Kasey LynchJuly 13, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

Boost Employee Engagement and Retention With a Talent Marketplace

With unstable global markets and employees continually leaving in pursuit of other opportunities, retention continues to impact businesses across all industries. 

To complicate matters, the employees that do stay are challenged to maintain peak productivity with less support.

No matter what the economic climate is, losing your best employees and their unique skills to your competitors is a disadvantage.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • Executives lack the data, intelligence, and insights to understand skill gaps and retention challenges at the enterprise level

  • Managers have too much on their plate and cannot support employee growth without effective tools

  • Employees are burnt out and unwilling to adopt clunky tools without clear benefits

HR is in need of a solution that moves employees from uncertainty to clarity and helps organizations develop an agile and more capable workforce that can respond to fluctuating conditions.

So how can you reallocate necessary resources while still offering employees a clear path for growth and development? By investing in a Talent Marketplace. 

Talent marketplaces represent the next evolution in connecting employees with opportunities — whether that’s a future role, a short-term gig or project, the perfect mentor, or a learning and professional development path. 

Keep reading to explore how talent marketplaces can boost retention, support employee growth, and help you remain agile in today’s complex hiring landscape.

The Current Labor Market

With the unprecedentedly persistent “Great Resignation,” organizations in every industry are struggling to keep their employees. As of June 2022, 4.2 million employees have quit their jobs — making retention and employee engagement hot topics for businesses in every industry. 

With over 10 million available roles in the U.S. and employees leaving left and right, what can businesses do to stop the bleeding? 

According to a recent Gallup study, only one-third of employees are actively engaged in their work — leaving almost 75% of workers disengaged at their current place of employment. 

Meanwhile, organizations with highly engaged employees experience 59% less turnover and consistently better business outcomes, during both good and bad economic times, regardless of the industry. 

Transitioning employees to engaged members of your workforce is crucial when pivoting to meet evolving business needs now and in the future. So how do you do it? By integrating an AI-powered internal talent marketplace into your HR tech stack. 

What is a Talent Marketplace?

When searching for new ways to support existing employees as they grow their careers, it’s important to consider the value a talent marketplace adds to your organization’s employee experience

This emerging HR tech solution was created to help businesses create a more agile, capable workforce that’s empowered to take their careers to the next level while shifting to support evolving business needs. 

But what is a talent marketplace? 

A talent marketplace, also called a talent mobility platform or an open talent market, is an internal HR platform that’s built to connect employees with learning and development opportunities — like career pathing and internal mobility. 

Talent marketplace definition: an internal HR platform that's built to connect employees with opportunities within your organization — as well as career pathing and internal mobility options.

An impactful talent marketplace not only powers career pathing and internal mobility, but it can also match employees to the right learning and development opportunities, gigs or short-term projects, mentors, and networking groups. 

Simply put, a talent marketplace goes by many different names but its core focus is to illuminate available learning and development opportunities for employees — allowing them to visualize their career path and acquire the skills necessary to go to the next level. 

Pro tip: A talent marketplace should integrate seamlessly with your human capital management (HCM) software.

Related Resource: Talent Marketplace: The Next Evolution in Internal Mobility and Career Intelligence

What Makes a Talent Marketplace Different From an Internal Mobility Platform? 

Internal mobility refers to how employees move throughout an organization. This movement can be vertical — being promoted to a role that has a meaningful salary, title, or role change — or lateral — moving to an opportunity that is at a similar level.

Internal mobility is a natural process that adapts within growing organizations as the needs of the organization evolve. But internal mobility is a shared responsibility. 

While employees are responsible for driving their careers forward, managers play an important role in facilitating the right conversations and preparing employees for their next move. In order to take the initiative to move from one role to another, employees must be aware of their options and opportunities. 

This is where an internal mobility platform comes in — it can make the right job recommendations, illuminating the available options for employees. 

Related Resource: Quadient's Key to Internal Mobility & Creating an Agile Workforce That Lasts

The difference between internal mobility software and talent marketplaces is simple: a well-rounded talent marketplace includes internal mobility features and leverages AI to improve visibility for HR leaders, managers, and employees. 

