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Sep 2, 2020

With the new world of work changing hiring practices, internal mobility is becoming more and more relevant as companies look within their organization and redeploy their talent to where it’s needed most.

Even before the pandemic, we predicted that internal mobility would be a top trend in 2020, finding that internal role changes within organizations (via promotion, transfer, or lateral move) have increased by 10% over the past five years. 

Which is not surprising: Not only does internal mobility reduce time to hire and onboarding costs, but it boosts retention too. Almost half of employees stay longer at companies that use internal mobility as a strategy, compared to those who don’t.

With the world of work likely not going back to normal any time soon, building an effective internal mobility strategy is paramount. Here are a few tips to do so.

Focus on Learning and Development

Both TA and L&D have unique insights into the needs of the business. Yet today, few companies can point to a strong collaboration between both teams. In fact, only 23% of L&D professionals say they partner with their company’s recruiting team to identify skills gaps and hard-to-fill roles. 

By bridging the gap and working closely with L&D to identify skills gaps and develop upskilling programs, you are more equipped to help your employees pivot to new roles — while keeping your company’s skill base up to date.

For example, Ajay Sah, vice president and head of TA at Capgemini, says his company has always focused on internal mobility, but the pandemic has increased its importance. Capgemini’s team makes sure all employees are aware of open roles and collaborates with L&D to identify and fill gaps.

Focus on Employee Engagement

Today, the majority of internal moves are driven by employees. In fact, nearly three-fourths of TA professionals  admit that internal changes usually begin with employees finding jobs on internal job boards. Only half say hiring managers reach out, and almost as many (45%) say employees hear about jobs through word of mouth.

By taking a more intentional approach to internal recruiting and encouraging recruiters to think about their current workforce, you can create stronger employee engagement by showing employees that you’re thinking about them first and foremost for open roles. This approach also leads to a more agile and adaptive workforce that can pivot to meet changes in the market, gain resilience, and successfully take on cross-functional projects. 

One company that’s doing this well is Schneider Electric. It launched an AI-driven internal mobility platform, Open Talent Market, which gives employees access to job postings, mentors, training, and part-time projects. And now, given the shifting realities posed by COVID-19, it allows workforce optimization by matching managers who don’t have enough manpower with employees who have the capacity and bandwidth to help. As a result, the company expects the platform will cut attrition, increase employee engagement, and accelerate the upskilling and reskilling of employees. Speaking of… 

Focus on Skills

With the amount of data and information available today, it’s important to identify which skills your company has a surplus of and which skills are transferable. You may be surprised to find that your workforce already has the exact or adjacent skills to meet the demand for critical roles.

It’s also important to prioritize skills and transferable experience when it comes to internal mobility. Your employees already understand how your business works and are aligned with your company values. By giving them access to online learning, coaching, and mentoring, they can often quickly bridge the knowledge gap for the new internal role, helping them ramp up faster than if you’d hired someone externally who ticked all of the boxes. 

There are many examples of learners who have successfully changed teams or roles: business analysts becoming product owners, project engineers becoming project managers, IT solutions specialists becoming solutions architects. With the right tools and resources, you can easily upskill and reskill your workforce for your hiring needs, as opposed to looking outside for talent. 

While the workplace looks much different today than it once did, time-tested strategies like internal recruiting can help. Companies that take the time to invest in building thoughtful internal mobility strategies will not only accelerate the hiring process but, most importantly, will engage and retain your top talent. 

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