Growth and development patterns in talent management are changing rapidly, due to talent shortage organisations facing globally. While our focus in the ECB is on internal talent, we are confronted with the need for a talent ecosystem with opportunities for non-linear growth and flexible work arrangements. It also helps break down silos and connect across different functions.
Responding to this challenge we learn and experiment new ways of supporting our people to unlock and leverage their potential, to upskill and reskill, to experience development and growth opportunities in line with their purpose. This article introduces the ECB’s talent marketplace journey and the dynamics it can create between people’s skills and aspirations and the organisation’s purpose and tasks. Though we are far from having completed our journey, still I hope our experience can be an inspiration also for others.
Talent marketplace: key is autonomy
Talent marketplace is a new way to manage talent, engage and empower employees.
In this approach people and the business are the protagonists and HR is rather the director of the movie behind the stage. This differs substantially from the traditional HR role. Talent marketplace ensures high level of autonomy which is key to empower employees and free up HR resources for value-added activities. Like any market, it requires regulation, but only to the extent that it protects the freedom of expression to operate as a living system and not a machine based on narrowly defined procedures.
Our history of working with the internal market
Creating opportunities for the internal market is not new at the ECB. It has been always key to provide development and upskilling opportunities to people. These opportunities can materialise in forms of changing jobs (horizontally or vertically), enriching jobs (by joining temporary projects, assignments), or simply to connect with others.
HR launched several initiatives to pilot an internal marketplace e.g. facilitated mobility schemes for certain salary bands, “mobility speed dating”, mobility fairs with HR stands, a buddy programme for newcomers, blind lunches. These initiatives required substantial resources and the process was difficult to sustain.
Most of these initiatives were abandoned, parked or reduced in frequency, not because HR didn’t see a huge value in providing an internal marketplace, but because of the lack of technology backing up this whole array of possibilities and services.
Now we have the appropriate platform, which gives us the excellent opportunity to bring together the supply and demand, match certain opportunities and capture, show and search talent based on interests, skills, roles, membership in networks, etc.
What can we use the marketplace for? Practical examples
- Provides critical data on people’s skills, experiences, interests, aspirations, organisational roles, network memberships etc.
- Recruitment: providing a better experience for candidates and hiring managers by tapping in the internal market.
- Horizontal mobility: it is an enabler for horizontal moves (via mobility calls, arranging swaps), which in turn improves versatility and employability, renews engagement, helps breaking silos, and builds organisational resilience.
- Mentoring: once having the platform the matching process can happen at any time between mentors and mentees.
- Promotions across salary bands without recruitment: the process relies heavily on assessors, feedback givers and management teams, so the platform aims at providing a better experience and has the potential to expand the concept.
The HR community has for long engaged in attracting, retaining, developing, engaging and managing talent. However, it has surprisingly struggled to know talent. There are studies showing how often it is easier to leave a company and come back again from outside than moving horizontally.
Let’s see how we at the ECB try to learn more about our internal talent.
Each employee has a profile at the ECB, which is the CV. Our next step is to develop talent profiles, which also includes skills, interests, aspirations, organisational roles (e.g. Diversity Ambassador), network memberships, etc.
Key among these profile features is skills. The more we know about skills, the more we can find them and utilise them in various ways. We need this data for the better matching of our supply and demand in any field. AI-based recommendations to express interest in an opportunity, be it job shadowing, joining an event or volunteering to a project are only possible as long as we know the skills of people and of the related offer. We might need contributors to a project, and we might need colleagues to help others develop those skills. In fact, an excessive focus on “experience” — as it is typically the case in many organisations — is a barrier for horizontal mobility and talent identification, while skills are the real need, the actual currency.
Talent marketplace will be a key source of data to estimate which skills we have and can build on internally and which need to be sourced externally. This will bring us to the next level of the marketplace, which combines internal and external resources, in the gig ecosystem.
This all may sound futuristic but I believe the development it brings both for the employees, for the institution and for HR is worth leaving our comfort zone for.
The ECB is a European institution based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the geographical heart of Europe. We are about 4,300 employees and come from 27 countries and speak 24 languages. Our prime tasks are to maintain price stability and the value of the euro, the common currency in Europe; and to make sure people’s money kept safe in the banks. In normal times, we ensure that the economy is well-oiled by setting short-term interest rates, maintaining a stable payment and financial system, issuing banknotes, supervising banks etc. During times of economic crisis, we support the economy to survive the shock and, ultimately, help save millions of jobs.
Ráczné Szőke Ildikó
Head of Talent Management Division