Kasey LynchJune 2, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

What is the Difference Between Talent Mobility and Talent Agility?

Talent agility is becoming increasingly critical as companies continue to look for new ways to lead their workforce through fluctuating and unpredictable market conditions. 

Creating an agile workforce is also an important element of the employee experience that’s rooted in talent development, being closely related to internal mobility and career pathing. 

The difference lies in the details, with internal mobility and talent agility referring to different elements of the employee journey. In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between talent agility and talent mobility, and highlight how these two approaches to talent management can work well together to drive employee engagement and retention. 

What is talent agility?

Talent agility refers to the ability of individuals within a workforce to adapt and respond quickly to changing circumstances, situations, and demands within their specific range of expertise or department in an organization. 

It essentially implies the combination of flexibility, learning agility, versatility, and the ability to quickly acquire new skills needed to perform their jobs in the face of evolving business needs or opportunities. Talent agility is a critical component of an effective internal mobility strategy that empowers employees to develop their skill sets and feel more confident in their abilities. 

There are numerous ways to create a more agile workforce, including:

  • Deploying employee growth and development programs

  • Leveraging AI to recommend ongoing learning opportunities

  • Offering mentoring programs, benefiting both mentor and mentee

  • Encouraging short-term work or gigs on an annual basis for skills development

Related: Improving Talent Agility Through Internal Mobility: The Definitive Guide

What is talent mobility? 

Although similar to talent agility, talent mobility is the movement of employees within an organization, between different roles, departments, functions, and/or locations. It involves the strategic and intentional deployment of talent to meet organizational needs, promote employee development, and drive overall business success.

The concept of talent mobility recognizes that employees possess a range of skills, experiences, and potential that can be harnessed and leveraged in various capacities. Rather than limiting employees to fixed roles or career paths, talent mobility emphasizes fluidity and adaptability throughout an organization's workforce.

Talent mobility can take various forms, including:

1. Internal transfers: Employees are moved from one position or department to another within the same organization. This can involve lateral moves or vertical promotions, allowing individuals to gain new experiences, expand their skill sets, and contribute to different parts of the business.

2. Cross-functional assignments or gigs: Employees are assigned temporary or project-based gigs outside their core function or department. This approach offers an opportunity for hands-on experience to build upon an existing skillset or gain experience in a different business area an individual might be interested in. Gigs are also a great way for organizations to redistribute their workforce and promote upskilling/reskilling to achieve goals that have evolved over time. 

3. International assignments: Employees are relocated to different countries or regions to work on assignments or projects. This type of mobility provides opportunities for cultural immersion, global understanding, and skill development in a diverse environment.

4. Job rotations: Employees are rotated through different roles or positions on a scheduled basis, allowing them to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the organization and its operations on a consistent basis. These types of assignments are typically tied to internship programs or entry-level positions offering insight and exposure into the business as a whole. 

What is the difference between talent mobility and talent agility? 

Although there are similarities, the biggest difference between talent mobility and talent agility is that ‘agility’ is focused on adaptation, innovation, and responsiveness to a particular situation or challenge within a specific role or department. Talent mobility refers to the movement of employees within a workforce to meet long-term organizational needs, promote employee development, and drive overall business success.

Without an agile workforce, supporting and executing talent mobility strategies would be very difficult. An organization's workforce should be able to adapt to unexpected challenges — a skillset that has been invaluable to businesses recovering from the uncertain economic climate we’ve been facing lately. 

Talent mobility offers the trajectory path for agile individuals to expand upon their skills, explore other areas of the business, contribute to company goals in new ways, and develop their own career paths. 

Foster an agile and mobile workforce with Phenom

If your organization is struggling to improve employee engagement, support career progression, or pivot in the face of changing social and economic conditions, consider how an internal talent marketplace can help you streamline and execute your talent goals. According to Gartner, 30% of large enterprises will deploy a talent marketplace to optimize talent agility across the organization. 

With AI-powered features, a talent marketplace can highlight career paths, recommend gigs or learning opportunities, foster mentoring and community, improve visibility into the entire workforce, uncover skills gaps, and more. 

To find out how a talent marketplace can transform talent agility, mobility, and retention at your company, check out an on demand product tour of Phenom Talent Marketplace

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

Get the latest talent experience insights delivered to your inbox.

Sign up to the Phenom email list for weekly updates!


© 2024 Phenom People, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • ANA
  • CSA logo
  • IAF
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ANAB