8 Questions to ask when choosing a talent marketplace

How to select the right platform for your business needs

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

In the new world of work, talent marketplaces are no longer considered an emerging technology. Today’s business and HR leaders are vying to unlock agility and outpace the competition, and this doesn’t get done without a talent marketplace.

The two-sided platform has earned its reputation as a game-changer. Deloitte describes the talent marketplace as a platform that is “leading to wins at a time when organizations have to scale and flex their models to meet the needs of both the business and the workforce.” Similarly, Gartner identifies launching a talent marketplace as one of the three key focus areas to drive value in 2022.

While most businesses understand what the platforms have to offer, the same question often holds leaders back: “Are we ready for this?”. Although talent marketplaces are a disruptive technology, that doesn’t mean the barrier to entry is insurmountable. In fact, talent marketplaces are something every business can start using to their advantage quickly, assuming you choose the right technology provider. But what does it take to make that decision? And what questions should you ask along the way?

Understanding the rapid rise of the talent marketplace

The talent marketplace has come a long way in a short time. Back in 2019, Gartner gave the technology some early recognition, noting that platforms are “embryonic” but “…the benefit is potentially transformational, enabling tomorrow’s more lean, agile, and adaptive organizations.”

So how did talent marketplaces go from fledgling technology to one of the top investments to drive value in just a few years? Shortly after Gartner’s early talent marketplace mention, the onset of COVID-19 turned agility into a do-or-die factor. Suddenly, every organization needed to shift gears and pivot to respond to pandemic-induced disruptions. And it was the businesses that could rapidly reallocate talent and efficiently align people to opportunities that came out on top.

Today’s turnover crisis is further cementing talent marketplaces as a business necessity. Since the Great Resignation is fueled by employees’ search for meaningful opportunities, internal mobility is now non-negotiable.

And it’s something that talent marketplaces can radically transform, as our own community demonstrates. As Patricia Frost, Chief Human Resources Officer at Seagate, explains, “We haven’t seen the Great Resignation at Seagate. The game-changer for us is this journey we’ve been on with Gloat. Employees have their careers in their hands and they can see vertical and lateral movement possibilities.”

8 Questions to help you choose the right talent marketplace

The rise of the talent marketplace is great news. As the technology becomes commonplace, more businesses will be able to democratize careers and start unlocking the agility needed to thrive in their next chapter.

But it also means that choosing the right platform is now a high-stakes decision. Since this technology is designed for your entire organization to use, there are a lot of factors to weigh. If you’re looking to make a selection with confidence, here are the questions you’ll need to answer:

#1. Is the platform scalable?
There’s a big difference between a technology that works for one business function or team versus a platform that can be rolled out to your entire organization. Talent marketplaces are designed to unlock agility and democratize opportunities, and in order to achieve that, you need to ensure that your entire workforce can take advantage of whatever platform you choose.

While some vendors can name-drop businesses that they’ve started working with, very few can point to enterprises that have rolled out their talent marketplace to their entire workforce. So don’t shy away from asking potential providers if they have experience introducing their solution to thousands of employees. Take it a step further by scrolling social media to see if any of the leaders at the brands they’re working with have posted about their platform’s success. And add bonus points for talent marketplace options that are mobile accessible.

#2. Have other companies implemented it successfully?
Since talent marketplaces are still relatively new technology, many providers haven’t actually launched their solutions to customers just yet. They might have an exciting roadmap, but they could lack the case studies and real-life examples needed to back up their claims. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a vendor with an active community of customer advocates who can speak to the impact their platform is having.

#3. What is the product built to do?
Every talent marketplace is designed a little differently. Some are purpose-built to match people to opportunities, while others were created for another function and then adapted in an effort to meet rising demand.

Although it might sound like you’re splitting hairs, your platform’s core functionality will make or break its success. You want to make sure you’re choosing an AI-powered platform that aligns supply and demand, rather than another technology masquerading as a talent marketplace in an attempt to capitalize on its potential.

#4. What kinds of internal opportunities will users be able to access?
Some platforms limit the scope of opportunities available to your workforce to full-time roles. However, if you want to reap the full benefits of the technology, projects, gigs, mentorships, and temporary roles also need to be part of the equation.

A range of opportunities will become increasingly important as workforce pixelation gains momentum, causing work to get unboxed from jobs. To maximize your workforce’s ability to access all types of opportunities, you should ensure open integration is possible so that employees across your organization can take advantage of what a talent marketplace has to offer.

#5. Are change enablement and implementation help included?
If you’re thinking about talent marketplaces as the 2.0 version of your human capital management platform, it’s time to think again. They’re an entirely different category of technology, and launching one comes with some inevitable disruption.

As Schneider Electric’s VP of Digital Talent Transformation, Jean Pelletier, explains, “It’s a complete rewrite of HR. You need to think differently about speed and how you go deep and broad in an organization using AI. Gloat’s talent marketplace is an absolute game-changer.” Consequently, every business will benefit from customer support and change enablement specialists who ensure you’re making the most of the technology from day one.

#6. What kinds of users is the talent marketplace designed for?
Unlike many other talent management platforms, talent marketplaces are for everyone. They’re meant to be used by your most junior new hires, your senior executives, and all the employees in between. If the talent marketplace you’re considering is built solely for recruiters, or if it lacks an intuitive design, it might be time to start weighing other options.

#7. What does it take to get started?
If you want to set apart your business as a leader in the new world of work, you need to start outpacing the competition today. That means you don’t have time to waste collecting years of skills data, implementing other products, or reworking your job architecture. So if a vendor asks you do to any of the above, it’s a sign that they’re not the provider for you. The best talent marketplaces can be implemented in a matter of weeks so that you’re not wasting precious time to see the impact of your investment.

#8. Is their AI ethical?
One of the most exciting benefits of the talent marketplace is the platform’s ability to mitigate bias and improve equity and inclusivity efforts. However, your platform will only be able to level the playing field if it’s powered by ethically-constructed AI.

Search for a solution that has multiple safeties built-in to ensure insights, suggestions, matches, and recommendations are unhindered by systemic bias. And don’t forget to look for tools and dedicated datasets that your company’s Diversity Officers can harness to ensure no one is being overlooked or underrepresented.

Now that talent marketplaces have secured their status as a business necessity, every organization is looking to implement a platform that will help set them apart from the pack.

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