Seagate: Unlocking careers with Gloat’s Talent Marketplace

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How the tech giant re-engaged its workers through internal mobility

Divkiran Kathuria, Global Director of Talent Mobility and Talent Acquisition Programs at Seagate, shares the secret to creating an inspired workforce

Storing data might be their forte, but with a workforce agility platform, mobilizing talent is becoming another of Seagate’s specialties. 

The tech giant needed to enable mobility, agency, and agility within its workforce to continue developing critical skills. Though the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic complicated that growth initially, it only cemented their commitment to implementing a scalable, flexible talent marketplace.

“With a headcount of more than 40,000 colleagues, it’s impossible to manually keep track of each employee’s unique blend of skills, experiences, and aspirations,” Divkiran Kathuria, Global Director of Talent Mobility and Talent Acquisition Programs at Seagate, said. “There are so many moving parts there. That’s where our talent marketplace, which we named Career Discovery, has been a game changer for us.

“It’s a win-win for everyone. Employees can stay and grow at Seagate, the organization they have chosen to be at. They can transition more easily into a role they aspire to be in. They can find projects and mentors that help them bridge skill gaps and navigate their careers internally. As an organization, this has given us the ability to move our talent dynamically and be agile.”

In just four months after launching its talent marketplace, Seagate achieved a $1.4 million ROI and unlockied more than 35,000 workforce hours. Over 90% of its workers registered in the talent marketplace within 45 days, proving just how much their workers were ready to grow with the organization.

To learn how Seagate transformed its work structure, watch the full discussion above.

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‣Top takeaways

In the 40 years of our history, we have shipped over 3 zettabytes of data storage solutions. To be able for such a company to not just survive, but thrive in a niche tech industry like ours, we need very specific skills, experiences and knowledge. Placing the right talent and developing the right talent in the right roles requires an in-depth understanding of everyone's competencies. Considering the purpose-driven workforce that we are seeing today, it's very important to consider their ambition as well. What is their aspiration?

With a headcount of more than 40,000 colleagues, it's impossible to manually keep track of each employee's unique blend of skills and experiences and aspirations too. Now we can redeploy them in the right roles and at speed and scale. There's so many moving parts there. That's where our talent marketplace, which we named Career Discovery, has been a game-changer for us.

It's a win-win for everyone. Employees can stay and grow at Seagate, the organization they have chosen to be at. They can transition more easily into a role they aspire to be in. They can find projects and mentors that help them bridge the skill gap and navigate their career internally. And as an organization, this has given us the ability to move our talent dynamically and be agile in face of a global adversity like COVID.

For us, the measurement has changed. When we launched, it was important to get people on the platform and make sure that they're using it efficiently and effectively. Also, we looked at if we were getting the right ROI or not. Because that's just the beginning phase. There's still scope for course correction. That's what we measured in the initial 45 days.

In fact, for the first one year we measured, how many people registered? How many have a good profile completion? Because data matters when AI is working behind the scenes. We had about 90% registration within 45 days of our launch. We had 87% high profile completion. Within just four months, we had unlocked about 35,000 hours in productivity with part-time projects, which I think contributed to an approximate $1.4 million. This is all just in four months of usage.

Very interestingly, we also saw 58% increase in participation and assignment of women. Again, this ties back really well with our value of inclusivity. This was in the initial phase, but as we move from our establish phase—we call it an establish phase. As we move from establish to enhance phase now, we can enhance the usage based on data and everything else that we have done in the past year.

In this phase, now we are not looking at registrations or we don't want to look at registrations only because we already have 90% registrations, which is way above industry standards. This year, we plan to look at monthly average users. How many people are actually coming back and using it? Activities from the employee side, activities from the manager's side, we can focus on who needs more training or who needs more education and awareness around this.

We also want to look at cross-team movement because that's our final agenda. This is what we look at. If I can say in terms of BCG metrics, how many people are moving from cash cow to the rising star? How many people are moving across different domains? That's something we really want to look at.

There's an ongoing conversation, because if people in your team are pursuing development opportunities, mentoring or something else, there has to be this ongoing conversation about your careers with your managers. There is a focus on your strengths because it's about what skills you have or what skills you want to have. Which is, what is your strength in terms of experience and knowledge that is used to really match you to the sea of opportunity that you get with a talent marketplace.

That's my perspective in terms of how a talent marketplace can support solving this employee engagement problem. People need more than a fleeting, warm, fuzzy feeling and a good paycheck to be actively engaged and achieve more in their careers. People want purpose, meaning from their work. They want to be known for what makes them unique. Especially for millennials and other generations, this has become extremely important. The work means more to them than just a way of earning money. This is what drives employee engagement.

In Seagate, our employee engagement survey clearly showed that career growth is the top driver of engagement. We have 83% employees feeling that their career goals can be met at Seagate. 92% of employees stating that Seagate provided them with the opportunity for learning and development. Other than that, we also believe that employees want relationships, particularly with the manager who can coach them to the next level. This is who drives employee engagement. Not just the manager for that matter. Someone else in the organization who can help them drive their career.

This is also reflected in our engagement survey at Seagate, which showed that 89% of employees experienced a positive manager impact. We have a very strong score for manager impact with goal setting, development feedback, et cetera. I would say, this is a great reflection of both the time and effort of not just current discovery team, but our L&D team and the HR VP who really help support this talent model holistically and help us take this to the employees on the ground.

We realized that we need to lift and shift our resources to new areas of business to grow. We weren't going to lay off anyone or do a reduction in force. Instead, we decided to grow these new operations from within, by taking the internal first approach. This was also an opportunity for us to grow new operations from within and up level and upskill our global talent development strategy. What could be a better solution for this challenge than an AI-driven talent marketplace that doesn't just bridge and balance the supply and demand of the talent and skills within the organization, but also gives an organization visibility into its skill supply, giving its managers access to a global and a more diverse talent pool.

In the meanwhile also bringing in transparency and visibility for employees to open opportunities within the organizations. For us, which are now not limited to just open jobs, because internal opportunities were generally always thought of as an internal job. But in our case now it also includes career development opportunities like internal gigs and mentorship. In just that problem, that a talent marketplace solves in terms of matching the demand and supply of talent and skills, that's what we needed to grow our internal talent and move them into the areas of new operations and areas of growth, really.

One important thing is to make sure that you have the change management plan, like a proper change management plan, knowing who your stakeholders are, who your opposers are, who your influencers are, and be ready with it. I think that's the one takeaway for me, after launching three different talent marketplaces in three different organizations now.

Two things, if I have to really pick out of the change management plans that we focused on, is have your leadership buy-in. Have your leadership be on your side, supporting you, spreading the message. Because when a leader speaks up and says, "Why is this important? What's the benefit? How does it tie to your business goals and your business alignment?" It does get heard. People act on it. That's really number one.

Secondly, there is also this peer-to-peer connection. In marketing terms, it's that word of mouth that everybody uses. But in terms of a disruptive change, like a talent marketplace, it's very important for people to hear those success stories, and how someone else benefited from it. Create that messaging around, what's in it for me, and create that form. Fear of missing out. What is it that I am missing out on? I think for me, those are the important learnings from my journey and my experience.

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