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Why You Need An Internal Talent Marketplace - Now

Today's post comes to us from Workforce Institute board member and Skeptical Guy, John Hollon. 

When some people talk, others sit up and listen. 

So it is with well-known HR technology analyst Josh Bersin. He recently wrote that he believes that the U.S. economy is getting ready to take off, and that a booming job market will be right behind it. 

Others have been making the same case, but Bersin takes the forecast to another level when he says that, "We are about to enter one of the hottest job markets in a decade." 

That's a bold statement considering how strong the job market was prior to the global pandemic and lockdown, but he points out that we're already operating with 13% more open jobs than we had a year ago, and, that estimates from Goldman Sachs predict that the unemployment rate will drop to 4% by the end of the year. 

That's amazing given what we all experienced in 2020, with a year-long lockdown and some of the worst unemployment numbers since the Great Depression. 

Making the most of an internal talent marketplace 

What's even more surprising is that Bersin not only makes the strong-but-obvious case for better funding and management of your talent acquisition team, but also to "accelerate your internal talent marketplace" as well. And THAT tells you that the concept of an internal talent marketplace has now graduated from niche concept to mainstream business practice. 

Don't know what an internal talent marketplace is exactly? 

Here is some background: It's a more efficient, technology-driven employee management and retention system. Better retention is the one of the big end-goals, and an internal talent marketplace does that by tracking the skill-set of employees and then helping them to develop and build upon their skills. This sometimes means upskilling (building upon and advancing someone's current skills), or reskilling (training in new skills). 

But an internal talent marketplace does something else as well -- it tracks what skills employees have, what jobs they have worked in, and works with them to build a career path within the organization. The larger goal is to better utilize employees when internal openings occur. As a result, filling openings with current staff as part of their career growth experience becomes more important than just recruiting people from the outside whenever a position opens up. 

Some companies have done this for years, but the pandemic and lockdown made the internal talent marketplace a more important concept and built on the notion that current employees were important resources that could be utilized all over an organization. 

As Bersin put it:
"(During a labor shortage) It starts to take months to find people, and employees with in-demand skills start job-hopping. This makes an even bigger case for internal mobility.

One of the most exciting innovations in HR is the creation of internal talent marketplaces. Big companies like Cisco and IBM have had strong internal mobility programs for years. Now, technology can help any company manage and facilitate internal mobility much more efficiently. 

For example, if you have a good talent mobility system, you can identify employees with key skills (such as marketing professionals, software engineers or analysts) and move them from business unit to business unit based on demand. This is a good thing for employees' careers and greatly increases the dynamism of your company. It's also much less expensive than hiring externally."

Filling that opening with someone right under your nose 

It sounds obvious -- Why wouldn't companies want to look to current employees first and give them a shot at internal opportunities that open up? 

Well, as people who have worked for a few years know, a great many organizations are pretty terrible about letting employees know about open positions inside the company. And, growing and promoting employees takes a deep commitment from top management and a strong company culture that puts a premium on making it happen today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come. 

Deloitte probably described the thinking behind internal talent marketplaces best: 
"The business opportunity is clear-cut. First, you can avoid replacement and recruitment costs incurred when people leave. But even greater is the opportunity to reshape your employment brand and workplace culture. Many of today's youngest workers are eager to build their careers rapidly and want to work for organizations that challenge them and promote them quickly. Internal mobility – how that happens–is not just a way to retain talent. It also helps to create a powerful magnet for people outside your organization who seek professional growth. 

The result? The talent market can see your organization as one that champions ambition and performance in everything it does. Think about what kind of talent you'll attract and keep – whether inside or outside your organization." 

Yes, maybe the U.S. economy is ready to take off and recruiting and hiring will go gangbusters again. But even if it does, embracing internal talent marketplaces is a good thing for smart companies to do. After all, the person who may be the best fit for that job you're trying to fill might already be working for you ... and right under your nose. 

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