It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts: Creating an Internal Talent Marketplace

Research indicates that the average worker will have 10 to 12 jobs in their lifetime. What’s more, most professionals change jobs up to five times during their first 10 years after graduation. (Though in developing-talent markets like India, the average worker has only five or six jobs in a career, but that’s expected to increase as that market matures.)

Competition is fierce for a restless talent pool, and incentives are increasingly complicated. Top talent in today’s market is driven by more than just salary and benefits. People want careers, not jobs. They think more in terms of lattices than conventional ladders. 

Unfortunately, though, tasks related to an employee’s job can be limiting. Intelligent, motivated people have varying interests and will pursue multiple specializations that can broaden their opportunities. That’s why an employer’s ability to give people greater opportunities to develop can be the difference between an engaged workforce and a frustrated one. 

Many companies think they are addressing these issues, but workers don’t always agree. In 2016, a Mercer study showed that 68% of employers said their workforce had a clear growth path. Only 53% of workers agreed. Three years later, Deloitte findings showed that progress has been very little, with only 43% of the workers agreeing.

In short, organizations now have to decide whether they can provide their workers with the opportunity to have multiple jobs within their profession. Or multiple professions within a career.

Creating an Internal Marketplace

Our company has found that the best way to satisfy people’s aspirations is through a robust internal talent marketplace. However, it’s not easy to build, manage, and maintain an effective system: Many businesses struggle because of their outdated structures, managers often can’t see beyond their individual silos, and traditional mindsets can also block progress. 

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As in most organizations, our executives too have struggled to find the right way to develop a strong internal marketplace. Leaders had to create a culture of internal mobility, where homegrown talent was always considered for positions. It took high-profile champions of the cause — including HR and delivery teams — to promote this attitude until it permeated across the entire organization.

Culture was not enough, though. We found three important elements needed to increase internal mobility and shrink the talent gap:

  • Skills. Often, talented workers said they didn’t quite know how to create a career plan. Formalized career guidance was a necessity, so we launched a platform to give employees insights about the skills needed for various careers
  • Learning. Once workers understood the necessary skills for possible career directions, they needed a way to act. So we leveraged a second platform, cloud-first, mobile-first solution that enabled employees to learn on the go. 
  • Marketplace. Finally, we created a third platform to serve as an internal talent marketplace. This was a global one-stop shop for all internal job postings, which lowered manual internal intervention from recruiters at every stage. 

The Results

This combination of the right attitude and pertinent technology has proven successful in managing a complex global talent market. For instance, external hiring has always been challenging in smaller regions with shallower talent pools. However, the internal talent market became a liberator for both our company and our people. For instance, our framework now made it easier for workers to relocate closer to their hometowns if they desired. Here are some of the significant results we achieved by leveraging our internal marketplace:

  • 12% to 15% of jobs filled internally, compared to 2% to 3% prior
  • 70% of leadership positions filled internally (It’s worth mentioning that we have always looked inward when it comes to leadership positions, but these platforms put a more formal structure in place. We now require that all leadership positions be promoted internally as a matter of policy.)
  • 60% of closures were internal movements that involved job promotional
  • 20% of jobs filled internally at smaller centers in India, where it is harder to fill roles with external talent
  • 80% of internal interviews results in selections, compared to 40% to 50% for external talent (which resulted in less time spent filling positions)

Still, even with all these wins, we have only scratched the surface of a talent pool of nearly 250,000. We intend to continue to tap our internal talent to engage people and achieve greater results.

Nikhil Joseph is a practice lead at Infosys and is based out of Bangalore. He currently leads the India hiring for enterprise application services, global consulting, and strategic technology groups at Infosys. He is passionate about building and managing high-performance teams.

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