Kasey LynchMay 14, 2024
Topics: Employee Experience

What is Internal Mobility and Why is it Important?

Creating an impactful and supportive employee experience goes beyond offering great benefits, unlimited PTO, and other perks — it involves helping your workers understand where they fit into your organization and where they can aspire to go without leaving the proverbial building. This is where internal mobility comes in.

When supported by the right technology, internal mobility programs can remove any confusion around professional growth, highlighting potential career paths for each and every individual. This improved visibility helps employees:

  • Take control of their unique career journey

  • Visualize their future at your company 

  • Build out an action plan that will help them achieve their goals

  • Feel empowered to grow their careers without leaving 

Sounds amazing right? But now you might be thinking, what is internal mobility and why is it important? Keep reading to find out. 

Table of Contents

    What Is Internal Mobility?

    Internal mobility refers to the vertical or horizontal movement of employees to a new role, career, or developmental opportunity within the same organization.

    Also referred to as “internal talent mobility” or “talent mobility”, this function is best supported by career pathing frameworks. Compared to career pathing, internal mobility focuses on the move from one position to another within an organization, whereas career pathing highlights the potential moves an individual can make along their career journey.

    Related Resource: Quadient's Key to Internal Mobility & Creating an Agile Workforce That Lasts

    For example, let’s say a recruiter is looking to fill a position within the marketing department at your business. Instead of looking externally to hire someone from another company, they use internal recruiting methods to find an existing employee who has the right skills and interests that could make them an ideal fit for the open role. 

    On the other side of this equation is the employee. Within a talent marketplace (an internal HR platform built to connect employees with new opportunities), the employee can see available positions within the business that they might be a good fit for, based on skills and experience. If the employee has already identified a lateral movement to marketing as an ideal next step in their career path, they likely will apply. 

    According to SHRM, over 60% of employees who are promoted within the first 3 years are likely to stay within the organization. On top of boosting retention, by recruiting from within, employers are able to:

    • Cut down on sourcing time for recruiters

    • Reduce time to hire for critical positions

    • Empower employees to take on new responsibilities

    • Support employee development and upskilling 

    Especially in uncertain economic and talent landscapes, internal mobility allows businesses to be adaptable while supporting both short- and long-term retention. 

    Why is Internal Mobility Important? 

    In response to the waves of unexpected HR trends — like The Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting — savvy HR leaders are looking for new ways to boost retention and engagement to prevent highly qualified candidates from walking out the door. Here are a couple of reasons why internal mobility is important in this endeavor. 

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

    It creates a more holistic view of your workforce capabilities 

    Internal mobility helps remove the barrier between what an employee was hired to do and what they can truly achieve within your business. 

    Traditionally, an organization might view a new employee to address one particular role in the business. Taking a step back and viewing their contributions more holistically, HR leaders can explore the value employees bring to the table that might extend beyond their current roles and responsibilities. After all, we’re multi-faceted individuals with numerous skill sets and unique experiences. 

    Focusing on internal mobility strategies that improve visibility throughout your business can help create a clearer picture of what’s possible for your employees, especially if they’re looking to take that next step in their career path. 

    It boosts employee engagement and retention 

    Another reason why internal mobility is important is because of its ability to encourage employee engagement. Internal hiring success stories are impactful and inspiring for existing employees who want to take on more responsibility. These types of stories are also beneficial for those who want to take that next step, but might not be ready. 

    Hearing about a coworker who made a horizontal or vertical movement can open an employee’s eyes to the possibilities available within your business. It also keeps your company top of mind when they are ready to take the next step in their career. 

    Explore how Phenom Talent Marketplace can maximize your internal mobility efforts here.

    4 Benefits of Internal Mobility

    Approaching internal mobility through the lens of driving talent agility allows your business to think long-term and focus on scalable solutions. Here are four benefits of internal mobility for your talent acquisition and talent management teams: 

    1. Streamline internal talent acquisition and broaden your talent pool 

    Your workforce is full of individuals with unique talents that are already aligned with your company’s mission, values, and vision. They understand your processes and function as a vetted pool of talent that’s available to upskill into future roles or fill critical positions on the fly. 

    By highlighting available roles in internal job boards, or a talent marketplace, your TA team can expand your talent pipeline, offer new opportunities to employees, and create internal mobility success stories when existing talent migrates into new positions. 

    There are fewer things better than showing employees what’s possible at your business than having success stories spread by word of mouth. On top of this, companies like Newell Brands decreased time to fill by 89% after adopting an internal recruiting strategy supported by the right HR technology. 

    The possibilities are endless when you start to look at the untapped potential under your roof. 

    2. Improve visibility for employees, managers, and leaders 

    Visibility is critical when you’re trying to create a more agile workforce. Keeping employees top of mind during large changes caused by internal or external factors helps ensure that workers feel like they’ve been kept in the loop. The best way to ensure they have access to the tools and resources they need during times of uncertainty is by housing all internal mobility features in one place. 

    We recommend using a talent marketplace to support internal mobility efforts since it keeps career pathing, internal mobility, mentoring opportunities, learning and development, and more in one easy-to-access location. It also creates a platform that can be used to communicate updates to the entire business. (Keep reading to learn about a real-world example of this approach.)

    With all of these features in one place, employees can engage with content, managers can recommend upskilling opportunities based on one-on-one conversations, and leaders can track adoption alongside other metrics. This type of organization-wide visibility is an integral part of fostering scalable talent agility. 

