How to navigate banking turmoil with a talent marketplace

Lessons from Mastercard, Seagate, and Schneider Electric on investing in skills frameworks

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By Austen Gregerson, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

Business leaders came into 2023 looking for a respite from the years of upheaval. If the beginning of the year is any indication, resting on its laurels is a luxury no organization can afford.

In March, banking collapses at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank sent shockwaves through the financial sector and left businesses wondering what domino would be the next to fall. Though some stability has arrived through acquisitions and government support, new banking regulations may also come as a result, making the path forward even more uncertain for organizations looking to outpace the competition through understanding the future that lies ahead.

In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing business landscape, economic uncertainty is a common occurrence. With the threat of recession, industry disruption, and talent shortages, businesses are looking for innovative ways to navigate these challenges and stay competitive. One solution that’s gaining popularity is the use of internal talent marketplaces. While many companies use times of uncertainty to pull inwards and wait for circumstances to stabilize, the challenges present before SVB’s collapse are still here—and may become even more important to address as volatility mounts across industries.

A talent marketplace won’t make a bank solvent, but the platforms are the action talent leaders can take to address skills challenges and prepare their organizations for additional uncertainty. By creating an agile and flexible workforce, businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions, reduce recruitment costs, and retain their top talent.

How talent leaders can address uncertainty through organizational agility

With 80% of HR leaders reporting a talent shortage in a recent Gloat survey, leaders simply do not have the time to stand still. If economic circumstances worsen, some companies may be forced to consider layoffs and other staffing reductions—putting skill gaps at risk of widening at a critical time, exacerbating a problem that has only grown with changing business priorities.

Economic uncertainty shows no signs of slowing. This leads to an uncertain list of priorities for businesses moving forward, including shifting customer demands, further industry disruptions, and more volatility in the banking sector. As a result, talent leaders need to take steps to develop their organization’s resilience n and their ability to pivot when circumstances demand.

One of the most proven ways that talent leaders can prepare for economic uncertainty is by investing in skills development. By providing training and development opportunities for their employees, talent leaders can help to ensure that their workforce has the skills necessary to meet changing business demands. This could include upskilling employees in emerging technologies, providing cross-functional training to increase knowledge sharing, or allowing talent to go outside of the confines of their role to participate in gigs or projects that appeal to both their skills and personal career ambitions.

In addition to skills development, talent leaders need to focus on building organizational agility. As organizational silos once gave companies predictable structure, a landscape defined by unpredictability requires organizations to restructure themselves to respond in kind. These kinds of structures are proven to create value for organizations, with a McKinsey study showing that highly successful agile transformations typically deliver roughly 30% gains in efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational performance.

How 3 companies used a talent marketplace to pivot during disruption

Past times of economic uncertainty have led many companies to take a wait-and-see approach. However, forward-thinking organizations used the tumult as an opportunity to revitalize their strategies, giving them the flexibility to adapt to wherever the future of work takes us. In deciding to transform their structures by implementing a talent marketplace, they are simultaneously investing in the skills needed for the future of work.


The onset of COVID-19 drove Mastercard to consider how it could use the totality of its workforce to address both its customer needs and shifting business priorities. Project Possible, its first attempt at creating more agile ways of work, showed Mastercard how much of an appetite for flexible assignments existed in the workforce. Though slowed through manual processes, the spirit of its workforce was undeniable and sparked a fervor for even greater organizational transformation.

Project Possible’s early success shed light on a much larger opportunity to build on the strength of Mastercard’s culture. After manually matching employees to opportunities during the spring of 2020, Mastercard decided to scale up its initiative so that every employee could take part in it.

Their current AI-powered talent marketplace, Unlocked, has helped the company create $21 million in savings through unleashed productivity and greater agility throughout the organization. With more than 75% of its workforce currently on the platform, Mastercard is set up to respond to trends in real-time.

Especially in the financial sector, staying current on emerging markets is vital to the company’s priorities. When the organization decided to focus on cryptocurrency and NFTs, they tapped into the platform to help subject matter experts share key information.

Heather Yurko, Mastercard’s Vice President of Digital Talent, explains the rollout: “There was a project created to build an NFT community and to ask someone to be a facilitator and to bring this community together to share information about cryptocurrency, NFTs, and some of the latest trends we’re seeing. Having that built really helped bring people together in a new and different way to learn as a community.”

Schneider Electric

With more than 50% of exiting employees citing a lack of growth opportunities as a primary reason for leaving the company, talent leaders at Schneider Electric wanted to empower their workers with the opportunities they were asking for. Much like many organizations today risk exacerbating skill gaps through potential layoffs amid economic uncertainty, Schneider Electric saw the departures as a risk to put the company behind its competitors as skills needs evolve.

Open Talent Market was their answer to the growing need for increased visibility into internal opportunities, empowering workers to have greater control of their career development, and unlocking gig and project work across the organization. The results were undeniable: more than $15 million in savings were generated through enhanced productivity and reduced recruiting expenses, unlocking more than 360,000 hours of productivity and engaging employees like never before.


At the onset of  COVID-19, Seagate had to pivot to hybrid work, adjust to changes in consumer demand, and shift operations to fit an uncertain landscape. The leading data storage solutions provider launched a large-scale talent redeployment to better position its talent to address these new priorities, and through the implementation of a talent marketplace, paving the way to create savings of more than $33 million by making talent strategies more efficient.

Patricia Frost, Chief Human Resources Officer at Seagate, explains that the turmoil made leaders understand that “… we needed to lift and shift our resources to a new area of business to grow. We weren’t going to lay anyone off or reduce the workforce. Instead, we decided to grow new operations from within.”

On top of the financial benefits, its talent marketplace, Career Discovery, has proven to be effective in empowering its employees. The percentage of employees who have registered on the platform approached 90% within the first 45 days of launch, with 91% of employees now counted as registered users on the platform.

Creating a workforce built for the uncertainties of tomorrow

The lesson for talent leaders trying to find a way forward through economic volatility is that transformation doesn’t require stability to take shape. Moments of uncertainty in the past have been the fulcrum for change before, using the opportunity to rethink what matters most to the long-term health of an organization and its workforce.

As the economic landscape continues to look uncertain, learn how transforming your foundational work structures can prepare your business—and your people—for whatever challenges come next.

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