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An integrated talent ecosystem designed for growth

In an environment where the war for talent is ongoing, it is imperative to find ways to retain and grow talent in the organization. As a global technology consultancy, Thoughtworks’ differentiation hinges on our people and their growth and alignment of the right skills to deliver extraordinary impact on our clients. Today, staying competitive means continuously accelerating skill development in response to emerging trends and evolving demand. MERIT recognized this laser focus in May 2024 during MERIT Summit and Awards — Thoughtworks is the winner in the category “TalentTech as a differentiator”.

Since 2017, MERIT has strived to forge a community that fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing among corporate and learning and development leaders. Empowering organizations and individuals through learning and benchmarking is their mission and top priority. The MERIT Awards have become an integral aspect of MERIT where they acknowledge initiatives that deserve recognition. With 15 shortlisted case studies this year, Thoughtworks is proud and honored to have shared the stage with other impactful programs.


The work we’ve done in the space of “TalentTech” is a multi-year, global, cross-functional, digital transformation program at Thoughtworks to co-create a transformative new growth culture for our 10,500+ employees. This has led to the following business impact: 


  • Thoughtworkers have reported higher levels of engagement from 8.4 to 8.7/10 within a year and attrition has decreased by 3%.

  • Work in operations has been streamlined and made more efficient by five business days.

  • The talent solutions have increased the ability of the organization to generate revenue by 3%..


TalentTech at Thoughtworks connected existing growth tools to create a multiplier effect of their individual values and has led to the following benefits: 


  • One-stop shop for all the employees’ learning — social and formal learning.

  • Personalized learning experience with recommendations finely tuned to their self-reflections and individual goals.

  • Customized learning summary. 

  • Growth plans aligned to performance expectations.

The Thoughtworker is at the core of this ecosystem — enabling them to design and plan their growth journey while assessing their progress at intervals and having meaningful conversations with experienced colleagues. It allows for the 70-20-10 model of learning and development — the commonly used formula to describe the optimal sources of learning where people obtain 70% of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20% from interactions with colleagues and 10% from formal learning opportunities.


There were three significant milestones in the creation of this ecosystem: 


  1. Our first milestone was to create a common language. In 2016, we started to develop ‘Capable’ — our skills matrix and for the first time employees and operations could speak the same language. Both sides could share across a common platform — the demand team could share what they sold and the consultant could share their capability level.

  2. The next milestone was to introduce a strong culture of cultivation — meaning that Thoughtworkers take pride in growing others in addition to growing themselves. One of our mottos is: “ A good developer develops themselves; but a great developer develops others.” 

  3. The third milestone was to co-design with our employees, our first digital tool for which we ran dozens of workshops in offices across the globe to build a framework for growth. We finally found one who resonated which we called ‘Me now and Me next’ and as the name suggests, is based on describing what you know today and what you want to know in the future. While the framework was born on paper, it evolved into a slide deck and then finally into a digital product.


Over the years, we continue to evolve our ecosystem and we continue to add new pieces. Most of our digital tools are unique to Thoughtworks and are built in-house. We started this journey with a strong belief to create a world class experience for Thoughworkers to grow.


We continue to evolve to stay relevant, strategic and future-proofed. We recognize what’s worked for us up until now and would like to share it more widely:  


  • Design and pick your culture in the same way that you would decide your software.

  • The best solution is the one that generates value across all areas: employees, business and the society.

  • Co-creation with employees and the business was instrumental in driving adoption as well as business outcomes.


Thoughtworks is home to a community of passionate technologists. We are encouraged, enabled and supported to own and drive our growth. While the TalentTech ecosystem enables growth, it’s the power of our culture of cultivation that propels each Thoughtworker along the path they want to take, knowing that they have the support of our global Thoughtworks community around them. 


Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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