Maggie BleharDecember 09, 2022
Topics: Employee Experience

How Newell Brands Illuminates Internal Mobility with a Talent Marketplace

If you can’t grow, you’re likely to go. This has been the reality for employees and employers alike over the last few years. So how can organizations future-proof their culture to ensure employees are engaged and evolving? 

Global company Newell Brands, which represents 100+ household brands like Sharpie, Crock Pot, and Yankee Candle, found an answer with an internal talent marketplace that helped boost employee retention, increased internal applicants, and decreased time to fill. 

Get the inside scoop from Ashley Blackmore, Director of North America Talent Acquisition & Operations at Newell Brands, who shared how her team is excelling with this innovative approach to internal mobility.

Watch her story right here, or read the highlights below.

Download the full Newell Brands case study here

How has Talent Acquisition evolved at Newell Brands?

In her role at Newell, Blackmore manages their North American recruiting team, a contingent workforce of temps, the campus recruiting and intern program, and interview scheduling. 

Keeping up with the company’s hiring demands requires creativity and constant pivots, but  it’s a challenge she enjoys. “My big focus and passion is on the operations side — everything that’s behind the scenes with recruiting, all of our talent branding, all of our systems and how they're integrated, and how we can continuously improve and be at the top of the game with HR tech.” 

This year, her team placed a new priority on the employee experience and developing internal talent. 

At Newell, there’s no shortage of opportunities for employees to grow and move. The challenge, instead, was providing visibility. “When you have 29,000 employees, it’s hard to get your head around ‘How do we do this?’ How do we make it constantly visible so that they know opportunities exist?” Blackmore said.

To answer this challenge, Newell identified some key areas to address:

  • Improve job alerts to internal employees

  • Update their internal career site 

  • Refresh their approach to


  • Get management on board with internal mobility 

  • Weave

    employee resource groups

    (ERGs) into internal mobility

In its former state, Newell’s internal job site was somewhat lackluster, Blackmore said, consisting of a list of open positions that were only searchable by location and business unit. And although employees could sign up to receive job alerts by function or location, the results weren’t always accurate.

“The technology, unfortunately, just wasn’t great,” she said. “As soon as I saw [Phenom] offered a product for internal mobility, I jumped right on it.”

Implementing Phenom Talent Marketplace helped Newell transform the job discovery process, with AI-assisted job recommendations matching employees to open job roles according to skill level and career aspirations.

Now that employees can easily discover internal job openings, applying is seamless, too.

Once employees complete a profile and sign up for job alerts, it’s just a three-click process to complete an application, which flows automatically into Newell’s ATS. 

Related resource: Cigna and Josh Bersin: Turning Skills-based Talent Mobility Into a Reality

How did you handle resistance to internal talent mobility?

At Newell, as in many organizations, some managers were hesitant to embrace internal mobility out of the fear of losing good employees. And when that happens, Blackmore said, “you tend to lose the employee [altogether].”

“We had to get the message out that this is our culture, and we want to encourage internal movement.” 

She took steps to educate managers that internal mobility benefits the whole organization by keeping valuable talent in-house. At the same time, she worked with corporate communications to raise awareness among employees about internal opportunities, and to assure them that Newell encourages movement. 

Once that happened, conversations about being held back at work stopped, said Blackmore.

What results have you seen since rolling out the talent marketplace?

Anecdotally, Blackmore hears a lot of positive feedback and interest in the program, indicating it’s answering a need. 

And numbers back that up with hard evidence: 129% increase in internal applications, 349 employee referrals, and 89% decrease in time to fill, to name a few. “Seeing these areas continue to move, and hearing people on my team saying ‘we’ve had so much more internal interest and opportunities,’ that’s something we did not have in the past, so it’s definitely working.”

In some cases, recruiters have been able to fill niche rolls within 5 days — rolls that typically see a 45- to 60-day time-to-fill period. 

“[It’s] definitely very refreshing when we’ve been able to close a lot of higher-level roles, which is what you want to see — people continuing to move up in the organization. Being able to fill those internally is definitely a great story,” Blackmore said. 

Can you share some best practices when it comes to referrals? 

It’s no secret that referrals make high-quality job candidates. In a SHRM study of approximately 14 million applicants, they found that employee referrals delivered 30% of all hires and 45% of internal hires. 

“Good people know good people,” Blackmore said when asked about referrals. It’s a great way to help engage employees, which is one reason she chose to focus on increasing referrals as part of Newell’s talent acquisition strategy. 

Her team promotes employee referrals with campaigns that generate excitement like:

  • Higher referral bonuses

  • Product giveaways

  • Lunch-and-learns that educate attendees on how to grow their referral network

Showing employees how easy it is to refer candidates through their talent marketplace has increased numbers.

How are you keeping engagement with internal mobility strong? 

Blackmore launched an initial campaign encouraging employees to set up profiles within the platform, but it didn’t stop there. Here a few ways she keeps a spotlight on internal mobility:

  • Promoting social media contests

    to encourage employees to post about their organization.

  • Establishing an

    interactive calendar

    within the talent marketplace that helps the team stay on track when informing employees about company innovations, product launches, and other news. 

  • Integrating ERGs

    into the platform to create a sense of community.  

  • Keeping content fresh

    (this is super-important, Blackmore says) with the help of AI that's working behind the scenes to serve up new jobs and keep the experience dynamic. 

Related reading: The Definitive Guide to Employee Experience

What’s up next for internal mobility at Newell?

By all indications, Newell has a lock on internal mobility, but Blackmore has much more in store for employees as the New Year approaches. Top goals include implementing a mentoring program, building an alumni network, setting up coffee chats, and continuing to use the platform to grow their ERG communities. 

This all demonstrates a commitment to employee growth and success — perhaps the most important element of all when it comes to internal mobility. 

For more on Newell’s success, download their full case study here.

To help boost employee mobility at your own organization, book a demo of Phenom Talent Marketplace.

Maggie Blehar

Maggie is a writer at Phenom, bringing you information on all things talent experience. In addition to writing, she enjoys traveling, painting, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. 

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