Posted: 08 Feb. 2023 10 min. read

Evolving HR roles for the Talent Marketplace

HR capabilities to fulfill the marketplace promise

Authored by Kevin Moss, Manu Rawat, Rebecca Greenberg, Randy Markush, and Victor Landim

Talent Marketplaces can harness the power of your organization's workforce ecosystem, optimizing skills across the enterprise and democratizing how employees access opportunities. Companies around the world such as Unilever, Schneider Electric, HSBC, Tata Steel, and others have already undertaken the journey of establishing robust Talent Marketplaces and observed tangible benefits, such as employee retention, unlocked capacity and hidden capabilities of their workforce, and millions of dollar savings. Even government and defense systems have embarked on this same path in the last few years, such as NASA and US Airforce, with the goal of connecting employees with wider career opportunities.

However, the introduction of that Talent Marketplace could be an onerous journey for some organizations as it entails integration across talent practices, gaining commitment from multiple stakeholders, and rethinking the roles of key groups in driving new ways of working. Perhaps more glaring are the change impacts to HR. With the activation of a Talent Marketplace, HR’s role needs to evolve in how it operates to be able to orchestrate work differently, as well as reinforce themselves as strategic business partners, leading this transformational journey. In this blog, we will provide a viewpoint on how the role of human resources business partners (HRBPs) will need to change as well as outline two new HR roles we believe are instrumental for the activation of a Talent Marketplace.

Reimagining the role of HRBPs in the age of Talent Marketplaces

The role of an HR practitioner is constantly being disrupted in our rapidly changing world. HR practitioners experience a tremendous amount of pressure to balance organizational performance and productivity objectives with cultivating a rich, supportive, and meaningful talent experience. With Talent Marketplace emerging as a solution to manage, develop, access, and grow talent, HR will need to shift its capabilities to amplify the consumer-grade experience that workforces and managers expect. To effectively implement a Talent Marketplace, an organization needs cross-functional HR teams to reorganize themselves around the intended workforce experience and bring together a variety of resources to deliver on the promise and purpose of the Talent Marketplace.

The HR business partner role will undergo the most evolution in this case, as it is the conduit between the employees, managers, and the Talent Marketplace. Moving away from focusing on business partnership as an HR professional in this role, HRBPs will also have the role of a consultant for the business on workforce intelligence derived from the Talent Marketplace and a coach for the workforce on the overall experience accessing opportunities that help them grow in their interest areas. Tactically, many managers will need support from their HRBP to craft effective job or opportunity postings and identify the skills needed. HRBPs may also need to mediate more than before, as they help to facilitate smooth transitions of talent between managers for the full-time roles or provide guidance when taking up short-term assignments, projects, or gigs. HRBPs will need to redefine managers’ expectations to enable them to support employees who are transitioning into full-time roles or participating in gigs or projects, helping them take greater accountability for their people responsibilities. HRBPs will also need to empower employees and help them articulate their impact and experiences for performance and career growth outcomes as employees take ownership of their development in the organization. In the future, as more users engage with the Talent Marketplace and it is scaled across the enterprise, HRBPs will need to form cross-organizational communities of expertise bringing lessons learned, business imperatives, and design for talent solutions that continue to enhance the overall workforce experience. This is a large shift yet, when done well, can provide HRBPs with the insights to effectively curate and shape workforce experiences and business outcomes.

Activating new roles for effective implementation

We propose two additional roles that can either be augmented from existing roles in the HR organization or established for a limited period to successfully implement and scale up the Talent Marketplace. The reason to introduce these roles is to be deliberate and intentional around the organization’s ambition for the Talent Marketplace. Far too often, organizations fail to take a calculated and thoughtfully considered approach to the Talent Marketplace journey. Having the proposed roles below, organizations can set up the Talent Marketplace for success at the onset.

Talent Marketplace (TM) Product Owner

The role of the TM Product Owner is to own the design, build, launch, scaling, and sustainment of the Talent Marketplace. We often see former HR technology leaders or product managers step into this role, which combines HR domain expertise with the ability to build, test, and deploy a fit-for-purpose digital platform. The TM Product Owner liaises with cross-disciplinary teams, such as IT, HR, business, and vendors to understand the strategic objectives and functional requirements for the Talent Marketplace. They are responsible for ensuring the Talent Marketplace strategy and platform solution meet the business and workforce needs. They liaise with the HR functions, such as learning and development, change and communications, and HRBPs to drive excitement and engagement from the workforce, and to generate demand during the launch, especially when releasing the platform globally. Another critical component of this role is to create and sustain policies, programs, and processes, integrating HR functional areas, such as talent acquisition, performance management, compensation, etc., to achieve the desired outcomes. Overseeing the development of educational materials is critical for the Product Owner, especially as managers begin to learn how to rethink work in the form of gigs and tasks to add to the marketplace. After launching, the TM Product Owner should also analyze usage data and user feedback in order to monitor the KPIs and success metrics, and have a continuous improvement mindset for the Talent Marketplace scale-up strategy.

Depending on the size of the organization and the maturity of the Talent Marketplace, this person should report to the head of talent and may operate as “single shingle” or with a team. As the organization initially sets out on the pilot and scaling process, a team of 1-3 direct reports will help manage and inform the various stakeholders while continuously monitoring adoption metrics. As the Talent Marketplace becomes more embedded in the fabric of the organization and ways of working, the organization may find there is an opportunity to slim down the team.

Talent Marketplace Experience Architect

The TM Experience Architect role is a strategic role that orchestrates collaborative effort across the businesses and HR functional areas to curate the ideal experience across the workforce ecosystem. This role might ideally be responsible for understanding the demands of the businesses and architecting the right solutions with the TM Product Owner and the workforce planning team to leverage the Talent Marketplace in supporting business demand. A key component of this role is to understand how the demand of roles, opportunities, and experiences in the marketplace relate to and are met by the supply across the workforce ecosystem and how it impacts each line of business. The TM Experience Architect role is expected to translate the Talent Marketplace vision in a tangible and meaningful way to drive the outcomes for the business and the workforce. The role sits within the workforce planning team and works very closely with the TM Product Owner.

Navigating your route to a Talent Marketplace

Like many transformations, every organization is implementing and will continue to think about the launch of a Talent Marketplace in a uniquely different way. The approach to this transformation journey should be iterative and agile, activated through a series of pilots or minimum viable products that build on each other to scale across the organization. While creating an aspirational vision is the first step in this journey, gaining buy-in through each pilot and sprint, and upholding the promise of Talent Marketplace through abundant demand and supply will ultimately lead to achieving the aspirational vision. The evolution of the HRBP role and proposed additional roles, in conjunction with thoughtful shifts in mindset, are critical in sustaining that promise. 


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