What is a talent marketplace and why do employees need it?

March 17, 2022 - 17 min read

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What is a talent marketplace?

How do talent marketplaces function?

9 benefits of a talent marketplace

5 top talent marketplace platforms

5 tips for an effective talent marketplace

Technology has transformed how we live, work, and play. It’s evolved with us, alongside us. It’s become so embedded in our daily lives, we’re not able to live without it. 

Employees are used to instant results and gratification. When they need to order lunch for the day, a few taps can bring a salad right to their doorstep. 

If they need a ride to the airport, a car can find them just about anywhere — without ever having to dial a number. When it comes to the workplace, it’s no different. So why can’t the same be said for career mobility or learning opportunities

Enter: the talent marketplace. 

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average tenure for an employee was 4.1 years. And while the Great Resignation seems to be slowing down, one thing still remains true. Employees want — and need — growth opportunities. And with frictional unemployment on the rise, growth opportunities is more important than ever. 

With an internal talent marketplace, organizations can retain their top talent. To put it simply, it’s an opportunity to promote internal mobility within your organization. If employees are already looking for their next big move, why couldn’t it be within your own company? 

What is a talent marketplace?

Before we get into why a talent marketplace exists, let’s understand what it means. 

With a talent marketplace, companies can fulfill their needs with employees who are hungry to grow and learn. Employees benefit because they can pursue their passions, upskill, and grow as professionals. When the opportunities the company offers and employee needs match up, both parties benefit. 

Josh Bersin, HR industry leader and BetterUp Science Board Advisor, shared what it means to create a talent marketplace in your organization.

“I believe the talent marketplace as a platform, is really the future of talent management. Everything we do to manage people eventually falls into this system.”

Josh Bersin, HR industry leader and BetterUp Science Board Advisor  

How do talent marketplaces function?

Talent marketplaces can function in a few different ways. It depends on a few factors. 

The types of tools and software a company uses can play a large role. Your leaders and their philosophy around talent development and talent management can be a factor. 

The size of your company, the number of employees, and the growth opportunities. The learning and professional development offerings, how managers approach attrition, and personal development. 

These all influence the way talent marketplaces can function in any organization. 

But at its heart, A talent marketplace marries employees’ skills, and passions with learning opportunities.

I had a friend who leveraged her company’s talent marketplace. She worked in facilities management but when the pandemic hit, her job drastically changed. She didn’t have the same day-to-day as she did prior to COVID-19. 

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But she had a deep passion for employee well-being. As an avid runner and athletic coach, she had often volunteered to bring well-being programs to her company’s employees. She wondered if there was a way to build and develop this skill set, especially while all offices are closed. 

She looked at her organization’s talent marketplace and found a gig opportunity posted by another team with another manager. With her manager’s support, she decided to allocate 40% of her time to this new gig. She still helped with her facilities management position but she was able to pivot into the well-being space. 

She learned the ins and outs of event planning, especially in a virtual environment. She learned how to engage employees and what it looks like to create an exceptional employee experience. And, most importantly, she was able to pursue her career aspirations while also fulfilling the needs of her company. And eventually, she moved into a full-time role focused on well-being. 

All of this happened because she logged into her company’s talent marketplace and saw an open opportunity. And she decided to go for it. 

Take a minute to reflect on what opportunities and potential could be in store for your company. How could you unlock opportunities and develop your workforce? How can you close the skills gap with a talent marketplace system? 

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9 benefits of a talent marketplace

A talent marketplace benefits both employees and businesses. Let’s break down why it’s so beneficial to both employees and employers. 

"When employees and their skills are aligned to projects and initiatives, they see more potential in their roles. The result? Employees can pivot faster and feel freer to share their expertise, enabling more cross-functional collaboration. They recognize there are opportunities within their org where they can grow by aligning their skills and ambitions."

 Lois Melkonian, BetterUp Fellow Coach 

5 ways talent marketplaces benefit businesses 

As an employer, it’s beneficial to your business to have a talent marketplace. Here are five reasons why a talent marketplace is crucial to building your employer value proposition (EVP). 

  • Increases employee engagement. Employees are engaged when they’re happy with their jobs, connected to their work, growing, learning, and developing. 
  • Fulfills immediate and long-term business needs. Every business operates with staffing holes. A talent marketplace can alleviate some of that tension and fulfill both short and long-term business needs. 
  • Creates learning opportunities for growth and development. Some employers struggle with putting together formal learning programs. With a talent marketplace, your company can promote learning and organizational development while also empowering learning among your employees. 
  • Builds high-performing teams with a high-performance culture. New skills and opportunities only mean your employees get better and better at their jobs. Talent marketplaces promote high-performance teams and, in turn, culture. 

