For a long time, workers at companies would stay in their position for years with little lateral or upward movement. If someone worked in a single department, they would likely remain there for years or decades until they retired. In the modern era, it's much less common to see someone plant themselves in a position, both due to changing demographics and the needs of businesses. Instead, it's becoming standard for workers to be in multiple roles throughout their career, either by changing companies or departments within the same company.
But, how does that work? How can one employee go from one department to the next, wearing unique figurative hats along the way? The best option is a talent marketplace (aka opportunity marketplace), and it can deliver exceptional worker satisfaction when implemented correctly. Don't worry if you've never heard of a talent marketplace before; that's where this article comes in. We'll discuss the various ins and outs of these marketplaces and how businesses of all sizes can use them to their advantage.
Broadly speaking, a talent marketplace is an internal network of jobs and opportunities for employees. The primary goal of a talent marketplace is to help develop employees' skills and talents, so they're more valuable to the company.
If you've ever searched for a job before, you're probably familiar with job boards that post listings from various companies. You can organize jobs based on different factors, such as skills required, experience level, and industry. This way, you can sort through the jobs that fit your abilities and interests the most.
A talent marketplace works very similarly, but instead of jobs from different companies, they're all from the same enterprise. Workers can log onto a marketplace platform and browse and apply to openings much like they would on a site like Monster or Indeed. The company creates these listings and opens them to qualified candidates. For example, perhaps the marketplace is only available for employees who have worked at least a year in their current position.
The great thing about a talent or opportunity marketplace is that it can be customized to suit a company's needs. Here is where having the right platform can make all the difference because it allows the business to facilitate a seamless transition from one position to the next. Conversely, if the marketplace is an assortment of listings from different sources, it can be virtually impossible to manage efficiently.
While the specific details of the talent marketplace can vary from one business to the next, most opportunities can be broken down into several categories:
In each case, the talent marketplace should allow workers to find opportunities based on their skills, interests, and aspirations. For example, perhaps someone in an entry-level position really likes planning parties, and there's an opening to coordinate the company's holiday party. Now, that employee can fulfill their interest while still providing value to the business. If all goes well, they may be the default event coordinator for all parties and events. Either the position can be on top of their current job or replace it altogether.
Posting jobs and fielding applications is only one aspect of a talent marketplace. Businesses also have to create a system for workers to move around between departments as necessary to fulfill various needs and positions. For example, if a manager leaves to work on a project off-site, who will handle their duties while they're away? Does the manager get a bonus or pay increase for this project? If so, how does that affect their salary or payroll processing?
The back-end logistics are just as, if not more important than posting openings and opportunities. Fortunately, technology and TM solution platforms like Structural make it easy to navigate and overcome these challenges. For example, by automatically building employee profiles, managers can move people around quickly and efficiently without leaving gaps. By investing in the right talent marketplace model, you can increase productivity without short-staffing any department.
As you might imagine, a talent marketplace can provide substantial advantages for both employees and businesses. So, let's break down the various benefits for each group.
Knowing the benefits is only the first step - now, how can a business take advantage of an internal opportunity marketplace? While the specifics can change from one company to the next, here are some tips and best practices to ensure success.
Although opening an opportunity marketplace can yield tangible benefits, you have to have goals and objectives in mind. Otherwise, it's hard for the marketplace to thrive, especially long term. Some examples of goals can include:
Overall, with each goal, you need to set measurable and quantifiable benchmarks. Otherwise, it's hard to know when you've reached your objective or how far away you still are. It's also crucial to know where you're at right now so you can determine how much improvement you can expect.
Fortunately, there are quite a few talent marketplace platforms that make it easier to connect workers with new opportunities. Sites like Gloat or Structural empower your business to take advantage of a mobile workforce without requiring too much investment or effort. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a marketplace program:
As we discussed earlier, what happens when workers move between departments? What if a sales manager moves into marketing to help with a project? Who will handle their duties until they return?
Typically, having a bird's-eye view of your company's workforce can help you make informed decisions about how to move and shift employees as necessary. Also, you should ensure that multiple people can handle the same tasks so that success doesn't just depend on one person.
Thankfully, technology enables you to create this internal network easily by entering individual details and getting snapshots of who can handle each task. This way, instead of trying to manage people manually and getting overwhelmed, the system empowers you to shift workers and encourages cross-training without leaving any substantial gaps.
Another advantage of high-tech talent mobility software is that it can facilitate communication between employees, managers, and executives. When everyone is on the same page, it's easy to have one person cover shifts as another moves to a different position, both temporarily and permanently. This clarity and transparency not only help your team move workers around as necessary, but it also builds trust among employees and supervisors, strengthening the network overall.
An opportunity marketplace only works if all qualified employees and managers participate. After all, what's the point of posting a diverse set of opportunities if no one will apply to fill them?
As a rule, you should start by educating managers and supervisors since they're the ones who can anticipate any issues or setbacks that may be created. Also, depending on your authority structure, employees may have to clear their applications with managers before interviewing for a new position. So, if these supervisors aren't aware of the openings, they may deny requests unwittingly.
Once all managers are up to speed, you should notify all employees of the marketplace, including any restrictions or qualifications. Fortunately, with the right talent marketplace system, you can filter these results automatically so everyone knows what's available without the potential for too much human error.
Finally, as openings become available, it's critical to send notifications through the platform instead of word-of-mouth. While telling workers directly might be more convenient, doing so could lead to inequitable opportunities or favoritism. Even if you have someone in mind for a position, you should go through the standard hiring and recruiting process to ensure equity and promote a culture of trust.
Building a talent marketplace platform is challenging, but the results are well worth the investment. Fortunately, Structural can work with you to develop a platform that suits your company's specific needs. Contact us today to find out more and to discover the options available.
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