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How-to: Launch a Talent Marketplace within a company

Best Practice: This is how the Lufthansa Group leverages its full potential during the crisis

How much potential do companies waste if they do not utilize and promote the hidden talents and skills of their employees? This question is driving more and more organizations, in addition to the need to work in a more connected and flexible way, made even more visible by the crisis. A digital talent marketplace enables both: improved talent management and a collaborative, agile way of working. The Lufthansa Group recognized this and launched its talent marketplace CanDo in the middle of the crisis. In the interview at the end of this article, Tamara Winter, Manager Performance & Potential Management at Lufthansa AG, talks about the motivations, the path to the launch of the marketplace, and her preliminary conclusion after the first few months.

How does a digital talent marketplace work? – Basically, it’s like a farmer’s market: you have people who are offering something, you have people who are looking for something specific, and some who are just browsing and looking for inspiration. You can shop quickly and with a goal in mind or try new and interesting things.  

The tradable assets on a talent marketplace in general and on the Tandemploy marketplace in particular are the employees’ talents, whereby the Tandemploy software deliberately defines the term talent broadly: it takes soft skills, hard skills, experience, competencies, and knowledge into consideration in equal measure and promotes their exchange – across all departments and hierarchy levels. Because in a talent marketplace, everyone’s the same, anyone can be an expert, and everyone is there to learn.

Interested parties can get a first glimpse into the Tandemploy Talent Marketplace through a web demo.

But first: Culture

This approach requires a corporate culture defined by openness, curiosity, and teamwork. Or at least the intention to establish such a culture. A digital talent marketplace can be an ideal tool to reach that goal, because it enables completely new experiences in the work context, thus acting as a transformation catalyst. Nevertheless, certain basic requirements should be met so that the marketplace can fully unfold its effect in the company:

  1. Board and management support the initiative (or at least don’t block it). 
  2. Relevant departments actively promote the introduction, e.g. HR, Innovation, and/or Change Management.  
  3. Works council and the divisional business management are on board.  

Transformation is in sight: Building a talent marketplace with teamwork in just a few months

The general willingness to change is given within the organization? – Great. Then the next step is to install a project team that accompanies the introduction of the talent marketplace from the first contact with the provider to the implementation within the company and beyond. With good preparation and collaboration, the introduction of the Tandemploy Talent Marketplace is extremely low-threshold and, on average, takes no longer than three months. Depending on the size of the company, this time frame may vary. To implement the project, it should be sufficient to entrust one or two employees with the project management. Tandemploy’s customer success team supports the project management team even after the launch and throughout the entire duration. The team offers support with internal communication as well as stakeholder management and continuously collects feedback. This creates a valuable pool of information on the basis of which the Tandemploy product team continuously updates and develops the software. 

Preliminary talks: How important is talent in your company?

“Engaging with the Tandemploy Talent Marketplace sets in motion a process of reflection in the course of which companies begin to ask themselves fundamental questions about their talent management,” says Tandemploy Digital Transformation Leader Linda Mihalic. These questions are also important for concrete subsequent collaborations:  

  • How is talent management currently prioritized in the company? 
  • What does it cost the company not to make optimal use of talent, not to develop it further, not to use knowledge across departments as needed, or, in the worst case, to lose talent to the external market? 
  • Is a talent management strategy in place with processes and guidelines? 
  • What is the status of talent mobility in the company? Can employees be deployed across division and department boundaries?
  • According to which criteria are tasks distributed and positions filled? 
  • What reasons motivate us as a company to consider the idea of a talent marketplace? 
  • What challenges do we see in connection with a marketplace? 

Linda: “These, among others, are the points we discuss in a preliminary conversation with organizations that are interested in our Talent Marketplace Software.” 

Escaping the silo mentality – also on a technical level

Besides the cultural and organizational level, the technical level also plays an important role. Here, too, it is important to escape the silo mentality. The role that open structures and space for communication play for employees, the corresponding interfaces and integration scenarios play for the software. Ideally, these enable

  • the seamless integration of standardized, cloud-based software into the company’s main software.
  • communication of individual applications in both directions. 
  • the unproblematic use of external SaaS by all employees. 

„Given the dynamics of markets and needs, corporate structures must be designed to be as flexible as possible, also when it comes to technological aspects“, explains Tandemploy Chief Innovation Officer Steffen Welsch. „For the application of the Tandemploy SaaS, this means that the digital talent marketplace is linked to the core software in a very clever way, as a kind of experimental space. In this way, it can be assembled with other individual standardized, cloud-based solutions in a modular system to form a quasi-individual overall solution, whereby the individual parts can be supplemented, exchanged or omitted entirely at any time as required,” says Steffen. The company’s custom-designed wording and branding ensure that the Talent Marketplace fits naturally into the mosaic of different applications in the company.