4 ways talent marketplaces benefit employees

As an employee, your people will also benefit. Talent marketplaces serve employees in these four ways.

  • Promotes learning and career development. With employees hungry to build their careers, a talent marketplace serves as a learning program. 

  • Allows employees to pursue their passions and develop new skills. At BetterUp, we’re driven by the mission to help everyone live with more purpose, clarity, and passion. It’s important to allow employees to pursue their career aspirations and passions. It can help them find their purpose, learn new skills, and ultimately unlock their full human potential
  • Improves job satisfaction. Employees aren’t sticking around in their jobs for very long anymore, especially after the pandemic. Employees are happy when they’re learning, growing, and taking on new challenges in their job. By offering a talent marketplace, you can increase your employees’ job satisfaction
  • Improves the employee experience. A good employee experience hinges on personal and professional development. You can help create an experience where employees want to continue to contribute, make an impact, and grow their careers.

    You’re allowing the employee to be in the driver's seat of their careers, and that’s an incredible attribute of a good employee experience. 

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5 top talent marketplace platforms

While we’re big fans of learning and career development, we’re not experts in talent marketplace platforms. Your human resources team will have some good insight into what platforms will work. You could also solicit recommendations from your network, like with a simple LinkedIn post. 

While we’re not human resources software pros, we looked to some experts for their recommendations on talent marketplace platforms. The following platforms, presented in no order, drew strong recommendations. (Note: Descriptions are drawn from company-provided information. All platforms note some use of artificial intelligence AI. Appearance in this list does not constitute an endorsement by BetterUp.)

  • Gloat. Gloat democratizes career development, unlocks upskilling opportunities, and empowers agility
  • 365Talents. This talent management platform suggests career paths for employees.
  • Neobrain. This platform matches your employees’ skills, desires, and aspirations to open opportunities. 
  • SAP SuccessFactors. Created with the employee experience in mind, this product takes into consideration different types of feedback in the talent marketplace experience. 
  • Fuel50. This platform harnesses "next-gen" workforce data for real-time opportunity matching. 

5 tips for an effective talent marketplace

A Deloitte guide offers some tips on how to build an effective talent marketplace

  1. Make sure you determine the purpose of your talent marketplace platform. What are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish? How will you measure success? What are your goals? Consider the purpose behind your talent marketplace implementation. 
  2. Factor in the future of work. The future of work is now. In the last two years, the way the world works has changed more drastically than ever. And with more employees quitting their jobs more than ever, the future of work has to continue to evolve.

    What does your future work strategy look like? How will the talent marketplace work with your future work strategy? 
  3. Choose the right platform that works for your organization. We know there are plenty of talent marketplace platforms out there. HR professionals, reach out to your networks to see what’s worked well for peers in your space. It’s important the tool fits your needs and can stay agile as your organization grows. 
  4. Engage and educate managers. Your people managers will play a critical role in the success of your talent marketplace. Why? Your people managers need to be champions of career mobility. Managers need to understand the value proposition of a talent marketplace. They also need to be aware of the long-term benefits and bigger vision.

    Ideally, when you roll out a talent marketplace program, you also roll out manager training. Frequent internal communication about the program, its goals, and why it’s important is critical. Make sure you’re supporting your managers through this journey. You can also provide extra resources, like access to personalized coaching, that can help. 
  5. Spread awareness with employees. Employees need to know that the talent marketplace works — and works for them. Educate your employees about the talent marketplace. Share success stories to help drive engagement in the program. Make sure it’s easy for employees to access the talent marketplace. Listen to their feedback, and make sure the process is iterative.

    Similar to hiring managers, individual contributors need training and awareness. They also need support. Many people might not know what direction they’d like to take in their careers. They might need help picking a gig that’ll fit their career aspirations. Or they might need a coach to help them figure out their strengths and opportunities.

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BetterUp can help. With virtual coaching, BetterUp can provide your employees with one-on-one support. BetterUp can help unlock the potential in your workforce to help your business thrive. 

Enable a strong talent marketplace 

You might have a lot of new talent that you’re eager to develop. Or you might have tenured, veteran employees who are itching for a new opportunity. 

Talent doesn’t always have to come from talent acquisition. It’s likely you have incredible talent ready to grow within your organization. 

A talent marketplace is an opportunity marketplace. Employees can see gig work in real-time. Companies can tap into a talent pool within their own organization. Take your workforce planning and human capital strategy to the next level with a talent marketplace. 

And with reskilling, upskilling, and career growth opportunities, retention will thrive. But you need internal talent mobility champions. And you need development opportunities that are made accessible with the right HR technology. 

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Published March 17, 2022

Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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