Employees are the backbone of every organization. Happy, engaged employees translate to higher rates of customer satisfaction and a better bottom line for companies. Recent HR trends have demonstrated companies’ renewed investments in all areas of the employee experience, including onboarding, performance management, and employee development and growth.
Yet, surveys show that half of all employees are actively looking for new jobs. As a result of low unemployment rates and growing skills gaps, companies need to reexamine their recruiting efforts. In addition to attracting external candidates, they also need a sustainable, scalable strategy to reduce employee turnover. How? By creating a culture where employees can be engaged, have access to continuous learning opportunities, and grow in their careers. This has made internal mobility a hot topic for CHROs across many verticals and geographies.
The need to implement internal mobility, combined with the rise in AI-based technology, has helped create numerous tools and platforms that address employee experience. These tools enable employees to find internal job opportunities, identify skills gaps, and tap into appropriate learning and development resources needed to design their careers.
But purchasing an internal mobility tool is only the first step in establishing a culture where employees feel empowered to take charge of their careers. While technology tools play an important role in helping companies retain their best talent, barriers to implementing a successful internal mobility strategy remain.
Here’s how companies can address the three main challenges—policies, managers, and mindset—to make the most of their new product:
1. Refresh Company Policies that Limit Internal Mobility
Many organizations have very basic internal mobility strategies which do not extend beyond retaining their high-performing employees. A successful strategy is one that has executive buy-in and is top down.
Ensure that there is clear agreement among your executive leadership about why an internal mobility plan is needed. Build policies as guardrails to guide employees to their growth opportunities.
Communicate internal mobility goals. When launching a program, make sure employees have access to appropriate training. Tools must be simple to use and assimilate all available employee information.
Establish policies informing employees when they are eligible to apply for another job. For example, many organizations require that employees remain in a role for a minimum of 12–18 months before they can be considered for another role in the company.
Empower the talent acquisition team to prioritize internal candidates by encouraging them to post jobs internally for a specified amount of time before posting them externally.
Create surveys to measure employee engagement and satisfaction, and communicate the results to employees, including plans for improvement.
2. Train Managers to Encourage Employee Development
Many employees are more comfortable looking for a job outside the company rather than inside. The reason is twofold. First, employees may feel a sense of discomfort sharing their career aspirations with their managers, fearing implied disloyalty—especially if their next job takes them outside of their current department. Second, many managers are mistrustful that other managers/teams might “poach” their best employees.
Create transparency by publicly and frequently communicating the culture of cross-department and cross-location mobility.
Provide managers with the right leadership training so that they can be mentors and coaches to their reports. Encourage them to have continuous feedback conversations with team members to discuss career aspirations, and provide the tools for them to guide their reports towards the best opportunities.
3. Transform the Culture to a Growth Mindset
Companies seeking to fill important roles are looking for candidates based on their current proven skill set. In order to scale internal mobility, companies need to have a growth mindset, looking at an employee’s potential to transfer their skills and shoulder responsibilities across functions.
Believe in your employees. It takes external hires up to two years to get fully onboarded and settled into a new company. Current employees have the advantage of already knowing the inner workings of the company—and they have an established network that they can tap into for help. In addition, they are aligned with company goals and values, and have adapted to company culture.
Invest in professional development. There is a small risk in hiring internal candidates for positions that they may not have the skills or experience for. However, identifying those skills gaps and providing the right learning opportunities with mentoring and support is helpful in addressing lack of experience.
Provide opportunities for employees to volunteer or apply for short-term gigs or projects in other departments that may be of interest to them. This provides a chance for them to interact with prospective teams and learn new skills, while determining whether they are a good fit for future roles within that function.
Companies that invest in talent mobility tools and technologies are already on the path to improving employee engagement and growth. By achieving executive alignment, establishing strong communication channels and manager training programs, and empowering employees to expand their skillsets, companies can ensure that their internal mobility investment pays off.
Looking for more information about Internal Mobility? Check out our webinar, The Future of Employee Experience: Career Pathing & Internal Mobility.