They’re calling it the Great Resignation, but when you’re an employer, there’s nothing great about it. In the U.S, the U.K. and elsewhere, businesses are losing staff in record numbers. Some employees are leaving to pursue new career adventures, driven by the pandemic to shake up their lives. Others have perhaps been considering a move
Updated 23rd November 2020
What’s your business’ internal mobility strategy?
From hiring a PA to sourcing staff across the business, it’s important for an organisation to consider the possibility that the best person for a role is already employed by their company. If this is the case, oftentimes it’s just a case of putting procedures in place to encourage their career progression. This concept, officially defined as ‘a dynamic process for moving talent from role to role at every level’, is called internal mobility.
As the pandemic has put a pause on some external hiring practice, internal mobility is becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses looking to harness the skills of their existing employees. So, how do you introduce and encourage the concept into your company?
Why is internal mobility important?
Essentially, despite the large pool of talent on the market, it’s not getting any easier to hire. Expectations of employees continue to rise, which means businesses cannot rely on reputation or salary alone.
Multiple studies have shown that career progression is incredibly important for both candidate attraction and retention – a 2020 CareerAddict study has found that 82% of employees would quit their jobs because of a lack of career progression, while LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 study found that employees who move internally stay an average of 41% longer in one company.
Therefore, demonstrating a strong internal mobility policy goes beyond filling a role and retaining your top talent – it can also assist in attracting new starters to your organisation, as you build a culture of learning, high performance, recognition and ambition. On a practical level, hiring internally also means you can avoid the costs of replacement and recruitment.
How to encourage internal mobility
Investing in an internal mobility strategy goes beyond advertising roles on an intranet, or communicating new openings through your internal communications – it is a complete change in mindset that asks leaders to support a culture of growth and challenge. First of all, it requires them to recognise the talent of their employees, encouraging them to build on skills they’d require for the next step in their career plan. Secondly, it requires an understanding that the value of the employee to the business as a whole is higher than it is to their team, as there is a high chance that their career progression will take them to another department.
Educate hiring managers
As the individuals responsible for the recruitment process, it’s essential you encourage hiring managers to consider internal candidates for potential roles. It’s also worth reviewing how you currently advertise your roles – could you promote internally before taking it out to the market?
Review training initiatives
With a bank of candidates ready to learn, it’s up to organisations to encourage this enthusiasm, offering relevant training opportunities. By creating experiences that allow development, such as secondments, cross-departmental coaching, mentoring and lateral assignments, you can harness the candidate’s passion and set them on the path of progress.
Emphasise the success stories
Every company is bound to have at least one employee that has moved up the ranks, meaning there’s at least one success story to promote to others. By telling the stories of those who have climbed up the ladder, you’ll be able to provide a framework for others to replicate or at least, base their own career plan on. Show these employees off on your career pages and make sure their narrative is communicated across the business.
Work with your leaders
If your leaders aren’t on board with the idea of internal mobility, the chances of success are slim from the outset. Therefore, it’s essential that managers actively support and encourage upward or lateral progression, integrating their upskilling into performance management procedures. This means allowing time for professional development and advocating that they integrate learning opportunities into their day-to-day role. Should a leader also be a success story, it’s worth promoting their story to the wider company.
Look to the left and right
Progression doesn’t necessarily mean straight up. Many candidates may join the organisation in one role, but then find their skills and passions closely match a different position. Should they or their manager identify this, consider providing the resources to encourage this transition. A move sideways is still a move and demonstrates to the candidate that you are willing to invest in their development, which will subsequently increase their engagement.