exact critical skills needed to be successful in a particular job or role. "That information drives recommended opportunities for employees and increases their chances of being identified by project managers to fill roles." Williamson adds that it helps to initially focus on high volume, in-demand job profiles to ensure there's sufficient flexibility within the marketplace. 

Proceed with Caution 

There's a certain level of cultural transformation required to build and operate a talent marketplace. "For example, many managers are worried about losing their best resources in an open market, or are reluctant to trust recommendations and accept talent they don’t know personally," Williamson says. Employees may also be hesitant to openly seek reassignment, fearing that they may appear disloyal to their current managers and projects. "For the marketplace to be successful, both project managers and employees must be open to the idea and supportive of the benefits it will bring to both individuals and the organization." 

Related:AI and Hiring Quick Study

Several tasks must be discussed and managed in order to build a successful talent mobility program, says Victoria Myers, global head of talent attraction with software and services provider Amdocs. "It's important to have a clearly defined policy and process to support mobility," she says via email. This means that when an employee is eligible to transition roles and has been interviewed and selected for a new internal role, a notification should be immediately sent to the current manager. A clear timeline for the transition should also be established. "Such a clearly defined policy and process ensures that managers cannot stop the employee's mobility." 

Another challenge some enterprises face when creating an internal talent marketplace is resistance to change, Alarcon says. "To address this concern, organizations must continually ask for feedback from employees to avoid a lack of adoption later on." 

Finding Fulfillment 

When employees have access to a wide range of opportunities aligned with their skills and interests, they're more likely to find fulfillment in their jobs and, ultimately, their careers, Williamson observes. "Increased career satisfaction leads to greater productivity and engagement and encourages employees to stay within the marketplace, contributing to its overall stability and success," he says. "Ultimately, an efficient talent marketplace improves retention, individual and team performance, and the bottom line." 

About the Author(s)

John Edwards

Technology Journalist & Author

John Edwards is a veteran business technology journalist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and numerous business and technology publications, including Computerworld, CFO Magazine, IBM Data Management Magazine, RFID Journal, and Electronic Design. He has also written columns for The Economist's Business Intelligence Unit and PricewaterhouseCoopers' Communications Direct. John has authored several books on business technology topics. His work began appearing online as early as 1983. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he wrote daily news and feature articles for both the CompuServe and Prodigy online services. His "Behind the Screens" commentaries made him the world's first known professional blogger.

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