Giving an employee visibility into future opportunities and a clear path to take action is a great way to boost retention. Executives seeking to reduce employee turnover should look first at their employee’s mobility and how easy, or difficult, it may be to make key vertical and lateral moves.

Managers benefit from this visibility as well. Having a clear picture of where an employee’s next step is not only helps to engage and retain that employee, but also to plan for a successor after the move. 

All-in-all, an AI-powered talent marketplace illuminates internal talent mobility pathways while offering much more to help drive employee engagement and future-proof your workforce. 

Does a Talent Marketplace Support Career Pathing?

The short answer is yes! While internal mobility functions can present an employee’s next move, career pathing illuminates the various long-term opportunities that an employee can consider. 

Career paths have traditionally been viewed as stairs or ladders — predictable and easy to visualize and navigate. This model made it easy for employees to understand how to grow with an organization and stay for the long haul.

A graphic list of the elements that make up a Talent Marketplace, including internal mobility, learning and development, mentoring, career pathing, employee resource groups, short-term projects or gigs, and referrals.

However, in today’s faster-moving and more agile environment, an employee’s trajectory is no longer linear. Employees are able to move across departments and levels based on their evolving skill sets and preferences, and the evolving demands of the organization. 

But without the traditional steps or ladders, possible paths are harder to visualize. This ambiguity and lack of visibility can lead to increased turnover, as employees pursue their aspirations and seek new opportunities outside of the organization. (This is where career pathing within a talent marketplace becomes paramount.)

Related: The Talent Marketplace Advantage: Accelerating Workforce Intelligence with Baylor Scott & White Health

With access to the right data, AI within a talent marketplace can gain an understanding of how your employees move between jobs and even predict when they might leave. Over time, the workforce intelligence behind a talent marketplace learns the most common moves within your unique business — offering more relevant and accurate information surrounding internal mobility opportunities. 

This career intelligence can help guide employees on the right path, and provide impactful insights for executive teams and managers that can influence workforce planning decisions. 

Finding a talent marketplace software that offers both internal mobility and career pathing features is crucial when looking to improve employee engagement and retention. 

What is the Difference Between a Talent Marketplace and Employee Experience?

Employee experience typically refers to the holistic experience of employees from their first day at your organization through their exit interview. 

HR technology developed for the employee experience should streamline how teams enroll, engage, manage, and evolve employees.

Software features can aid in onboarding, benefit fulfillment, total rewards/payroll, employee learning and development, productivity, and workforce planning. Employee experience technology can also be tapped for managing performance and well-being.

Related Resource: How Sharing Untapped Talent Across Boundaries Unleashes Organizational Capacity

Whereas internal talent marketplace software is a critical component of the employee experience and its capacity to help employees evolve. It typically assists with learning and development, career pathing, internal talent mobility, and networking functions. 

How do Talent Marketplaces and Opportunity Marketplaces Differ? 

Different vendors may refer to their solution as an opportunity marketplace. In most cases, a talent marketplace and opportunity marketplace can be used interchangeably. You’ll find that most talent marketplaces are focused on growing talent. They do this by connecting talent with key opportunities that will help them in their career development.

Some talent marketplaces are given a name that’s unique to your organization. For example, your company’s internal talent marketplace could be called a “career hub” or “employee portal”. Regardless of the title, a talent marketplace focuses on connecting employees to available opportunities within your organization. 

How Can Talent Marketplaces Support HR Leaders, Managers, and Employees? 

Implementing a talent marketplace can give your teams the tools they need to make better decisions and thrive in the face of adversity. 

By putting intelligent insights and automation at the fingertips of your c-suite executives, managers, and employees, you can gather a better overall picture of what gaps are in your organization and who’s available to fill those gaps. Here’s how internal talent marketplaces help each of these groups of workers:

Improving Visibility and Talent Agility Within the Workforce for Executives

For executives, having the ability to adjust jobs and reallocate resources to the areas of your business that need it most is one critical way you can stay ahead of the curve. But most organizations can’t make these adjustments because they lack talent agility — forcing businesses to replace a larger percentage of their workforce, which is a slow, costly, and detrimental process. 

