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What’s your business’ internal mobility strategy?
In today’s candidate-led market, employers are needing to go above and beyond to secure the best talent. However, many organisations are overlooking a clear solution – their own workforce. Often, the best person for a role is already employed by a company, so 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 demand for talent grows, 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, it’s not getting any easier to hire. The unemployment rate continues to drop, and expectations of employees continue to rise, meaning businesses cannot rely on reputation or salary alone. The competition is tough, and the stakes are only getting higher.
Multiple studies have shown that career progression is incredibly important for both candidate attraction and retention – the 2018 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees would stay longer if the company invested in their careers,1 while a Deloitte study found 51% of millennials consider career progression as the second most important priority when looking for a new role.2
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. What’s more, businesses that promote internally are 32% more likely to be happy with the quality of their new hire, while external hires are 61% more likely to be let go within the first year of employment.3
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.