3 tips to improve your organisation’s internal mobility strategy

Written by Theresa Sheets, Manager, Learning and Development

What is internal mobility?

Internal mobility – also referred to as internal career mobility, career mobility, or talent mobility – describes the movement of an organisation’s employees to new career and development opportunities within their existing organisation. This movement includes lateral or vertical shifts to roles and departments, as well as formal promotions and even short-term position or project stints to support knowledge- and skill-building. Essentially, internal mobility prioritises in-house recruitment over external as much as possible to both capitalise on and retain the expertise and skill of existing talent.

Why is internal mobility important?

Employee expectations are evolving to require their workplace to foster individual professional development and advancement. Employees are now seeking companies that demonstrate a belief that they are worth being retained, developed, and nurtured rather than merely warm bodies with no interest in or capacity for growth beyond their current skills input.

Therefore, internal mobility programs are vital, proven by high performing companies that focus on skills over titles. In fact, Aptitude Research and software vendor, Workday, found that 77% of high performing companies improve retention and 65% enhance the overall employee experience when existing talent is positioned for success and able to continue to contribute through established knowledge and effectively demonstrated and productive organisational networks.

How do we implement internal mobility?

1. Evaluate your talent management strategy

Ask, “Are we developing talent or merely hoarding it as long as possible?” LinkedIn’s 2023 Future of Recruiting Report conveyed that three-fourths of recruiting professionals and the majority of 3,000 CEOs recently surveyed agreed: Internal recruiting will play a primary role in shaping talent acquisition over the remainder of the decade. However, only 15% of employees report their organisation is making internal mobility a talent management strategy. This means many companies will experience employee tenure rates cut by 50% compared to companies strongly dedicated to internal hiring and promotion.

2. Adopt an internal mobility mindset

The goal of the talent acquisition professional is to procure premier professional knowledge and skills. Once hired, retention is the next goal. An approach to retention through the lens of internal mobility has shown that employees remain twice as long at companies that give precedence to internal advancement. Such a plan also reflects an organisational growth mindset for a host of reasons, including positive payoffs for the employee and the company, such as job satisfaction and a 20% reduction in hiring costs, respectively.

3. Prioritise communication with employees

In their article on creating an effective internal mobility strategy, hrQ Inc. provided some great tips that centreed around transparency and leadership support, all while maintaining frequent communication with the employees directly.

  • Keep a clear structure of internal career opportunities and paths that is regularly updated
  • Help align career aspirations to opportunities and plan a realistic ‘measures and milestones’ path forward
  • Equip employees and managers alike with the tools to develop new (and relevant) skills, apply new expertise, apply to new opportunities, and support others’ growth

The benefits of internal career mobility

When we consider the future of work, and not just how work will be performed but who performs it, it is imperative to consider how to bring about the fruits of stability and consistency in the midst of constant and rapid change. One way is to prioritise maintaining a steady workforce.

An internal mobility mindset and plan supports this effort by building and helping sustain staff and leadership bench strength based on the “superior performance (of existing employees) relative to external hires,” as well as their familiarity with the organisation and ability to “leverage firm-specific skills.”

How best to avoid high attrition, quiet quitting, and other negative workforce trends? Start now and move quickly to implement an internal mobility strategy, the first step to a path ripe with long-term benefits for both employees and companies.

Identifying and selecting high potentials

We are facing a talent war.

Great leaders are hard to find and even harder to retain in a competitive global economy.

Now more than ever, identifying, developing, and engaging high potentials is an important part of every successful organisation’s talent strategy. They know that their culture is driven by their leaders and they also know that high performing leaders can be associated with all sorts of positive outcomes (e.g., increased retention of staff, higher employee engagement scores).

Download our whitepaper to find out:

  • What are indicators of potential?
  • How to identify and assess for potential
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