Internal marketplaces can help create a more agile workforce through upskilling, reskilling, and the redeployment of talent. 

The right talent marketplace will have the ability to structure, understand, and manage profiles, roles, job families, skills, competencies, and more across the enterprise. With this data, the right technology can also illuminate where organizational and individual gaps are.

This intelligence equips executives with the tools needed to visualize and accelerate required transformations, and boost agility during challenging times that require a rapid response. 

Quote describing how Phenom has helped Kuehne+Nagel improve internal mobility at their organization

Enterprise data can also provide leaders with insight into moments where management should proactively engage workers and encourage internal mobility— allowing for unique opportunities to combat potential losses in your workforce before they occur. 

Helping Managers Support Employee Growth

Managers have been faced with a challenging task: support employee professional development, build trust in a company’s mission and purpose, and inspire teams to take action — all while navigating physical and mental health challenges through a pandemic and facing unpredictable swings in global economics.

To handle all of these issues effectively, managers need greater insight into the skills and competencies of their employees. This includes the gaps necessary to fill as talent grows and evolves. Managers also need additional tools to structure their teams, set and achieve goals, and report on progress.

One of the greatest benefits to collecting and harnessing skills data is the ability to visualize gaps and opportunities. At a team level, managers can also begin to plan for future needs, looking deeper at competitive opportunities to hire for specific skills.

Discovering the needs of employees is only half the battle! A talent marketplace equipped with learning and development opportunities, gigs or projects, mentoring, and resource groups can all assist employees in pursuing their path.

Access to a talent marketplace provides managers with more tools to tailor the right plan for every employee while prioritizing internal mobility before looking externally for role fulfillment. 

Providing Employees With Opportunities to Learn New Skills 

At its core, a talent marketplace is an employee-driven experience — unlocking an employee’s potential, connecting them to growth opportunities, and helping them evolve.

Today, employees are more motivated than ever to find alignment with their company’s values and vision while actively searching for growth opportunities. In order to master their current roles and continue their career development, employees need more visibility into current and future requirements within your organization. 

A talent marketplace can help define this with clear job descriptions, goals, requirements, and dependencies. With skills intelligence, internal talent marketplaces can help illuminate an employee’s skills, strengths, and recommended opportunities.

Highlighting the skills an employee needs along their intended career path is a great initial step, but it’s actually helping employees develop these skills that will accelerate their progress. Connecting employees to recommended courses and certifications, mentors, and gigs can fast-track their development.

Transitioning from one role to another is the core of employee evolution. Employees need hyper-personalized visibility, encouragement, and confidence to make key transitions throughout their careers. 

The right talent marketplace will present the right opportunities at exactly the right time based on skills, interests, career paths, and more, with clear guidance on how to pursue and initiate a transition. Facilitating this talent mobility based on goals and aspirations helps every employee reach their full potential.

Related Resource: How to Launch an Internal Gig Marketplace

Why is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Important?

The key to helping employees realize their true potential is to deliver actionable and personalized recommendations and opportunities. Without AI under the hood, your employee experience will lack this intelligence and personalization — two key elements that can help boost employee engagement and retention. 

A talent marketplace that doesn’t leverage artificial intelligence is destined to be a one-size-fits-all solution, which will fail to resonate with unique individual employees. 

What Role Does AI Play in Talent Marketplaces?

Although talent marketplaces are beneficial to executives, managers, and employees, they’re not all created equal. 

Some are designed to solely provide employees with more visibility into available positions — but that just scratches the surface when it comes to what a well-developed talent marketplace has to offer. 

When determining which internal talent management software is the right fit for your company, don’t forget about the importance of artificial intelligence (AI). AI is an important component when matching capabilities and offering personalization within your marketplace. 

