Webinar reveals how leading companies are tackling talent mobility for the new era

An Oracle webinar covered how talent mobility is impacting talent acquisition, and employee interaction and development.

In a CHRO South Africa webinar, presented in partnership with Oracle and titled ‘Reimagining talent mobility’, Mmabatho Motswai, people consultant at Investec, and Terryn Palani, talent executive at Vodacom, talked about how organisations need to be agile to attract, retain and deploy talent – from embracing the gig economy to leveraging transferrable skills. They were joined by Rob Bothma, Oracle strategic business solution architect, who introduced Opportunity Marketplace – a centralised talent management platform for positions, projects, and gigs.

Vodacom’s talent mobility structur
Terryn shared how Vodacom’s employees gain experience and grow within the organisation through different avenues to foster talent development, from utilising the internal learning management system (known as ‘Vodafone University’) to sending executives to Harvard. Vodacom encourages rotations, as well as short-term projects and ex-pat assignments.

Terry added that Vodacom uses maternity leave as a skills development opportunity. The company offers six months of maternity leave or four months of family leave, and other employees can take up internal positions that become available during this time.

“You could be in an HR business partner role and have an interest in communications, for example. If the communications role opens up due to maternity or family leave, an employee can have exposure to a different environment. The employment contract doesn’t change, either.”

Investec’s flat-structure perspective
Mmabatho shared how Investec’s flat-structure perspective emphasises an individual-first approach. She admitted it’s not for everyone, as some people require a more rigid structure and a clear career growth plan. But others can thrive.

“I had a finance and commerce background when I joined Investec to work in the banking space. I realised that I wanted to be an HR consultant, but I didn’t have the academic or work experience; I could move into that space because our talent mobility environment is tailored that way. We look at the individual’s transferable skills and how they can be leveraged for growth and development, along with support that we can offer in terms of training programmes that we either curate in-house, or learning initiatives in partnership with external providers.”

Embracing the gig economy
Terryn explained how Vodacom is developing opportunities that benefit internal employees and society as a whole.

In particular, Vodacom has explored how the company can leverage the gig economy for people with spare time, such as stay-at-home moms and students, a process through which they receive training to be call-centre agents from home.

When it comes to talent mobility and acquisition, Terryn added that Vodacom researched Google’s Project Chameleon (an algorithm-powered internal job marketplace). Vodacom found that a sense of objectivity is important in digital marketplaces, so particular organisational needs should match profiles and not people per se.

“It has to include a feedback loop, which creates credibility. We keep learning and adding to our platform as we go because it’s constantly evolving.”

Mmabatho shared that for Investec, the notion of gig work has been more from an internal mobility perspective, as opposed to external hiring. But the organisation has been focusing on filling skills gaps and leveraging its global footprint through secondment or limited-time project work. She admits there’s more to be done – at the moment, it’s still difficult to imagine what the new world of work will look like, as we’re still in so much flux.

Oracle’s Opportunity Marketplace
Rob Bothma joined the panel to introduce Oracle’s Opportunity Marketplace, an internal marketplace platform that facilitates talent mobility to allow employees to participate in projects and apply for positions.

Rob emphasised that it’s key for organisations to have a clear picture of what talent and skills they already have. Technology is making this, along with talent management, significantly easier. He added that core employee data needs to go beyond names and addresses and include skills, while employee learning development has shifted entirely.

“Just-in-case’ learning used to be the norm, where you joined an organisation and did weeks of training for something you might need, one day. But that has changed to ‘just-in-time’ training, as employees need skills now. If you need to fix something, you watch a YouTube video.”

Rob added that career development tracking should underpin talent mobility, and a mechanism is needed to manage it – which is where Oracle’s Opportunity Marketplace comes in.

“We found that many employees have hidden skills, but they needed a way to let their organisations know, and to see where the current gaps were. A central location like the Opportunity Marketplace – which is part of an HR solution – lets employees look for roles in the organisation or just short-term internal opportunities. Employees get to expand their network and work with different teams, even globally. This helps them grow their skills, stimulates engagement, and ultimately increases staff retention.”

Rob noted that the default for organisations is still to use external recruitment to look for skills. But a central marketplace can show what skills are already there, where in the organisation these employees want to move to, what is needed, and what type of work they want to do – including internal gig work.

Rob concluded by saying that mature organisations have realised they need to adopt a give-and-take mindset. Some employees will need to utilise their skills in another role, and line managers can’t hold onto them. They will fill a position or gig, but they’ll come back with new skills and a greater sense of purpose.

“The ‘gold watch culture’ is long gone, and now is the time to embrace new ways of working.”