There are many good reasons for the introduction of a digital talent marketplace in a company. Tandemploy’s marketplace alone is used by thousands of employees in 58 countries around the world because their organizations sense that a new era has begun. One in which collaborative and connected work, and especially connected learning, are more important than ever before.
But what does that mean in practice? Which processes and dynamics in companies are affected by a talent marketplace? Which structures can it disrupt if used correctly? – We have compiled five observations on how a talent marketplace can change collaboration for the better.
1. A marketplace promotes good encounters – also digitally
One thing that has become clear during the pandemic, is that digital encounters have a different quality than face-to-face encounters. Many people have realized that the much-talked-about spontaneous chat at the coffee machine is difficult to replicate in a Zoom room. The threshold for approaching each other and getting to know new colleagues in the digital space is far higher than in a chance encounter in the office or a workshop. A talent marketplace closes an important gap here because it combines both: a formal setup in the digital space with the appeal of chance encounters. In this way, it creates a way of coming together that has not existed before: surprising and yet not arbitrary. Because who comes together here fits together based on interests and desires, learning needs and skills. This is, for example, how cross-departmental learning duos are created. Or how employees who have never met before come together for an expert exchange.
2. A talent marketplace generates transparency
Working in departments can make sense, especially in very large companies. Yet it may become problematic when departments turn into silos in which information and knowledge become isolated. A talent marketplace can not only counteract this, but it can break down entrenched silo structures. Because the marketplace thrives on openness. Positions, job titles, and hierarchical structures hardly play a role. Anyone can offer his or her skills and express learning interests. The algorithm matches people across the board, making it very easy to get in touch with colleagues from other areas. In the end, this not only benefits the individual employees but also makes operations in the company as a whole more transparent. There is less risk of people in various departments working on similar or even identical projects without knowing about each other. Information and knowledge spread across departmental boundaries, creating the best conditions for employees to be able to act effectively and proactively. You might say that a talent marketplace promotes participation and democratization in organizations.
3. Improved internal communication through the talent marketplace
Communications consultant Dominik Cziesche wrote in an article in Neue Narrative magazine: “If everyone involved in a corporation were to edit Little Red Riding Hood, there would be nothing left but ‘A girl goes into the woods and comes out unharmed.'” All the events that make life (and work) so exciting, that engage and move people, are often lost in (internal and external) communication to keep up appearances. Yet employees want to hear precisely those stories in which not everything goes smoothly. Stories of managers who have taken a wrong turn, of doubts, and of difficult situations. This enables them to identify more strongly with their colleagues, the product, and the company as a whole. This way decisions become more relatable. And: a culture of trying things out, failing, and getting back up again encourages bravery and decisiveness. A talent marketplace promotes this authentic internal communication from person to person, colleague to colleague, and across all hierarchical levels. A mentor is only good if they are honest about their own failures. Job shadowing only brings new impulses if the colleague identifies the obstacles and learnings in his daily work routine. A talent marketplace brings together all those employees who want to work and grow together authentically. Internal communication becomes more informal, honest, and lively. Last but not least, every encounter that takes place via the talent marketplace contains a story that is worth telling and from which others can learn.
4. The talent marketplace gives security and freedom
The world of human emotions is complex. On the one hand, we strive for safety, security, and closeness, and on the other hand for growth, development, and freedom. These needs also arise when it comes to shaping working relationships. If both sides are sufficiently satisfied (although the ratio can be weighted differently and is always changing), employees feel comfortable in their work environment and are more likely to be productive. The bottom-up approach of a talent marketplace pays tribute to this need structure by leaving the control over what employees share entirely up to them. Whether it’s a desire to learn, their own project ideas, or a special talent – the people in the organization decide for themselves when they are ready to show certain sides of themselves. On the one hand, the smart and constantly learning algorithm ensures that the skills published on the talent marketplace are matched with the right person, i.e. someone who is looking for precisely these skills and will value them accordingly. At the same time, the marketplace also invites more reluctant employees to present their skills and volunteer for exciting opportunities such as projects, short assignments, or jobs. This way, the talent marketplace acts as a development engine for one’s own career, which, however, each person can advance at his or her own pace.
5. From inspiration to innovation
Marie-Luise Wolff, CEO of Entega, once said in an interview: “You have to bring inspiration into a company, otherwise there is no possibility for vision.” And who could be a better source of inspiration than the many people with their very different experiences, stories, and skills? Meeting and exchanging ideas with each other always leads to new ideas. The examination of one’s own actions, but also of what the company has to offer, always remains alive. Questioning the status quo and finding solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges requires a constant mix of perspectives and experiences. This is exactly what happens in a talent marketplace: the cards are constantly reshuffled, depending on which wishes and competencies employees include in their portfolio. While a digital talent marketplace itself was a bold vision until just a few years ago, it is now a significant driver of visionary thinking in organizations.