Using AI and machine learning, executives, managers, and employees can access better insights into their existing workforce to gain a clearer picture of:

  • Skills gaps and attrition: highlighting what upskilling opportunities each employee needs to be prepared for the next step in their career — offering potential career paths that are aligned with future available roles. 

  • Organizational and succession planning: allowing C-suite executives to better understand what talent they have to fill existing and future roles to meet ever-evolving business needs. 

  • Career pathing recommendations: by analyzing large collections of data and unique relationships at your organization, talent marketplaces can make individualized recommendations to match employees with the right opportunities. 

  • Retention: illuminating your turnover data and workforce analytics is a key component of understanding the bigger picture. Without these insights, you’ll be making quick decisions that may not influence retention.  

  • Automated workflow options: reducing time spent on tedious tasks can help unlock efficiencies within your hiring team — which is crucial when striving to win the race to engage and hire top talent. 

These are just some examples of how AI makes an influential contribution to internal talent marketplaces and how effectively they support your company’s hiring goals — both now and in the future. 

How Does AI Streamline Employee Skills Development? 

Skills are necessary building blocks for establishing an employee profile and connecting employees with personalized recommendations. By understanding an employee’s existing skills and recognizing the “skill gap” between where they are and where they need to be, an AI-powered talent marketplace can begin to bridge the divide. 

AI can also consider competencies and behaviors when building an employee profile — creating a more comprehensive understanding of the talent you already have within your organization. 

In addition to personalizing recommendations, AI can personalize an employee’s experience to improve engagement. From employee portal content to email and SMS messages, AI and automation can ensure that employees see the right content at the right time to help them level up their careers. 

How Does Phenom Talent Marketplace Boost Employee Engagement and Retention?

Powered by AI and automation, Phenom Talent Marketplace delivers the best that separate career pathing and internal mobility softwares have to offer while elevating the overall experience. With intelligent automation, talent analytics, and personalization, each team within your business can experience the benefits of an internal talent marketplace. 

The Phenom Talent Marketplace is designed to improve employee engagement, boost retention, and illuminate areas for improvement across the organization. Our talent marketplace is equipped with:

  • Intelligent career pathing to illuminate the career paths that are available for each employee, evolving over time. Powered by Phenom AI, this feature allows you to gain a better understanding of how your employees move between jobs, guiding employees toward their next role and providing valuable insights for executive teams and managers.

  • Gigs and short-term projects are available to create an engaging opportunity to upskill employees while supporting the needs of the business. Through a “gig model,” organizations can quickly adjust staffing volume to meet the needs of consumers and the market. 

  • Learning and development features play a critical role in your employee’s experience. Phenom Talent Marketplace is engineered to allow integration with your existing LMS and LXP programs to deliver a robust and tailored learning experience for your employees. It helps create a clearer path of learning and development, inspiring your workforce to develop new skills instead of overwhelming them. 

  • Mentoring opportunities can proactively engage employees, connecting emerging talent with individuals that will help guide them to new opportunities in both formal and informal settings. Mentorship programs can deepen the connection an employee has with their organization. It can be easy to leave a job, but it’s harder to leave a relationship. 

  • Employee Resource Groups (ERG) that offer an inclusive environment and play an important role in an employee’s career path. Upon joining an ERG, employees are exposed to colleagues and resources that can connect them to future opportunities — like professional development opportunities, open jobs, or short-term gigs. Employees can also connect and engage with potential mentors within ERGs.

Improve Talent Agility & Employee Engagement with a Talent Marketplace

Organizations continue to respond to rapidly changing economic pressures and fluctuations in hiring activity. Tapping into the full potential of your existing workforce and helping employees upskill, reskill, and evolve can be your competitive advantage during uncertain times.

Phenom talent marketplace is equipped with internal mobility, intelligent career pathing, gigs, learning and development integrations, mentoring, employee resource groups, and much more. If you’d like to see a talent marketplace in action before beginning your evaluation process, join one of our upcoming live or on-demand sessions.

Ready to explore Phenom Talent Marketplace? Book a demo here!

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

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