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ATD Blog

The Difference Between a Talent Marketplace and Opportunity Marketplace

Monday, July 12, 2021

A car isn’t much help when you need to move 30 people. Likewise, a bus isn’t designed to carry just one person to an exact destination. Every vehicle is optimized for a specific purpose. The same applies to the technology powering your workforce mobility strategy.

Talent marketplaces are like buses. They’re optimized for HR admins and talent acquisition and management teams looking to find, place, or reallocate large populations of workers. Those workers likely have little to no knowledge of HR actions taking place behind the scenes and even less autonomy.

Opportunity marketplaces are like cars. They’re designed to help individual workers chart their own career paths and reach their destinations faster. Instead of relying on talent professionals to control and drive career growth, an opportunity marketplace helps your people drive themselves so they can find all types of opportunities on their own and more efficiently.

Why Mobility Matters

Whether you call it talent mobility, internal mobility, or career mobility, it makes sense to connect your people’s skill development with growth opportunities. A successful mobility strategy keeps your workforce engaged and aligns opportunities with the needs of your business to ensure that your company is growing and staying competitive along with your people.

With the concept of mobility continuing to evolve, discovering what works for your organization will take experimentation and personalization. A recent RedThread study conducted in partnership with Degreed found that no two organizations implement an opportunity marketplace in quite the same way.


Getting to the Market

While talent marketplaces have been around for years, opportunity marketplaces are relatively new—as such, their advancement is driven by new technologies.

Any market is made up of buyers and sellers. The buyers need to know about and patronize the market, while the sellers need to meet buyers’ expectations.

This same dynamic holds true for an opportunity marketplace, where the sellers are your leaders and the buyers are your workers. Degreed excels at getting your workers directly into its opportunity marketplace. When your people are already using Degreed to learn and upskill, they’re on the learning experience part of the platform. Making their way into the marketplace is easy because it’s right there, and they can browse it every day.

Equally important is the connection between what your people are learning and the types of opportunities they can find. If they’re using Degreed to learn new skills, the opportunities they see are aligned with that learning. Their opportunities are personalized, relevant, and changing over time as their skills grow.


Getting Started With Your Opportunity Marketplace

We advise clients to get started in these five key ways:

  • Keep your communications consistent. Identify your core message, audience, timelines, channels, and outcomes. This will keep you organized and attentive to the right level of activity. It’s helpful to remember this is not a one-and-done effort.
  • Craft a stakeholder strategy. It’s important to determine who should be involved and why. Are there thought leaders in your business who’ve already created momentum? Consider making those people early adopters, champions, advocates, and ambassadors.
  • Get everyone aligned. It helps to work with key colleagues to define a shared language and success metrics (for example, internal versus external hiring ratios and culture surveys). Establishing a baseline is just as crucial as measuring your progress.
  • Prioritize across the business. Different business units have different needs. Taking an “individualized” approach can accommodate your partners and leaders looking for more than a one-size-fits-all strategy.
  • Leave room for experimentation. Staying open to feedback is critical. Remember, this is a journey that you and your colleagues are on together; evolution and agility are key.

Keeping an Eye on Change Management

Implementing a talent or opportunity marketplace requires a significant amount of change management. With this in mind, we’re helping our clients go live with an opportunity marketplace in stages. We don’t necessarily recommend that a company embrace all the possibilities at once. Our solution allows for a flexible approach—for example, starting with lighter stretch assignments or job shadowing opportunities and ramping up from there.

Editor's note: This post was originally published on the Degreed blog.

About the Author

Oli Meager is vice president of Degreed Career Mobility.

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