Create an Internal Talent Community

You’ve finally done it, after weeks of exhaustive searching your organization has landed a key employee that you are certain will add significant value and propel the enterprise forward. Congratulations! Finding the right talent is challenging. Many high value competencies are not only scarce in the market place they can be nearly impossible to develop. With an industry wide voluntary turnover rate hovering around 12% you can’t afford to lose key staff. The best part about this particular candidate is that you found them through your “talent community”. Your external, mobile enabled portal for passive job seekers.

In another division of your organization an all too familiar scenario is playing out. An employee who is critical to a component of your business has resigned. During the exit interview with their HR consultant, the individual cites lack of career mobility and stagnation as a key reason they began looking for a new role. The individual has found a new role with a competitor that meets their need to continue learning new skills.

For many organizations it is much easier for an external applicant to learn about opportunities than for your own staff. Some of the challenge is created by:

  • Lack of focus on short AND long term career conversations between employees and their manager
  • An unrelenting organizational fixation on specific roles via a job description, rather than on the “work” that needs to be done
  • Minimal focus on the employee experience

Leveraging your external talent community by making a few tweaks and deploying it as part of an internal digital platform will not solve all of your issues, but it will provide a valuable mechanism to improve engagement, organizational agility, and instill confidence in your employees that career growth is valued. To be clear, external hires are important to organizational health. However, internal candidates should not be disadvantaged.

Let’s take a closer look at the key elements of a “talent community” and how an internally focused community might be deployed. Strong external talent communities typically include:

Multi-platform Source and Attract– on a variety of platforms, potential candidates can easily opt in to your community and elect the types of information they want to receive and the frequency of contact

Compelling Content– the community provides information about your organization such as, services, highlights, community service projects, and products. Leading edge communities provide a customized and segmented flow of content to members based on their interests and searches.

Back Office Analytical Capability– data that provides insights that shape your talent acquisition techniques and focus

Utilizing your existing capability, a robust internal career portal can be developed. This can be the centralized location for all employees to take control of their career development and learn about internal opportunities. Using the same elements of the external community and making a few adjustments you can create a compelling career channel.

Source and Attract

All internal vacancies are posted on the internal career portal. Employees are able to see in plain language the specifications and requirements for the role. Working with your internal communications team and your marketing professionals promote the site with the same vigor as your external job search/talent community channels. Think of the features you may want to include for your employees, the ability to schedule a 15 minute conversation either in person, on the phone or through chat with a member of your talent acquisition team so prospects can gain a better understand the requirements of a particular role.

Another component should be a listing of all the job families, or roles within the organization to include a brief description. Allowing employees to express an interest in other roles via the portal is a valuable piece of information. For example, a marketing specialist may have an accounting degree. While searching across your portal she simply clicks or taps a box that indicates she has an interest in the accounting role (again, not a specific open positon) The portal then begins sending information when there are accounting openings, special projects that might involve the accounting function, learning and development activities that apply to accounting, information on tuition reimbursement for pursuing a CPA designation, and information about having career conversations with your manager. The level of information and frequency is driven by user preference.

Compelling Content

Typically, high performing and/or highly visible employees (not the same thing!), are tapped for additional, career enhancing assignments such as working on special projects, leading a working group, and presenting findings to executive leadership. Organizations, like the individuals in them, have a tendency to “go with what works” and thus the same group of employees are utilized again and again for career enhancing assignments. What value might your organization realize by “posting” all special projects on your internal career portal? Allowing employees to complete a simplified application of interest might lead to increased team diversity, you might very well uncover hidden talent you did not know existed, and provide new opportunities for staff to stretch and grow.

Longer tenured employees may benefit from information on how to actually apply for a job or roles or how to craft a compelling resume. Staff may like to have information on how to create a development plan and have content from the learning management system available to assist in managing gaps in their plan. The point with internal staff is the same as with external candidates- segmented, personalized content that meets the individual “where they are” in their particular career journey. Again, the employee is in control of the level of information received, the frequency of receipt, and can opt in and out easily and at will.

Back Office Analytical Capability

In addition to providing a valuable sourcing pipeline for your talent acquisition function, data mining based on pages visited, role profiles visited, and interest in special projects can provide valuable insights into employee engagement in real time. The analytical data can also be used to target certain offerings to employees based on what we know about job seeking behavior. We know that job seeking spikes around key milestones such as birthdays, employment anniversaries, within a few weeks following a development opportunity, changes in manger, and class reunions. Since we know this information the portal can push information to employees asking them to visit the career portal and enroll to learn about new opportunities.


Certainly there are a plethora of implementation considerations including defining functionality, content development, and governance. However, carefully constructing a career portal for internal employees can provide a significant benefit. The implementation is made much simpler if you already have an external talent community platform. If you don’t have an external talent community platform, consider email blasts, leveraging existing intranet platforms and other internal communication channels.

We know that many high value competencies are scarce in the marketplace and are a challenge to develop internally. Build a career partnership with your staff by:

1.Designing careers around the work and around experiences, not based solely on a static and rigid job description
2.Helping staff make a shift from a focus on title growth to enhancing their employability internally and externally
3.Using push marketing to build awareness and excitement about the possibilities within your organization

4.Leading and develop your managers to have compelling career conversations with staff that leads to co-creation of a career plan.

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