What Is talent agility, and why is it critical for your business?

Talent agility is a critical function your enterprise must have. But what makes it so crucial, and how can you ensure you're providing your employees with what they need to achieve it?


By Adam Etzion, HR Analyst @ Gloat

March 1, 2021

talent agility

In the tumultuous world we live in, an organization’s ability to quickly react to unforeseen change is of the utmost importance. But unforeseen change is a fickle thing; by definition, it’s unpredictable – so while saying that companies should plan for the unplannable is true, it’s easier said than done.

Then, there’s the question of what “quickly reacting” even means; companies are made up of people, after all – so who is going to be doing the reacting, and what might influence their ability to do so at speed and at scale?

To answer these questions, we need to turn to organizational structure – and, more specifically, to how it can bring out the best in people in the service of the organization’s needs.


When we talk about futureproofing a company, what we really mean is that we want to futureproof its workforce. Sure, it might also mean investing in hardware and infrastructure that will allow the company to expand, but that expansion won’t happen in a void. It will always have a different context than the one the company operates in at present, and to parse that context and understand how it needs to be addressed and leveraged, the company will need to be able to find the right people at the right time

People who already know what the company is working with, where its strengths and weaknesses are – at every scale – and what it’s capable of doing to make the most out of a given situation.

And just like hardware and infrastructure, workforces need regular upkeep and maintenance.

Traditionally, this comes in the form of corporate mentoring, reskilling and upskilling programs, career pathing and job rotation, all of which allow employees to stay up to date on the latest, most relevant skills, and keep the big picture in mind.

But all of these efforts rely on silos and pre-determined job architecture – the very things which unforeseen change undermines!

So while they may help the company when things are going as planned, when a quick pivot is needed, an agile workforce is required – not new recruits – to meet the new challenges head on in the best way possible.

Agility, at Scale

Talent agility means that employees can anticipate and respond to changes on their own, and have the ability to innovate and react to unforeseen circumstances.

That may mean external changes imposed by the market, but more often than not, especially in large enterprises, it also means responding to organizational changes brought on by decision makers within the company as well.

An example of an external change may be a new industry standard employees must learn to adhere to, while an internal change may mean applying existing skills to a new task, as the needs of the company dictate.

A workforce that’s agile is a workforce that is capable of meeting these changes with minimal resistance, and that can actually leverage them as new opportunities, rather than as obstacles to be overcome.

So how can companies create that kind of talent agility?

It comes down to creating a new operating system for work.

Internal Mobility

To meet new challenges head on is a skill in and of itself – and to help employees develop it, companies need to foster an environment in which change and mobility are a regular part of employees’ routines. 

When a workforce is used to moving fluidly around the organization, tackling different assignments as required, a new level of flexibility and agility is attained, which creates an organization that’s more resilient overall, as well as employees that understand and are able to respond to changes more quickly and efficiently.

How can you create that kind of movement within your organization?

The answer is simple: The Talent Marketplace.

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The Talent Marketplace allows employees to tackle new assignments and career opportunities in alignment with both their own ambitions and career aspirations, as well as with the company’s needs. Employee ambition therefore becomes the driving force behind the continual mobility of talent within the organization, which, in turn, contributes to the workforce’s resilience and agility.

Having a talent marketplace does more than enable employees to progress in their careers at an unprecedented pace; it contributes to the company’s ability to survive.

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