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Unlocking Inclusion With a Talent Marketplace

September 16, 2022 Talent Management
Annette Corbett
By Annette Corbett

McKinsey Talks Talent discussed the concept of a talent marketplace — and why it matters — in its April podcast episode "Stave off attrition with an internal talent marketplace."

McKinsey leader, Emily Field, explained:

"A digital talent marketplace reveals who within your organization wants new opportunities — it’s about identifying talent, their skills, and their openness to take on new roles. Interestingly, while people are switching jobs right now, we’re hearing that upward of 80% of those people want growth and new opportunities."

Based on this forecast, a post-pandemic professional utopia is more about self-development and personal fulfillment than being miffed at an organization’s hybrid working arrangements (as some narratives around the "great resignation" suggest) and a talent marketplace sounds theoretically like a win-win.

When Talent Marketplaces Meet Inclusion Initiatives

Writing for TechTarget, Carolyn Heinze described a talent marketplace as a process of connecting internal candidates with hiring managers and vice versa.

The skills and interests of the employee are added to the marketplace and potential roles are suggested for them based on that data (think Tinder, but with greater talent and quality outcomes).

Heinze quotes Ina Gantcheva, human capital principal at Deloitte, who believes a talent marketplace harnesses “the potential for professional development, enhances the overall employee experience, creates a reduction in skills gaps and increases retention.”

Perhaps most exciting is the potential synthesis with inclusion initiatives (more on that below). But, as with any brilliant idea, let's acknowledge the inevitable flipside: The curmudgeonly manager (we've all known at least one) who isn't invested in their team's well-being, progression or development and is loathe to lose star players to fanciful ambitions (also known as "talent hoarding").

Heinze's article includes several solutions — I would suggest adding anonymity into the mix. Employees would then be considered for roles without any internal associations, bias against upsetting a particular manager, disruption of an ongoing project or any other preconceptions.

There is also potential to address ageism, as well as other isms. As inclusivity goes, age-related bias isn't well spotlighted, but it's gathering momentum with the traditional model of retiring at 60 or 65 no longer an appealing (or viable) option for those at the "fine wine" end of the scale.

Related Article: Hiring Managers: Here's One Secret for Winning the War for Talent

You Can't Rush Knowledge and Expertise

In an otherwise pointless report on "Understanding Older Workers," the CIPD offers up some interesting insights about career progression and training opportunities for the more mature employee, with the lowest rates of "on the job training" for those aged 55-69. (What they were thinking with the title is another matter — HR Exec: "has anyone seen the manual for relating to older workers, I'm joining an appraisal of one later this afternoon ...")

I believe HBR says it best in its article "The Case for Hiring Older Workers" with this perception challenging statement:

"The scientific evidence on this issue shows differently: For most people, raw mental horsepower declines after the age of 30, but knowledge and expertise — the main predictors of job performance — keep increasing even beyond the age of 80. There is also ample evidence to assume that traits like drive and curiosity are catalysts for new skill acquisition, even during late adulthood. When it comes to learning new things, there is just no age limit, and the more intellectually engaged people remain when they are older, the more they will contribute to the labour market."

Over on the B side, employees who have cultivated significant industry expertise and are looking to wind down their careers could offer great insights into any skills gaps they have identified as part of their role and help develop the scope of existing roles for predecessors. This "lived experience" will ensure a robust succession planning model that is so pivotal to the employee experience.

I'd be hugely interested to see the stats around talent marketplace engagement and how many employees were considered for roles they would not normally be frontrunners for, based on their anonymous registrations. But the potential to counteract exclusion with this approach is limitless if the internal politics around talent hoarding can be successfully navigated.

About the Author

I have delivered knowledge related content and internal communications (often based on transformation initiatives) applying content design principles — in particular, GDS — and UX writing to provide a relevant, informed, and positive user experience for external and internal audiences. My background includes product management and I'm a keen advocate of “clean digital” practices — to minimize our carbon footprint and promote sustainability — across intranet and content channels.


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