Selection of the right tools – not so easy (or is it?)

Various software providers claim to revolutionize talent management in companies. When comparing them, it helps to make a checklist of relevant factors. Some questions that play a role here: 

  • How compatible is the tool with existing HR systems (e.g. SAP SuccessFactors, Workday,…)
  • How is the data being secured by the tool?
  • Is the data being processed ethically?
  • Will the tool provide the desired transformative effects (Career Path Planning tools vs. real Talent Marketplace tools)
  • How established / visible is the brand? (e.g. in business networks such as LinkedIn)
  • Which renowned companies are already using the tool successfully? 

Test phase: Gathering experience in a pilot project

When implementing a Talent Marketplace in a company, it is advisable to form a pilot group and start with them. This way, the tool, its usability and effectiveness can be tested together with the employees under real working conditions, thus being able to collect valuable learnings for the company-wide rollout. 

The Lufthansa Group, which launched the Tandemploy Talent Marketplace in November of last year, is currently in such a pilot phase. We spoke with Tamara Winter, Manager Performance & Potential Management at Lufthansa AG, about the process leading up to the launch and her first conclusions so far.

Best Practice: Introduction of a Talent Marketplace at Lufthansa Group

What were the reasons for launching the Talent Marketplace?

The answer to that question is twofold. In regard to the organization, we wanted to use a digital marketplace to give our employees the opportunity to work together across departmental and company boundaries. To think outside the box, to escape the silo mentality, and, in the process, to win colleagues for projects that perhaps hadn’t been on their radar yet. For the cabin crew, the main goal has always been to create transparency about offerings beyond flying.

Then we also have the HR perspective. Here our goal was to find out more about the skills and interests of our employees in order to be able to offer suitable programs in the future, such as, for example, specific training.

How did you introduce employees to the tool?

We started with a clearly defined pilot target group, with which we initially conducted comprehensive stakeholder management in order to determine the exact demand. Of course, the rollout was accompanied by internal communication, webcasts and live demos in the system.

Were there any reservations on the part of the employees? If so, what kind? And how did you respond to them?

In fact, not many, and the few that had any were doubting whether the supervisors would agree to an assignment. Overall, we experienced a great deal of approval and support from the workforce in advance.

Were there reservations on leadership level? How were you able to convince them?

Perhaps there were a few more reservations there, but also many managers who were in favor of the platform. The greatest trepidation was whether the other managers would join in, so that there would be a fair distribution or, as the case may be, a healthy exchange of resources. In many personal conversations, we explained the advantages of the digital marketplace and, most importantly, involved the higher management level early on.  

In your opinion, what are the prerequisites for working well with the tool – both of technological as well as cultural nature?

A newer browser than Internet Explorer 11 – just kidding – but a regular, up-to-date IT infrastructure should definitely be a given. The Tandemploy software runs on both PCs as well as smart phones. Culturally, an organization should at least be open to the topic of New Work, although we are certainly also still at the beginning of a transformation process.

What was your favorite moment in the process? What was your highlight?

My personal highlight was the first days after the Go-Live. We received an incredible amount of positive feedback and departments proactively approached us to invite us to webcasts, demos and other formats. It was an amazing confirmation that the digital marketplace is a project that people are excited about.

What was your biggest / most important learning in the process?

You should never underestimate the complexity of coordination in large organizations. Which makes it all the more important to set realistic deadlines and communicate honestly about them. 

How has the introduction of CanDo changed the way people work? Can you already sense a change after 2.5 months?

Despite all the great feedback, I can’t say much about it yet. Due to the high short-time work rates (“Kurzarbeit”), we are currently collaborating in very unusual ways anyway.  I think the real impact of CanDo will not be measurable until business picks up again.  

Is the tool well received? (user numbers)?

Despite the high short-time work rates, around 1.400 colleagues of about 4.000 in the pilot group registered in the first 2.5 months. We are very proud of this immense interest! Many users have given positive feedback on the usability of the Tandemploy software and there has been a lot of praise for the initiative itself. 

What are the next steps in terms of using the talent marketplace? What is your goal? And how are you working towards it?

Of course, once the pilot has been completed, we will continue the roll-out and work with Business Development to find a sensible approach. A first step will be the introduction of CanDo in the Cabin in April 2021. In the medium term, our goal is to merge the two sectors “Cabin” and “Ground” into one website to enable cross-divisional collaboration here as well.

Thank you so much for the lovely interview, Tamara!

+++ Are you interested in starting a Talent Marketplace at your company? Take the first step and book a web demo with us. +++

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