Posted: 09 Feb. 2021 11 min. read

Internal talent marketplaces

Five things every organization needs to know

Five things every organization needs to know about Internal Talent Marketplaces

One of the biggest trends Deloitte is seeing as organizations rethink their talent and hiring strategies in the year ahead is how to activate their internal talent marketplaces. In 2020, Deloitte published research on ‘Activating the internal talent marketplace’ and since then has continued to work with clients and industry partners to further define its value and strategic positioning as a next-generation talent operating model. Here are five key questions answered for organizations looking to better understand and articulate the value of the internal talent marketplace as part of their transformation journey.

1. What is an Internal Talent Marketplace?

The internal talent marketplace helps companies connect employees to different opportunities, similar to that of a supply and demand model. It is hosted on an AI-enabled platform that matches employees with short term projects, stretch assignments, side gigs, full-time roles, and mentors. Many organizations are increasingly realizing the importance of building an internal talent marketplace especially during and after a crisis to better align people with work across the organization as business needs rapidly change.1

Jeff Schwartz, principal at Deloitte Consulting, during his presentation at Deloitte’s Dbriefs event, Internal talent marketplaces: Unleashing the power of the workforce, explained that the emergence of the internal talent marketplace is part of a larger organizational transformation almost a decade in the making. Deloitte’s 2020 Human Capital Trends findings explain that change across three key dimensions - purpose, potential, and perspective. Jeff highlighted, “Purpose allows employees to see the connection of their work to the mission and the larger purpose of the organization. Potential helps employees to explore many opportunities as to how they can deploy their capabilities in the organization. And Perspective gives the management and the workforce the chance to focus on both the short-term and the long-term priorities in the organization.” According to Jeff, traditional talent models (attract, develop, and retain) are shifting towards talent marketplaces and a new workforce ecosystem lifecycle (access, curate and engage).

2. Why activate an internal talent marketplace?

This operating model provides the agility and adaptability to unlock capacity across the organization and enable employees to exercise choice and agency to own their career progression. Based on our research, some of the ways this operating model helps organizations derive strategic value are:

  • Rapid workforce redeployment: By supporting the reallocation of the workforce across the organization, it can provide an increasingly agile employee experience and enhance business and workforce outcomes. By rapidly aligning talent with current and anticipated work demands, organizations can efficiently re-allocate their workforce in times of strategic organizational shifts and during uncertainties.     
  • Scalable, resilient, and flexible workforce: It can help create scalable, resilient, and flexible workforce models in a dynamic business environment. At the same time, organizations can better align their workforces to fluctuating business requirements with a real-time view of the talent supply and demand and an improved ability to create the right workforce strategy that achieves their strategic priorities. 
  • Unlocked capacity through fractionalized work: Organizations can unlock capacity and increase overall organizational throughput. Project-based and gig-based opportunities allow work to be fractionalized into discrete tasks or projects which enables the organization to more creatively and efficiently address specific tasks, projects, and roles and develop a stronger overall capacity.    
  • Access to hidden talent and diverse skills: Companies can uncover hidden talent, cross-pollinate existing talent, and access diverse skills through increased transparency of workforce capabilities.   
  • Enhanced workforce empowerment and engagement: Workforce expectations are evolving with an increasing desire for purpose, value, and exposure to a variety of experiences. Internal talent marketplaces can empower the workforce to choose the opportunities they desire for development or advancement and encourages an “owner’s mentality” which results in a more engaged workforce.
  • Culture of Continuous Learning: Workers have greater visibility into and access to a wide range of roles and opportunities. The agency and choice of partaking in such opportunities allow workers to develop new or deepen existing skills, expand their network, and leverage the platform as a means to continuously evolve their capabilities as technology, market, and organizational conditions change.

3. How is the internal talent marketplace contributing to work, workforce, and workplace transformation?

  • Work: provides opportunities to workers beyond full-time roles. It offers access to internal projects or gigs, stretch assignments, and opportunities to participate in initiatives in addition to their full-time roles. This ‘project-based work’ not only helps with engagement but creates opportunities for business leaders to tap into unleveraged skills and capacity – critical elements to drive productivity in a challenging time. It also provides access to data for a real-time view of the talent demand and supply within the organization.
  • Workforce: allows organizations to expand the employee experience and value proposition beyond traditional rewards and recognition. Jeff explained that workers are looking for “not just the benefits they get from the organization and the perks, but also the opportunity to grow and work within the organization itself, and the agency and the choice that the workforce gets is absolutely central to set a well-balanced supply-demand dynamic.”
  • Workplace: helps break down silos and give organizations access to a wider pool of talent which is especially critical as companies shift to virtual work.

4. How are early adopters across industries using the internal talent marketplace to benefit the organization and employees?

