How to accelerate the time-to-value of a talent marketplace

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Capitalize on the full potential of workforce agility through practical implementation

Jeroen Wels and Jeff Schwartz break down what it takes for organizations to see the tangible impacts of a talent marketplace

Talent marketplaces are gaining traction, but many are missing the key component of the platform designed to change the way companies unlock their talent’s potential: the marketplace. The marketplace dynamics are commonplace among nearly every sector of business, but until now, leaders hadn’t seen the potential benefits of applying the same principles to unlocking capability within their workforce.

In their discussion about accelerating the time-to-value of implementing a talent marketplace, Jeff Schwartz and Jeroen Wels underline the critical role that HR has in the new world of work—not just as a driver of employee experience, but as a financial linchpin. 

“I think one thing that is extremely clear now is that talent and HR leaders not only have a seat at the table, but there’s a spotlight shining on them,” Schwartz says. “The questions coming to them from business leaders are way beyond HR efficiency and HR transactions. We expect every function in a company to be efficient at what they do.”

Wels expands on that point, saying that HR leaders have the opportunity to show the C-suite how a proactive approach to talent management can bring efficiency and resiliency to organizations looking for a way forward through turbulent times.

“How a CEO thinks is, first and foremost, what do I need to set my company up for success in the coming years?” Wels posits. “When you talk about a talent marketplace, talk to your CEO about what capabilities you need to build. If you go into that and you ask a couple of questions as to why and the what, in the end, it’s all about how fast can we get people that actually know what they’re doing.”

As organizations continue to look for ways to increase efficiencies and build resilience throughout the company, HR leaders are taking an expanded role in business outcomes. Learn how a talent marketplace enables the workforce agility needed to thrive in the new world of work.

‣Top takeaways

“What’s fundamentally different about the three things that we just talked about, increasing retention, upskilling and re-skilling in real-time, and getting the new kinds of work done that need to be done, is that these are not cost avoidance benefits—these are value contribution benefits," Schwartz said.

"We can get new work done, we can move employees with knowledge of our company into new areas and new projects that need to be done. Most of the historical business cases for HR systems are cost avoidance business cases, but the talent marketplace is not about cost avoidance. This is about value creation, keeping employees longer, helping them develop the skills your organization needs, and doing the work that needs to be done—not by hiring external third parties and consultants, but with the people you have in your company.”

“People are joining a company without leaving a boss. That was a fair expression that we used for a long time,” Wels says. “I think people are now leaving (companies) because they can't get the right development opportunities, they don't like the culture, they don't do meaningful work, and they can't increase their income through the development initiatives that they take for themselves. So it is a trend that I think is happening everywhere, but companies are not doing enough to make people feel at home and make their best whilst they are at home.”

“The only way to build the capabilities and to reskill and upskill for the future today is to put much more of an emphasis on reskilling and upskilling the employees we have,” Schwartz explains.

“By putting that upskilling and reskilling process in motion, every company needs to become a skills and capability foundry. We really need to be creating an environment where we can learn and reskill and upskill very quickly, not just through training and development, but through developmental projects, through projects and gigs, through internal efforts, as well as giving people an opportunity to explore and find roles in the organization.” 

“Go where people understand that this is going to change the way they work and create value for the company. Don't focus in the beginning too much on the naysayers” Wels says. “Don't focus on the 80% that will always resist any change. Storytelling is super important to how it has shifted the lives of people going into a new job, on how it has shifted the flexibility of a team. When you want to tell stories of a team leader, find those ten stories that are super compelling that people are being drawn towards; that's the most important thing to do when you think about your change management effort. 

“Once you've got ten super successful stories, which you will have in the first three months of implementation if you selected fertile ground for a talent marketplace, make sure you replicate those stories in the other units as you go. Highlight a few stories that the CEO can talk about in a town hall. Then you’ll have convinced people to also give it a try. Don’t focus on the naysayers, and don't focus too much on the negative energy that people might portray around it. Like in every change management effort, I would be very clear about what you want to achieve.”

“In almost every case that we've seen, companies that have implemented a talent marketplace have realized within the year that it’s not simply an efficiency improvement, not simply a way to gather better data, but they’re actually creating new work being done, employees are being engaged in ways they had not been before, and new products or services are being created. And that's actually money that the CFO can quantify,” Schwartz says. “I've been doing this for a long time. I was a consulting partner at Deloitte for 25 years. We have not seen a business case based on business impact in the way that we're seeing it now with talent marketplaces.”

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