5 Tips to Cultivate an Open Talent Ecosystem

By: Leilani Latimer

Image Source: ThinkStock

A few years ago Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) issued a fascinating report entitled The Open Talent Economy; Beyond Corporate Borders to Talent Ecosystems, which suggested that traditional talent models are being put under pressure by global trends -- globalization, technology, mobile, education, social media and analytics -- and must innovate for companies to compete. This has stuck with me, in particular as I think about building a world-class marketing team in an environment where we are searching for the best talent, yet simultaneously aiming for a balance of diverse skill sets and personalities for our teams.

If like me, you are in marketing for high-tech, you have experienced the rapid convergence and interdependence of marketing technologies, disciplines, and skills that have forced us to re-evaluate and evolve roles and systems. As the Deloitte report proposes, an Open Talent Ecosystem approach (think "human cloud") can do for the workforce what the open source model did for software development: create a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled team that will bring greater scale and growth to businesses.

Here are five ways I've changed the way I cultivate my Marketing Talent EcoSytem.

1. Throw out traditional job descriptions

Traditional job descriptions can actually limit the possibility of finding the best talent for an organization. By breaking away from traditional roles burdened with outdated definitions, we can hire for and build competencies around projects and outcomes. Innovation comes when you can source a candidate from a broader ecosystem of talent, and leverage that same person across a broader set of initiatives.

2. Expand your talent ecosystem

Your talent ecosystem is not the same thing as your employee base. Look beyond your corporate boundaries towards your partners, vendors, and networks to discover your complete ecosystem which, thanks to increasing technology, is only getting broader. Even your customers can be part of that ecosystem as brand ambassadors in the social media realm. Expanding your talent ecosystems includes integrating contractors, agencies, freelance workers, or even crowd-sourcing projects.

3. Re-think training and education

Training and education have already undergone massive transformation thanks to continuing advances in technology (think Khan Academy or Lynda.com). Create learning and leadership opportunities from the cross-pollination of teams, making employee development more dynamic. Pods, or cross-functional teams, are now the norm, and these provide on-the-job education for employees beyond their specific functional area (marketing or other).

4. Re-design rewards

Looking at talent differently and aligning people around capabilities and projects also means redesigning performance systems, measures, and ultimately rewards. Today we recruit based upon reputation (on LinkedIn a user's network provides endorsements and recommendations based upon skills and competencies), so should we reward that way too? While I wouldn't go so far as to make rewards reputation-based, I do think we need to find better ways to align measures and rewards more specifically to project outcomes; perhaps including a total team evaluation.

5. Reinvent for adaptive leadership

Now is the time to reinvent your role as a leader (or Orchestrator!). You may very well be managing a workforce that is increasingly virtual, and may no longer be entirely on the corporate balance sheet. This requires a different set of leadership capabilities and relationship skills so that you activate and inspire an evolving talent ecosystem.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse.

Not sure what kind of leader you are? Read about how your leadership brand can affect your relationships at work.


Leilani Latimer is the Senior Director of Marketing at Zephy Health. She is a marketing leader with proven experience taking nascent business ideas and products from concept to scale, with success in global go-to-market strategies, product marketing and planning, cross-functional team leadership, customer engagement, communications and employee engagement.

Ellevate Network is a global women's network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.