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Building an Internal Talent Marketplace

The ongoing tech talent shortage is driving organizations to establish internal talent marketplaces, which can be used to improve transparency within the business and help uncover employee talents.

As part of the technology stack, an internal talent marketplace functions as a tool to help individuals looking for a new role or new opportunities within the organization.

The key stakeholders involved in developing such a marketplace include HR professionals, technology and data analytics teams, leadership, and employees themselves.

"A successful talent marketplace provide the steps to getting there and to figuring out if they have the skills and competencies for that role, and if not, what they need to do to get from point A to point B," explains Hannah Johnson, senior vice president and head of tech talent programs at CompTIA.

She says HR professionals play a critical role in designing the marketplace, ensuring compliance, and aligning it with the company's talent strategy.

Technology and data analytics teams are essential for implementing a software platform and AI-driven matching algorithms.

Leadership support is also critical to fostering a culture that values internal mobility, allocating resources to support the marketplace.

Employees are key stakeholders, as their engagement and participation are critical to the success of the marketplace—all must work together to ensure the marketplace meets the needs of the organization and its employees.

"Make sure you have employees who are on board with the idea and can help to make sure that it's getting built out to the way leadership and the HR team originally envisioned it," Johnson says. "Employees should be testing it as they go to ensure it is accomplishing what they want it to accomplish."

Ideally, there should be a dedicated project team to develop and maintain such a talent marketplace portal.


Making Talent Move Better

Jason Wodicka, principal developer advocate at Karat, says an effective strategy for internal mobility, like an internal talent platform, can fill roles with people who already have organizational context from elsewhere in the business.

"This promotes the sharing of context and ideas across the business," Wodicka says. "It also helps avoid the loss of institutional knowledge associated with skilled employees leaving to find career advancement elsewhere in the industry."

They explain in addition to the obvious stakeholders in HR and recruiting teams, an often-overlooked key stakeholder is hiring managers across the organization.

"To make internal mobility work effectively and fairly, hiring managers need to get specific in what skills they need, and be willing to accept candidates entering from elsewhere in the business," Wodicka advises. "This often means being willing to accept nontraditional backgrounds for roles."

Mike Walters, President and co-founder of Action1, says these marketplaces can make it easier for talent to move within the organization, leading to better utilization of skills, increased job satisfaction, and enhanced career development.

"This can have a significant impact because people can change their job preferences over time, and it can help retain skilled employees," he explains.

For example, an experienced technical support engineer may advance his career by applying for a system administration or information security path because he might be very interested in such career opportunities.


Contribute to an Employee-Driven Culture

An internal talent marketplace can also contribute to a culture of employee-driven career advancement and internal transfers within an organization.

"It can give employees a sense of control and opportunity despite the broader organizational changes," Walters says. "It can signal to employees that the company values their skills and growth, boosting morale and engagement during challenging times—and retain truly skilled employees for the company."

Johnson points out many organizations now offer some type of professional development or learning and development, but very often employees get overwhelmed by those offerings.

"They're fantastic, but unless you have a very specific skill set that you're looking to gain or is relevant to your position, you can get kind of lost in the offerings," she says. "These talent marketplaces provide clear paths to where you want to be, and how you get there."

From her perspective, individual employees are likely to be more incentivized in completing something specific to them and achieving their goals than a broad offering.

"With more time and more people adopting them and more feedback, they're going to get even better," Johnson says.


Tapping AI Tools

In addition, AI-driven platforms can play a role facilitating more efficient and cost-effective internal talent mobility by matching employees to suitable roles within an organization.

"AI can analyze vast amounts of data, including skills, experience, and career aspirations, to make personalized job recommendations, improving the speed and accuracy of matching employees to roles that match their skills and interests," Walters says. "It can also give an employee the chance to try something new in their career path."

This opens new opportunities for employees and a new job that they may enjoy more than the previous one.

For example, for a system administrator, AI can offer multiple paths to advancement depending on their skills and desires, such as moving to a DevOps role or becoming an IT architect.

"This can also encourage people to move into IT or other career paths from completely different fields, but with the necessary soft skills and willingness to learn," he adds.

From his perspective, organizations must create more transparent and accessible internal job market.

"This allows the company to identify and develop talent from within, filling skill gaps with existing employees rather than seeking external hires," Walters says.

By offering employees more opportunities for career growth and skill development, companies can improve employee satisfaction, increase retention, and build a more agile and skilled workforce.