Accelerating the time-to-value of a talent marketplace

Jeroen Wels and Jeff Schwartz share how talent leaders can fast-track the financial benefits of a talent marketplace

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By Austen Gregerson, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

The technologies companies implement are only as important as the value they bring, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that talent marketplaces are creating transformative value for the organizations putting their trust behind them. Whether it’s  Mastercard’s $21 million in savings created through unlocked productivity or Seagate’s $35 million ROI through savings in external recruiting, termination costs, and unlocked hours, forward-thinking organizations that adopted the platform early are already seeing positive impacts.

As economic circumstances become even more uncertain and unpredictable, the need to create value from within the company presses against equally-vital talent needs; a Forbes report shows that 90% of leaders are experimenting with skills-based strategies to meet both demands.

“Every company today needs to be a skill and a capability foundry,” Gloat VP of Insights and Impact Jeff Schwartz says. “We need to be creating an environment where we can learn and reskill and upskill very quickly, not just through training and development, but through developmental projects, through projects and gigs, through internal efforts, as well as giving people an opportunity to explore and find roles in the organization.”

Jeroen Wels, Founder of the People@Work Innovation Collective and former Chief Talent Officer of Unilever, joined Schwartz to discuss how business leaders can accelerate the time-to-value of a talent marketplace to not just drive skills transformation, but achieve the financial impact many businesses are looking for.

How talent marketplaces create value for organizations

The first fundamental difference between a talent marketplace and other HR tools is their intrinsic design principle. While many HR tools were created to avoid costs, talent marketplaces function to build direct value through their transformative nature.

“What’s fundamentally different about things like reducing turnover dramatically, increasing retention, upskilling and reskilling in real-time, and getting the new work done that needs to be done, is that these are not cost-avoidance benefits. These are value-contribution benefits,” Schwartz explains. “We can get new work done, we can move employees with knowledge of our company into new areas and new projects that need to be done. Most of the historical business cases for HR systems or cost avoidance business cases; this is about value creation.”

A talent marketplace can both power the investment of future skills development that an organization needs while also helping leaders make more-informed decisions based on real-time skills information otherwise impossible to leverage.

Talent marketplaces: talent enablers and value creators

Though it also plays into the mindset adjustment companies must make, one of the key differentiators between talent marketplaces and other pieces of HR tech is its utility: it’s an offensive play. Where many HR tools have been used as a way to make existing systems more efficient, talent marketplaces can create value through faster staffing of projects, reducing external hiring costs, and enabling greater L&D efforts.

“Systems that we’ve seen being implemented in the past have delivered massive efficiency. But in a way, it’s a bit of a defensive play,” Wels says. “You need to constantly reduce your cost. You’re leveraging scale so that you can invest your money as much as possible. There where you can grow with a talent marketplace. It’s one of the few technologies where you can help people to transform. So it’s an offensive play;  you help people to navigate their careers, navigate what they need to upskill and re-skill themselves to be ready for the future.

“You are inherently adding value to someone who’s working in your organization. I don’t know how systems of record can deliver that, because that’s much more focused on having the right process, having the right governance, having the right data privacy measures in place, and with a talent marketplace, that’s all there.”

The workforce data generated through talent marketplaces and the workforce intelligence that power many platforms is not just from the information alone. Data, organized in a central platform, allows talent leaders to craft savvier talent strategies based on both their organization’s skills needs and how they compare to their industry at large.

Unlocking organizational value by transforming company mindsets

Just as important as implementing a talent marketplace is creating institutional buy-in for the system, often becoming the main reason for delays in seeing the value creation of a talent marketplace. Hesitancy among managers and leaders can slow adoption rates if it’s allowed to spread, so creating positive momentum for the talent marketplace requires a targeted platform rollout to bring evidence to the rest of the organization.

When implementing a talent marketplace, Wels gives the following advice: look to those who are ready for change, then bring the evidence to the skeptics.

“When you want to tell stories to a team leader, find those 10 stories that are super compelling; that’s the most important thing to do when you think about your change management effort,” Wels says. “And then once you’ve got 10 successful stories—which you will have in the first three months, if you have carefully selected fertile ground for a talent marketplace—make sure you replicate those stories in other units as you go. Highlight a few that the CEO can talk about in one of the town halls, and then you’ll have convinced people to also give it a try.”

4 tips to build company-wide talent marketplace support

Every organization will have a unique set of challenges along its talent marketplace journey.  But to avoid any unnecessary delays in realizing its value, gaining support among stakeholders is critical.

#1. Define the platform’s purpose

Clarifying the scope of implementation can clear any early confusion and help workers understand how their efforts will be rewarded, further incentivizing adoption. Talent marketplaces are inherently employee-centric platforms, empowering workers to develop the skills they value while maintaining value for their organization in the future.

#2. Communicate the talent marketplace’s value

Beyond project and opportunity connections, talent marketplaces enable employees greater control of their career advancements and give talent leaders better insights into the skills spread throughout the organization.

#3. Assess and make adjustments in real time during the pilot program

By focusing efforts on a controlled, receptive sector of the business, talent leaders can see what’s working and adjust where improvements can be made before rolling out the platform to the organization at large.

#4. Understand your CEO’s mindset

Balance the messaging of your talent marketplace between the value it brings to employees with the value it brings to the company as a whole—just as a CEO must do. Know what your CEO is prioritizing from both a future skills perspective and a business perspective, and explain how the talent marketplace addresses both.

For more insights on how to realize the value of a talent marketplace faster, watch the full discussion now.

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