Talent management has emerged as a top priority for organizations over the last decade and has only been accelerated by the pandemic as employees were sent home, many displaced, and employers had to radically shift business operations. Human Resources (HR) led the charge in supporting business units to make this transition as seamless as possible – while stabilizing a very disrupted workforce. Not only has HR been thrust into the spotlight over these last few years, but progressive HR leaders have played a significant role in shining a spotlight on a much-needed talent management revolution.
Talent management has historically been designed to support more siloed organizational structures, which also tend to be process heavy and administratively onerous. This type of talent model is challenged in its ability to support agility, innovation, and speed to market. While these more traditional systems have guided employees through their employee lifecycle by creating a systematic and predictable set of processes – from acquisition, hiring, onboarding, development, performance management, to offboarding – they are not employee-centric by design, nor do they provide the kind of flexibility people strategies now require. What is more, employee expectations have evolved as demands for more autonomy, internal mobility, meaning, career development, and work-life balance have forced organizations to rethink overall talent management systems.
One of the most notable, and widely reported on outcomes of this shift in employee expectations has been coined ‘The Great Resignation’. As employees are leaving jobs by the throngs, reprioritizing work life and focusing on well-being, employers have been tasked with finding new approaches to support employee engagement and retention. Employees want to gain a deeper sense of meaning from their work and are calling on their workplaces to invest in their development and career mobility.
Another key issue that has been accelerated by the pandemic is known as the ‘skills gap’ which emerged as organizations have increased their reliance on technology. As the World Economic Forum projects, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. This focus on skills development is an opportunity for organizations to invest in their employees; the key will be for organizations to have a multi-pronged learning and development strategy that targets the development of specific skill sets, taps into individual interests and development goals, while supporting business priorities and creating a strong succession pipeline. As Amy Borsetti, Senior Director of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn notes, “skills are the new currency at work and organizations play a critical role in creating the conditions to learn, advance the learning process, and offer effective learning opportunities for people to grow, get promoted…and contribute to the organization’s vision, mission, and business outcomes.” These kinds of strategies will set organizations apart and become part of the employer value proposition.
A talent model that is emerging as a more practical and contemporary solution to address some of these challenges is the Talent Marketplace, defined by Betterup as an internal system within an organization focused on developing talent. “The talent marketplace lets employees promote their skills and pursue aspirations. It also allows companies to post projects, gigs, new roles, or even mentoring opportunities.”
These platforms have the capability to capture and share data about employees’ current skills, and through personalized profiles, allow employees to update their skills as they complete training, participate in projects, and share their career aspirations and interests. This is a more networked, interactive, and engaging space where organizations can communicate more effectively, improving speed to market by having the right talent deployed to the right projects. This is a significant shift from more traditional talent management solutions which have lacked mechanisms to capture these kinds of insights, ultimately inhibiting internal mobility and career progression.
As Taylor and Lebo note in their book, The Talent Revolution, 40% of employees feel they are stuck in their jobs. Revamping current career path options requires organizations to take notice of the large, productive workforce available to them. Leveraging the platform as a centralized skills database – where organizations can conduct a skills inventory and gap analysis – does just that; it provides the kind of insight organizations need to understand workforce capability, inform succession, and acquisition planning, and enable internal talent mobility.
There are several talent marketplace solutions that can be adapted to meet the specific needs of your organization; however, you can start to implement some of these practices more immediately by leveraging your organization’s intranet. Creating an internal site where employees are encouraged to post information about their interests, showcase their project work, and update their skills is a great starting point. Similarly, leaders can use the portal to share business updates, workplans, and job opportunities. This can also present an opportunity for organizations to develop mentorship programs where matching interests and development goals to people can become a great, cost-effective development strategy.
4 Best Practices to Support Staff
In terms of more immediate strategies to help you better support your staff, here are some best practices that you can implement that will help to get you started.
- Regular Check-ins are an important activity to build trust with your employees. These regular 1:1s allow you to provide ongoing and relevant support to your staff, and help you determine if additional supports are needed to stay on top of deliverables. In addition to your employee 1:1s, make sure you schedule regular team meetings. This gives an opportunity for staff to showcase their work, consult other team members, and build team trust and collaboration.
- Stay interviews are a great way to manage involuntary turnover – especially for high-performing employees. These conversations can help clarify employee motivation and career aspirations, it also provides an opportunity for employees to provide feedback, identify any barriers they may be experiencing in their roles, and what incentives can be put in place to support their retention. These conversations will build trust, instill a sense of reciprocity, encourage engagement, and improve employee morale. The HR department would typically lead this process.