Diana Kearns-Manolatos, Senior Manager from Deloitte’s Center for Integrated Research, during her presentation at Deloitte’s Dbriefs event, Internal talent marketplaces: Unleashing the power of the workforce, explored and explained one of the key insights from the research, which is that there are three ways organizations are thinking about setting up and activating an internal talent marketplace.

The first is focused on talent deployment and looks at matching talent demand with supply to unlock capacity for greater business agility and resilience. For instance, one organization used its internal talent marketplace platform to redeploy over 8,000 workers to meet the workforce demands posed by COVID-19.

The second looks at talent management which focuses on building workers' skills, developing talent pools, enabling career sprints and employee journeys, and verifying skillsets within an organization. For instance, one financial services organizations interviewed leveraged their internal talent marketplace to create a culture of mobility that would break down the barriers across teams, business units, and geographies to make the work accessible to those who participate in the talent marketplace. It also supports a learning culture and promotes the growth mindset where the workers' needs are aligned with the organizational needs.

The third is a combination of talent deployment and talent management and aligns broadly with the organization’s future of work strategy, across the workforce technology ecosystem, and in coordination with the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. For instance, guided by DEI as a principle and to reinforce equitable behavior, one company chose to remove education as a field visible to hiring managers on their AI-enabled talent marketplace to reduce pedigree bias and create a self-sustaining marketplace for the future.

5. What can organizations do to activate the internal talent marketplace?

Ina Gantcheva, Principal at Deloitte Consulting, during her presentation at Gloat’s virtual event, Activating The Talent Marketplace, shared her insights on how organizations can use iterative design involving continuous customizations and learning to activate an internal talent marketplace. Based on the findings from our research, four elements are key to enabling the talent marketplace - Purpose, Plan, Program, and Platform.

Starting with purpose, Ina recommended connecting the talent marketplace value proposition to the business priorities and the organization’s culture, and to articulate how it ties to the strategic imperatives for talent management, talent mobility, and future of work. She emphasized, “be clear about the unique strategy your company wants to set up with the talent marketplace.”  Identify the purpose of your internal talent marketplace and align the Vision and Strategy with the business and organizational priorities.

The second element is planning which starts with setting up guidelines for some of the key “transactions” in the talent marketplace: Who can add and access roles and projects on the marketplace; what type of work should be made available; what are the key KPIs to measure success; and how to break up work into gigs, projects, or initiatives. In this phase, it is also important to address the areas that need special attention such as organizational norms that prevent talent sharing, building sufficient, well-matched demand and supply of people and opportunities; and getting support and buy-in from key stakeholders. During planning, it’s important to define the value, the target outcomes, and the way to measure them for both the employees and the business.

Talking about the program, Ina pointed out that ‘many companies do not have well-defined policies and processes that support the dynamic nature of the mobility and opportunity enabled by the talent marketplace, or address the questions employees and managers have when looking for different types of work and mobility options.’ Organizations need to formulate new or update existing policies and guidelines as clear boundaries increase the credibility of the talent marketplace and make it easier for both leaders and managers to feel comfortable, whether they want to explore or actively participate in it. Additionally, at this phase, it is critical to bring managers on board and to train them to be “talent groomers” and not talent hoarders. Set up the programmatic elements including structures, policies, and processes with a human-centered design approach to encourage the adoption of the marketplace and to nurture the right behaviors for talent sharing.

The last element is determining and implementing the platform – the technology which will power up the supply and demand. Here organizations can consider whether to buy, build or adapt and determine the best fit technology for their strategy and plan to match roles with talent.   

Companies that have been on the journey recommend starting with a sufficiently big pilot for a select business area to get insights into how the strategy, processes, and technology will interact, and to gain input from users about the overall experience to share work and skills in a marketplace environment. The pilot will also provide insights for how to focus on the next wave of activation - seamless integration across Talent Acquisition, Learning and Development, Career Management, and Rewards and Benefits in order to make the talent marketplace an integral element of its business and talent growth.  

To learn more, register for the on-demand Debrief session: Internal talent marketplaces: Unleashing the power of the workforce here and Gloat’s first-ever talent marketplace virtual conference here. Explore in-depth in our Deloitte Insights report on Activating the internal talent marketplace here.


Ina Gantcheva

Diana Kearns-Manolatos

Jeff Schwartz


1 David Kiron et all, Create a crisis growth plan, MIT Sloan Management Review, June 2020

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Jeff Schwartz

Jeff Schwartz


Jeff Schwartz, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the US leader for the Future of Work and author of Work Disrupted (Wiley, 2021). Schwartz is an adviser to senior business leaders at global companies, focusing on workforce and business transformation. He is the global editor of the Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report, which he started in 2011.