Posted: 09 Dec. 2020 9 min. read

Technology and talent management

Workforce architecture that prioritizes talent mobility

Two questions driving the exploration of talent mobility and marketplace technology

The traditional talent management approach has started to shift from progressing top talent through a predefined career path to a workforce architecture1 model focused on dynamically aligning talent to work opportunities2. This shift—driven by evolving strategies and practices within multiple HR domains (e.g., talent acquisition, organization design)3—has led organizations to take a hard look at the technological capabilities available to support talent mobility. Vendors with offerings supporting talent mobility, especially those that apply marketplace principles of workforce supply and demand, provide a mechanism for direct communication between the organization and the workforce regarding available work opportunities. This evolution has organizations reflecting on two questions to better understand how talent mobility and marketplace solutions can support their strategic objectives and meet the needs of the workforce.

How does the organization align workers to the work?

This first question relates to talent access and deployment (i.e., the ability to more efficiently manage supply and demand).

Before selecting a technology option, organizations should be able to answer how the existing processes, strategy, and workforce mindset help to identify and align talent and available work. Organizational approaches to improving workforce mobility often range from increasing awareness about existing open roles or projects to more transformational efforts that deconstruct roles, activities, and tasks for a more fundamental re-architecture of work. Regardless of an organization’s progress in its journey to iteratively manage mobility, minimizing the friction associated with the identification and alignment of talent often creates space to focus on objectives and outcomes and lean into the human aspects of work.

Talent mobility and marketplace technology can serve as a critical role in scaling talent alignment objectives by surfacing opportunities and talent availability insights across the organization. Technology capabilities such as quantifying workers’ skills in relation to overall availability across the organization, the intelligent matching of talent and work opportunities, and proactive suggestions to workers or team leaders can help automate the processes by which talent is aligned to business needs. Doing so can broaden the available talent pool without additional administrative effort and create an opportunity for a more transparent, data-driven approach to talent activation.

Examples of how technology may provide benefits to talent access and deployment include:

  • Combining multiple data inputs (i.e., job level, geography, and known or inferred skills and work experience) to tailor a set of project or role suggestions for a worker
  • Incorporating additional inputs (e.g., worker preferences, interests, career goals) to suggest cross-functional projects or roles outside traditional talent paths.
How does the organization provide workers with opportunities to stretch and grow?

This question focuses on the notion of talent development (i.e., the ability to provide the workforce with the resources and development projects to enable continuous growth).

Organizations should determine how best to assist workers with developing their skills and exploring new learning opportunities. Providing access to stretch assignments, development gigs, and other experiential learning is an additional focus area for organizations seeking to create conditions for continuous learning, reskilling, and development. Providing continuous visibility and access to developmental opportunities may support a worker’s sense of connection and contribution, thus heightening their sense of purpose and belonging.4

Technology, again, may help organizations combine performance, skills, and learning data to create opportunities to learn in the flow of work. In this context, marketplace and mobility solutions can serve as a destination for development and an extension of the learning technology ecosystem. Capabilities such as developmental role suggestions, feedback collection, and the ability to predict potential future skill requirements can help equip workers with the information they need to manage their own development path.

Examples of how technology may help talent development include:

  • Suggesting learning content for a worker to review based on identified skills gaps when evaluating their current experience against the needs of the role prior to starting a new project
  • Aligning potential mentors for guidance and support based on specific skills, experiences, or project-based work
Exploring talent mobility and marketplace solutions

The current state of the solution market can be viewed on a spectrum driven by organizational need and readiness to adopt a more agile approach to workforce mobility. Current approaches to marketplace solutions tend to be highly customized to align with existing talent practices and organizational cultures—ranging from extensions of existing mobility practices to developmental opportunity platforms to talent brokerages.5 These marketplace approaches include:

  • Internal Mobility—Encourages worker development and career mobility and facilitates transitions to a new role (either lateral or promotional) within the organization
  • Developmental—Provides workers with access to skills and capabilities development and promotes worker agility to seek diverse opportunities across the organization
  • Brokerage—Encompasses the benefits of the previous two approaches and enables the organization to effectively connect internal or external full-time, part-time, and contingent workers to enterprise needs

Regardless of which marketplace approach an organization adopts, a talent marketplace or mobility solution can help support the shift to a workforce architecture strategy.6 To realize value, organizations must also adopt a progressive mindset—letting go of rigid career pathways and talent ownership in favor of greater agility—coupled with a change management strategy that articulates the value for different groups.

Looking Ahead

Organizations looking to deploy talent mobility or marketplace solution should be able to differentiate between the variety of available market options. Our latest Solution Provider Market Research effort will explore talent mobility solution offerings and the trends buyers should be aware of when engaging with providers. This research will also surface core, common, and differentiated capabilities, plus areas of future development in this market category.

If you are a technology vendor that facilitates talent development and deployment through a mobility or marketplace solution, we invite you to participate in our Internal Mobility and Talent Marketplace Solution survey and tell us about your offering.


Mackenzie Wilson - Senior Research Analyst, Solution Provider Market, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Matthew Shannon - Senior Research Analyst, Solution Provider Market, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Denise Moulton - Vice President, Talent Acquisition Research Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Julie Hiipakka - Vice President, Learning & Leadership Research Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP


1 We define “workforce architecture” as the set of interconnected strategies, processes, and perspectives by which an organization continuously synchronizes the workforce, the nature of work, the skills and capabilities needed to accomplish that work, and where that work can be accomplished in order to create value and lead—not just respond to—marketplace disruption.
2 Seven Top Findings on Moving from Talent Management to Workforce Architecture,
Discovering Talent Marketplaces: The Progression to an Open Workforce Strategy
4 “Belonging: From Comfort to Connection to Contribution” from 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends: The social enterprise at work—Paradox as a path forward
Activating the internal talent marketplace: Accelerate workforce resilience, agility and capability, and impact the future of work
6 Seven Top Findings on Moving from Talent Management to Workforce Architecture,

Get in touch

Denise Moulton

Denise Moulton

VP │ Human Capital Insights Lead

Denise lives for the “a-ha!” moment. A hands-on leader who serves up insights that make sense in the flow of conversation, she works to help clients understand who workers are and what they can contribute. After all, what’s better than watching someone realize their full potential? Denise leverages her history as a practitioner in the talent space to get to the bottom of talent leaders’ problems, turn an empathetic ear to organizational challenges, and zero in on the outcomes that matter most in a dynamic world of work. At home, she is an all-in mom for her two kids and rescue pup. Denise holds a BA in English and has completed coursework towards a Master's in labor relations and human resources from the University of Rhode Island.

Julie Hiipakka

Julie Hiipakka

Vice President | Learning Research Leader

Julie Hiipakka is a leader in our workforce transformation offering focused on skills-based organizations and workforce development. Prior to her current focus on helping clients implement skills-based talent practices, she led the Learning & Leadership research practice for Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital Research and Sensing offering. She advises clients on learning, workforce architecture, enabling worker and leader performance in the flow of work. A change agent, thought leader and advocate for human-centered work, workforce and workplace practices, Hiipakka has 24 years of experience across learning and development, talent management, and professional services, including as a learning leader in a professional services firm.