    Related Resource: Talent Marketplace: The Next Evolution in Internal Mobility and Career Intelligence

    3. Allow for future planning based on highlighted skills gaps in the workforce 

    Piggybacking off of improved visibility, internal mobility programs supported by intelligent AI and automation can help highlight skills gaps in the organization. When expectations change and adjustments need to be made, it’s hard to know how successful revamp efforts will be when you don’t know what your workforce is capable of. 

    Gaining insight into skills gaps through employee profiles allows leaders and managers to determine who is available to upskill into new roles or fill critical gaps that could make or break their strategy when looking to achieve new goals. 

    Understanding skills gaps offers a deeper understanding of what a business can truly accomplish in-house before looking externally to add to the roster. It also drives smarter, data-driven hiring decisions. 

    4. Foster talent agility, creating a more resilient workforce 

    Internal mobility programs keep learning opportunities and career development paths at the forefront of employees’ minds. By visualizing the next steps and getting recommendations on how to take those steps, individuals can broaden their skill set, gain experience in other departments, and explore their passions — all while contributing to the business's bottom line. 

    Employees with various skill sets can be shifted throughout the company to lend a helping hand and gain hands-on experience. Regardless if they choose to update their career path based on what they’ve learned, they’ll always be able to feel confident in their abilities to take on new responsibilities. They will also know that your company supports their individual growth which goes a long way in today’s hiring climate. 

    Armed with new skills and experiences, your workforce becomes more adaptable and agile every day. Internal mobility is truly the key to creating a more resilient workforce. 

    3 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Improve Internal Mobility

    Now that we’ve covered why internal mobility is important, how can you implement an effective program at your organization? The best approach to launching an effective internal mobility strategy is by assessing your existing technology. 

    Choosing an AI-powered talent marketplace that offers internal mobility, career pathing, and learning and development functions can streamline adoption, highlight valuable insights, and kickstart your internal mobility efforts. 

    Downloadable Resource: Talent Marketplace Buyer's Guide

    However, we understand that long-term internal mobility solutions that really move the needle take time. With that said, here are 3 steps you can take right now to start improving internal mobility efforts at your company: 

    1. Post open roles to internal job boards or your talent marketplace 

    Your workforce is full of untapped potential that can be upskilled to meet evolving or future business needs. If you’re only posting jobs on external job boards, you’re skipping over a massive pool of potential candidates that already align with your company values. 

    By posting available jobs in easy-to-access areas, like a talent marketplace, employees can learn about open roles across the business as they become available. This step alone helps recruiters broaden their talent pool, creating a new funnel of potential candidates. 

    If you want to go above and beyond, highlight available courses and short-term projects within your talent marketplace or employee portal as well. This can reduce the number of hurdles employees have to jump when they’re interested in acquiring more skills that help them develop. 

    2. Ask coworkers to refer their work friends to open positions 

    Whether you’re focused on talent acquisition or talent management, referrals are an ideal way to find high-quality candidates. After sharing new roles on your talent marketplace, consider sending an internal email asking your employees to recommend their coworkers for available roles. 

    Want impressive results? Incentive this effort by offering a gift card as a thank you for referring a coworker to an open position. 

    3. Highlight available positions in company emails and newsletters 

    Not every employee checks internal portals for available positions. To ensure you’re getting as much exposure as possible for open roles, share your most recent job postings via emails (such as a company newsletter) and messaging apps. 

    Elevating open roles and promoting them internally highlights your company’s commitment to hiring from within while getting as many eyes on it as possible. 

    Drive Impactful Results with an Internal Mobility Program 

    Internal mobility is mission-critical when it comes to fostering engagement, creating a more agile workforce, and boosting retention. By implementing an internal mobility program, your business can effectively communicate any unexpected changes while giving employees the tools they need to succeed. 

    Promoting from within and leveraging the untapped potential of your existing workforce is one of the best ways to fill critical roles and create lasting relationships with your employees. Whether an individual wants to move vertically or horizontally, leveraging internal mobility HR technology can make it easy for them to draw a line from where they are now to where they want to be. 

    At Phenom, we focus on creating holistic solutions that will support your internal mobility efforts and foster talent agility in a way that’s scalable, reliable, and data-driven. 

    Through Phenom Talent Marketplace, we offer all the features you need to successfully implement your internal mobility frameworks, including:  

    • Career Pathing — improve visibility into available roles across the business while highlighting a clear set of possibilities for each employee based on their skills, expertise, location, and interests. 

    • Gigs — connect employees with short-term projects to help different departments achieve their goals while gaining hands-on experience and acquiring new skills to help them achieve their next career milestone. 

    • Mentoring — engineered to leverage AI and machine learning, Phenom Mentoring recommends best-fit mentors and makes registering to be a mentor a simple, straightforward process. 

    • Referrals — easily tap into your employees’ networks, fill critical roles faster, and track successes through real-time analytics. 

    • Employee Resource Groups — empower your workforce to connect with their coworkers, build internal networks, and engage with open roles while fostering a better sense of belonging.  

    To learn more about what Phenom Talent Marketplace can help you achieve, check out our Definitive Guide

    Want to take a closer look at how Phenom Talent Marketplace works? Take an on-demand product tour in under 30 minutes

    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. 

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