Internal Talent Marketplace: Is It The Future Of Talent Management?

The internal talent marketplace is a relatively new talent operating model which offers an innovative and flexible approach to talent acquisition, mobility and management. It is usually hosted on a technology platform which connects employees with opportunities both inside and outside the organization. It enables managers throughout the organization to post positions, temporary assignments, short-term and long-term part time projects and any other openings for which talent inside the organization is needed for. This talent model has the potential to change the way organizations look at their work, workforce and workplace, and could most probably be the future of talent management.

Strong internal mobility programs aided with talent marketplace technology helped companies that needed to restructure quickly to redeploy employees to meet changing business demands. Digital talent marketplace helped a huge company like Unilever to redeploy 4000 employees during the early months of the pandemic and hence utilize 300,000 extra productivity hours. The talent marketplace technology can help move people who have less work to do to areas where there is a greater need for manpower and optimize productivity of those employees. Talent marketplace technology has become more critical since the Covid-19 pandemic and the companies who did not have the technology are going to have to do it all manually which is quite a task and still may not be as effective.

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Future of talent management could be internal movement of manpower

Many companies are looking to reduce their recruitment budgets, which has made investing in employee development necessary. Companies have realized that using the talent they already have to full potential in projects, full time roles and mentorships gives them speed and agility to tackle ever changing business needs. More and more companies nowadays are bringing re-skilling into the flow of work to develop employee skills and redeploy the employees where business needs them most.

Experts are arguing that the internal talent marketplace is not just about internal recruiting or employee learning and development, it is a transformative innovation that will prove to be key in the future of talent management. They believe that the talent marketplace is bigger than human resources management. It will transform the business model from hierarchical, where people work their way to the top to being an agile and creative organization where people move from role to role and work on multiple projects.

There will be a shift from maintaining separate teams to upskilling and reskilling of employees. The employee careers will be much more dynamic in nature, taking them into various directions rather than like a ladder moving one step at a time. Talent marketplace helps leaders see skills in demand across the organization and the skill gaps that may need greater investment. It can also help leaders to decide how and where to mobilize internal talent to fill recurring gaps. 

Talent marketplace implementation

Talent marketplace is highly customized to each company’s workforce strategy and culture so the implementation requires continuous transformation and flexibility. So the companies should think about adopting an iterative design approach. The iterative design process should be dynamic and cover the four Ps; Purpose, Plan, Program and Platform. Each of these steps is important and should be repeated cyclically for successful implementation of the talent marketplace.

  • Purpose: There are three different strategies to marketplace implementation, which are talent deployment, talent mobility and management and the future of work model.  The purpose of talent deployment is enhancing business productivity and work management. The purpose of talent mobility is enhancing career mobility. The future of work model seeks to create greater value by combining talent, engagement, performance and productivity across work.

The majority of organizations are evolving their strategies along the process of implementation. For example, at The World Bank the internal marketplace was introduced for training and project work which eventually turned into a marketplace supporting diversity and employee engagement. Whether the organizations started from nothing or built on an informal marketplace, depended on whether the program was started in talent management or learning and development. The ones where it started in talent management focused first on talent deployment and the ones where it started in learning and development focused on talent mobility. 

  • Plan: What marketplace model will work best for an organization depends upon the organizational culture and the different management practices around moving talent. Organizations looking to implement a marketplace will have to focus on key principles to guide the transformation and engage managers. Some key principles are who can add or access roles or projects on the marketplace, what type of work to make available and how to break up work into projects.

Managers find it difficult to fractionalize work due to the role oriented mindset. For this, the talent acquisition department can play a major role in changing the role oriented mindset to a project oriented one. Fractionalizing work into components and finding experts to fulfill the work component instead of people filling a role will completely change the way work is done.

  • Program: The adoption of an internal talent marketplace is a significant initiative and takes a considerable amount of time and effort. For successful transformation, organizations should consider implementing an iterative change management program. It requires engaging managers which in turn require a relook at the company culture. Most companies that adopt an internal marketplace are underestimating the importance of implementing a change management policy and a re-engineering policy across talent management and learning and development. Companies should also adopt flexible talent mobility policies as existing policies around recruitment usually act as barriers for talent mobility.
  • Platform: Organizations should adopt or build a technological platform for their internal talent marketplace. Most companies only have a few tools to identify and move people to new internal roles. There are three approaches to re-platform their existing systems which are buy, build or adapt. All of these approaches involve use of artificial intelligence and integrated technology ecosystem for optimal benefits. 

Retention is the biggest benefit of internal mobility followed by accelerating new hire productivity and reducing time to hire. Increased engagement and lower costs are some of the other benefits of the internal marketplace.


  • Internal Marketplaces Are the Future of Talent Management | SHRM | Roy Maurer | April 16, 2021
  • Activating the internal talent marketplace | Deloitte | 18 September 2020

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