Many of today’s top employees don’t just want a job; they want work that offers growth opportunities. Meanwhile, employers are struggling to fill talent gaps within their organizations. In this McKinsey Talks Talent podcast episode, host Lucia Rahilly speaks with McKinsey leaders Bryan Hancock, Bill Schaninger and Emily Field about how internal talent marketplaces powered by AI can help with these dilemmas. Internal talent marketplaces identify internal candidates who have skills that aren’t being utilized and give workers a chance to tackle new challenges without leaving their organizations.
- Employers need to develop innovative approaches to retain top talent and fill skill gaps.
- Internal talent marketplaces encourage qualified employees to apply for open positions and help employers tap into their workers’ hidden potential.
- To make the most of internal talent marketplaces, employers should first identify goals and know their workers well.
Employers need to develop innovative approaches to retain top talent and fill skill gaps.
The global talent shortage that emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating. If anything, the shortage could get worse. Across industries, talented workers continue to show a strong willingness to leave their current employers for competitors offering more money and more favorable working conditions – or out of a desire to take on new challenges.
“While people are switching jobs right now, we’re hearing that upward of 80% of those people want growth and new opportunities.” (Emily Field)
An internal talent marketplace could help both employers and workers avoid the need to look outside their organizations for solutions. Internal talent marketplaces help pair talent supply with demand – a win for employers and workers alike. Employers gain the ability to make better use of the talent that already exists in their organizations.
They can reskill and upskill workers interested in learning new skills, rather than going through the time- and cost-intensive process of hiring new employees. Workers, meanwhile, can move to new internal roles or try their hand at tasks that call for different skills than their current job.
Internal talent marketplaces encourage qualified employees to apply for open positions and help employers tap into their workers’ hidden potential.
Talent marketplaces make organizational skill needs more visible to workers. They also help companies identify employees who are most interested in tackling new challenges and who might be more likely to leave their current employer if not given the chance to grow. Talent marketplaces focus less on finding someone with the “right” job title for a given project, and more on the “knowledge, skills, attributes and experiences” needed to do the job well. As a result, employers increase the number of workers who the system will view as a good “match” for a given task, project or role.
“We’re talking about real-time visibility into the labor supply, giving managers and leaders access to a bigger talent pool – including employees who might not be visible and who might otherwise leave the organization.” (Lucia Rahilly)
In this way, AI used by such marketplaces can help increase the diversity of possible workers who might be a good fit for a new role. Left to their own devices, male employees are likely to overestimate their fitness for a given job – if they meet about 60% of the criteria, they’ll apply. By contrast, women are prone to underestimate their talent, often believing they must meet 100% of the skills or qualifications listed on a job post in order to apply. By focusing on a candidate’s likely ability to do a job well, AI can reduce the bias that often influences hiring and promotion decisions.
To make the most of internal talent marketplaces, employers should first identify goals and know their workers well.
Not all skill gaps or open roles within an organization are urgent. To get the most from an internal marketplace, focus first on your top pain points – where skill gaps are causing the biggest problems. Hone in on finding workers whose skills can help you fulfill short-term challenges. Here, a project-based marketplace or an investment in upskilling can have the greatest business impact.
“How can we create opportunities that would make [employees] want to stay within the organization?…Where are there skill adjacencies, and how can we transition people from the jobs that are decreasing to the jobs that are hiring, so we can avoid transitioning people out of the workforce?” (Emily Field)
It also pays to get to know your current workforce and their abilities well before you launch your marketplace. This can help you identify individuals who, with some training, might be a great fit for your most pressing organizational needs. Doing this work can be particularly beneficial if your company is looking to meet certain DEI goals: If you better understand underrepresented workers’ skills, you can more easily match them with relevant projects and opportunities for promotion.
About the Podcast
Lucia Rahilly is global editorial director and deputy publisher of McKinsey Global Publishing and host of the McKinsey Talks Talent podcast. Emily Field is a partner in McKinsey’s Seattle office; Bryan Hancock is a partner in the Washington, DC, office; and Bill Schaninger is a senior partner in the Philadelphia office.