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May 9, 2022

Internal mobility is a strategic priority for any company looking to better recruit, engage, and retain talent. The pandemic, labor shortage, and the Great Resignation have forced organizations to rethink how they empower their workforce. 

According to new findings by Aptitude Research, 70% of companies have increased their investment in internal mobility, compared to 58% in 2020. Additionally, 1 in 2 employers have increased their number of internal hires this year.

The movement of talent into different positions is not new. Companies have been hyper-focused on internal mobility and career progression during various periods of uncertainty. When hiring slows down or turnover spikes, internal mobility becomes the go-to strategy.

But today, companies have adjusted their responsibilities, strategies, and technology adoption. Internal mobility is no longer an isolated activity or a quick fix during a time of transition. It is a critical part of any talent strategy, at the intersection between talent acquisition and employee experience. 

Unfortunately, many internal mobility programs are difficult to implement and often fail before they begin. Many companies rely on traditional methods of moving employees across their organization without providing a fair, equitable, and personalized experience. Organizations tend to turn to technology without fixing process or cultural challenges. As a result, internal candidates are treated like strangers. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from Aptitude Research’s report:

Technology will not fix internal mobility. Companies must do the work to engage and support internal candidates better. They should start with their processes, culture, and communication before investing in technology. 

With both core HR systems and best-of-breed talent acquisition providers offering advanced capabilities, it is tempting for companies to turn to technology before evaluating their own strategies. Nearly 50% of organizations stated that managers make it difficult to support internal mobility. This frustration is a cultural and process-driven challenge rather than a technological one. 

Internal candidates are treated like strangers. Only 1 in 2 companies personalize feedback and learning opportunities for internal candidates. As a result, internal candidates are treated like strangers by their employer and often do not receive a response. 

What’s more, only 26% of companies personalize communication to internal candidates and 55% of internal candidates go through the same interview process as external candidates. Companies that do not provide a personalized experience for internal candidates risk losing them completely if they do not receive the job.

Companies have better technology options today. The technology landscape for internal mobility has become crowded and complex. Only half of companies are satisfied with the technology they are using to support internal mobility. 

Fortunately, employers have better options to both engage internal talent and provide opportunities for growth. Companies looking at adopting a skills-based approach should consider providers with robust skill frameworks and AI capabilities that infer skills beyond what is found on a profile.

Ownership is a challenge. One in four companies stated that talent acquisition does not want responsibility for internal mobility. It often feels like more work with less direction and reward. Companies must shift the narrative around internal mobility and empower TA leaders with the resources they need, while incentivizing recruiting teams to hire both internal and external talent. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion is impacted by internal mobility. Eighty-five percent of companies stated that DEI is impacted by internal mobility. Companies have an opportunity to provide fair and equitable experiences for all employees with a strategic internal mobility approach. 

Yet for companies that do not have a diverse workforce, internal mobility will not improve DEI. When internal mobility is incorporated in talent acquisition efforts, however, organizations have greater visibility and control into DEI initiatives.  

Ultimately, internal mobility is not a short-term fix for retention or recruitment challenges. Companies must transform their approach to talent and provide opportunities and personalized experiences for both internal and external candidates. 

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