- Development Plans help to align business priorities with individual development goals. They also provide strategic stretch and development opportunities. They can include secondments, mentorships, and gig assignments. Development plans should also address any feedback provided in stay interviews and annual performance discussions. The goal here is to help support the development of employees while also mapping career progression. Actively investing in employee development also serves engagement and retention strategies.
- Performance conversations should be happening regularly through in-the-moment feedback and your regular 1:1 meetings. Employees shouldn’t be surprised by feedback in their annual performance reviews. Use coaching skills in your regular conversations with employees to support development areas, address any issues, and to revise annual goals and/or expectations as business needs evolve throughout the year. And don’t forget to ask employees to provide you with feedback as well. Stay open to building a reciprocal relationship.
About the Author
Wylie Burke is an innovation consultant, facilitator, and leadership coach. She has over 15 years of experience in business administration, human resources, strategic and operational planning, and leading high performing teams. She brings a unique perspective to her work, having had the pleasure of working for a diverse range of organizations including United Way Toronto, CIBC, SickKids, WSIB, and Toronto Metropolitan University. She has led large-scale merger and integration initiatives, cultural transformation and change strategies, and is recognized for taking a people-centred and creative approach to her work and is inspired by helping people and organizations realize potential and reach new heights. As a sought-after coach, consultant, and facilitator, Wylie is recognized for creating inclusive environments that inspire insights, connection, fun, shared learning, and that result in personal and organizational integration. Wylie is passionate about her work with clients in reimagining the overarching HR function, turning it from a process heavy one into a strategically designed talent hub. Employing a design thinking methodology, Wylie helps to evolve talent models, programs, and strategies into innovative, agile, flexible, relevant assets that connect talent decisions to value-creating outcomes.
Wylie is the facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Talent Management program.
Borsetti, A. (2021, March 2). Skills are the new Currency in the World of Work. LinkedIn. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/skills-new-currency-world-work-amy-borsetti/.
Boudreau, J. (2016, March 17). Work in the Future Will Fall into These 4 Categories. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://hbr.org/2016/03/work-in-the-future-will-fall-into-these-4-categories.
Chung, A. (2021, November 29). What is the ‘Great Resignation’? An Expert Explains. World Economic Forum. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/what-is-the-great-resignation-and-what-can-we-learn-from-it/.
Deloitte Insights. (2020, September 18). Activating the Internal Talent Marketplace. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/focus/technology-and-the-future-of-work/internal-talent-marketplace.html.
Maggioncalda, J. & Yacoub, S. (2020, December 4). 4 Ways to Reskill the Global Workforce – and this is where it’s already happening. World Economic Forum. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/12/4-ways-to-reskill-the-global-workforce/
Miles, M. (2022, March 17). What is a talent marketplace and why do employees need it? BetterUp. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.betterup.com/blog/talent-marketplace#:~:text=A%20talent%20marketplace%20is%20an%20internal%20system%20within,projects%2C%20gigs%2C%20new%20roles%2C%20or%20even%20mentoring%20opportunities.
Schreiber-Shearer, N. (2022, January 24). What is a Talent Marketplace? Inside The Talent Marketplace: Game-Changing Platform That Unlocks Workforce Agility. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://gloat.com/blog/the-talent-marketplace-explained/.
Taylor, L. & Lebo, F. (2019) The Talent Revolution, Longevity and the Future of Work. University of Toronto Press.
 Chung, A. (2021, November 29). What is the ‘Great Resignation’? An Expert Explains. World Economic Forum. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/what-is-the-great-resignation-and-what-can-we-learn-from-it/
 Maggioncalda, J. & Yacoub, S. (2020, December 4). 4 Ways to Reskill the Global Workforce – and this is where it’s already happening. World Economic Forum. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/12/4-ways-to-reskill-the-global-workforce/
 Borsetti, A. (2021, March 2). Skills are the new Currency in the World of Work. LinkedIn. Retrieved, May 1, 2022, from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/skills-new-currency-world-work-amy-borsetti/
 Miles, M. (2022, March 17). What is a talent marketplace and why do employees need it? BetterUp. Retrieved May 1, 2022, fromhttps://www.betterup.com/blog/talent-marketplace#:~:text=A%20talent%20marketplace%20is%20an
 Taylor, L. & Lebo, F. (2019) The Talent Revolution, Longevity and the Future of Work. University of Toronto Press.