What are opportunity marketplaces and why do they matter?

Employee retention’s “silent killer” has finally met its match

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

Opportunity is more than a buzzword: it’s the deciding factor that determines whether your people will stay or go. Bad bosses aren’t driving the turnover tsunami, and neither are subpar paychecks. Ultimately, the main reason employees are resigning is because they want ownership of their professional development, and the internal opportunities that they’re being presented with are coming up short.

So what does it take to give your people what they’re looking for? Leaders need to step away from the status quo, retire outdated development models, and rethink how they value and invest in their workforce. And as strategies are being recalibrated, only one tool has the potential to enable businesses and employees to achieve their growth goals in tandem: the Opportunity Marketplace.

What is an Opportunity Marketplace?

To put it simply, Opportunity Marketplaces are digital platforms that match people to relevant projects, gigs, and full-time roles that mutually benefit employees and the businesses they work for. Opportunity Marketplaces are connecting skill with opportunity. They emerged as powerful tools for organizations affected by the pandemic, allowing them to manage real-time workforce supply and demand to increase agility and respond to unprecedented disruption.

With the new world of work fast approaching, Opportunity Marketplaces will once again play a crucial role. As employees search for choice and agency, the platforms enable businesses to step away from command-and-control leadership styles and put people at the helm of their own professional development.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Opportunity Marketplaces?

Opportunity Marketplaces provide businesses with several competitive advantages simultaneously. They can move faster and with greater agility, because leaders gain visibility into their workforce’s skills, interests, and capacity, so they can staff teams and pivot to respond to challenges in real-time.

An Opportunity Marketplace also enhances employee engagement, paving the way for improved productivity, higher retention rates, and superior bottom-lines. Employees are going to work harder and perform better when they’re excited about the opportunities that their organization has to offer, meaning the business will achieve better outcomes as a result.

And What About Employees?

Opportunity Marketplaces are more than just a win for businesses; they also offer major benefits to the employees taking advantage of them. When it comes to developing more flexible, value-oriented approaches to workforce management, most workers think their employers have a long way to go. Less than half of employees report that their company is making a significant contribution towards their professional development and only 34% are happy with their employer’s investment in improving their skills and performance, according to research by Deloitte and MIT.

Businesses that implement an Opportunity Marketplace give their workforce access to opportunities across their organization, enabling individuals to take ownership of their career development. Employees can learn new skills by taking on projects and gigs, receive guidance from a mentor within their organization, and uncover the competencies they’ll need to master to take their career to the next level.

How Are Enterprises Leveraging Opportunity Marketplaces Now?

Opportunity Marketplaces may be a relatively new development, but pioneering organizations are already harnessing them to increase agility and put their employees in the driver’s seat of their careers.

As one of the platform’s earliest adopters, Schneider Electric’s success demonstrates just how game-changing an Opportunity Marketplace can be. When internal surveys revealed that nearly half the employees who left the business did so because they felt they lacked sufficient visibility into growth opportunities, the global energy management company knew it was time to do something different. In addition to improving retention, Schneider Electric’s Opportunity Marketplace has enabled the enterprise to unlock more than 200,000 hours, creating a savings of over $15,000,000 in productivity gains and reduced recruitment costs.

Unilever, the leading multinational consumer goods enterprise, has reaped similarly impressive results after implementing their Opportunity Marketplace. Rather than looking at just one metric to measure success, the platform has had a myriad of impacts, as Patrick Hull, Unilever’s VP, Future of Work, explains. “There’s a productivity dividend, there’s an attrition dividend, and we’re reducing time to hire. So all of these commitments have both a business benefit and a social benefit, which is why this really felt like an idea that deserved our attention in the first place.”

What You Should Know About Choosing an Opportunity Marketplace

Maybe you’ve already identified global Opportunity Marketplaces as a platform with tremendous potential. You know your people are eager to gain more visibility into the projects, gigs, mentorships, and full-time roles within your organization, and you want to align their personal goals with your business priorities. So what happens next?

When it’s time to choose a solution, there are several factors to keep in mind. Most platforms are powered by AI, but not all automated options are created equally. Best-in-breed solutions go beyond skill-to-role mapping and instead take a multi-strategy approach to matching that allows your organization to grow organically, evolve at scale, and pivot when necessary.

Top-tier platforms will put your people at the center, providing a streamlined, consistent user experience that generates consumer app-level engagement and compelling employees to complete their user profiles. Superior vendors will also have a proven track record implementing platforms for large-scale enterprises with global workforces, ideally across many industries, countries, and languages.

What is the Difference Between an Opportunity Marketplace and a Talent Marketplace?

Here at Gloat, we call our platform the Talent Marketplace, but the terms are completely interchangeable. In fact, the story shared above from Schneider Electric is referenced as the primary case study in Deloitte’s research report on Opportunity Marketplaces. The thing that matters in your choice isn’t the name, but whether the platform you are choosing is proven to have real impact on your people and your business.

And What About AI Opportunity Marketplaces?

Another name that often gets added to the mix is AI Opportunity Marketplace. What’s the difference? Again not much, especially since most two-sided marketplaces are going to be powered by AI, since that’s how platforms can match people to opportunities in the first place.

That being said, the caliber of AI is definitely not the same across all platforms, which is why it’s so important to seek out solutions that include a multi-strategy approach to matching that will ensure that your people are paired with opportunities that are truly the best fit for their skills, experience, and professional ambitions.

Regardless of whether you call it an Opportunity Marketplace, an AI Opportunity Marketplace, or a Talent Marketplace, this user-friendly platform with sophisticated AI should be part of a bigger, multi-faceted approach to unlocking complete workforce agility. Here at Gloat, that starts with something we call Talent Agility, and it’s part of a larger suite that includes complementary offerings like Career Agility, Organizational Agility, and Hiring Agility.

After deploying our platform across 120 countries and partnering with visionary companies like Seagate, Standard Chartered Bank, Mastercard, and Nestlé, we know that complete workforce agility is something that every business can achieve. And Opportunity Marketplaces/Talent Marketplaces are where it all begins.

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