Crafting a future-ready talent marketplace: think potential, not just skills

Nelson Furtado | 8 May 2024

The world of work as we know it has changed exponentially. Once we worked. Now, we skill. The rapid emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the lingering effects of a pandemic, and subsequent pivot to agile working, not to mention the ongoing evolution of the gig economy, means more and more businesses are looking to unlock the potential of their internal talent rather than hiring new. As organisations continue to shift and adjust, Nelson Furtado explores the rise in the talent marketplace – a tech solution which focuses on matching internal skills to the work required.


Embracing fluidity in the world of work

The idea of having one career or a singly defined ‘job’ is a slightly outdated concept in our current world of work. Obviously, long-term prospects still exist, but the idea of a “Lifer” who works their way to the top, climbing a 30-year linear career ladder no longer matches the experiences of most. Instead, organisations often view work as a series of projects and initiatives that can be executed through assembling the best talent with the necessary skills; a way of working that demands a flexible workforce able to pivot when necessary.


At their best, talent marketplaces are truly transformative. At their worst, they end up as little more than the miscellaneous ‘help wanted’ boards – the kind that you see when leaving a supermarket. So, for those contemplating or in the process of implementing a talent marketplace, it’s important to keep in mind how it impacts upon people.


Data and technology are just the beginning

Anyone who has ever reviewed a sample of CVs will know there are countless ways to describe a workplace skill or accomplishment. Presently, classifying your skills into one single unit is a challenge – either done manually or via automation. Marrying AI with the skills required in your company will require a change in thinking and in process, not just technology. The question is: are leaders equipped to think about work in terms of the skills and people qualities they need?


People, not just process

When introducing a talent marketplace, a critical consideration is the emphasis on demonstrable skills versus potential. Over-prioritising skills in the process can lead to a transactional relationship with the workforce. As Gartner points out, skills may be the new currency for talent, but that doesn’t mean everyone is thinking about themselves as a bundle of skills. A talent marketplace may presume that people are willing to be taken from one project to the next, but that might not suit all ways of working. On the flip side, we’ve seen examples of managers keeping hold of high performing talent, making it hard for them to move to other opportunities within the talent marketplace.


Look beyond the loudest voices

A key challenge is often finding the right people, not just those who shout the loudest. For example, a candidate who has filled out their marketplace talent profile with more than 130 unique skills could potentially do every job in the company! But could they? The system doesn’t have the ability to assess how well they might function with a different team, or in a very different role and environment. In order to find people who are enthusiastic, and will embrace this new way of working, you can’t hire solely on experience-based skills. You need to engineer a way of identifying new people, hidden gems, or accept when the system defaults to the same people time and again.


Towards a holistic approach

By supplementing skills and experience with data on personality, motivations, and behaviours, you’re able to uncover a rich vein of candidates who wouldn’t have been identified by business leaders, demonstrating a marketplace that’s able to offer capable and diverse candidates based on their potential rather than their experience.

So, it’s essential to work in tandem with AI talent marketplace providers to ensure platforms are matching potential to opportunity, in addition to skills.


Beyond skills – a culture of potential and opportunity

Throughout this process, it’s important to remember that people aren’t inventory to be moved around like stock in a warehouse. An effective talent marketplace demands an authentic connection to what work looks like in your organisation and what you need. The people doing the work must be part of the journey by understanding how opportunities align with their own desires and goals, and managers need to be bought in to a dynamic approach to allocating opportunities, rather than trying to keep hold of the talent they have. Skills alone are not sufficient to predict performance; you need to be able to assess and measure potential too. So, before you embark on your talent marketplace journey, think: are you creating one that promotes potential, or centres solely in skills?


Learn more about talent marketplaces and skills, or if you’d like to speak to one of our consultants, please contact us.

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