“Intraplacement”: Reduce Retention Problems By Increasing The Internal Movement Of Your Employees

In these times of low unemployment, recruiters are constantly on the lookout for the best talent to fill open positions. We put tremendous resources into external sourcing and recruiting, but most of the time we fail to actively seek out some of the best candidates in the world-those that are literally right under our noses… our own employees! Sure, most companies have internal job posting systems but many were designed in the 1950’s before Generation Xer’s and technology came along! These traditional systems almost universally rely on the employee to initiate the search for a position while Intraplacement systems use Intrarecruiters to proactively seek out and place the best internal candidates (even though they might not be actively seeking a new position)! Intraplacement is a dynamic process that uses the tools and strategies of external search and applies them to internal candidates. Internal candidates are superior to external candidates because they usually have a much higher success rate in their new jobs than external candidates. This is because they already know “our” culture and they have already performed well in it. But they might also be “passive job seekers” with poor job search skills. If you don’t act to keep their career moving, they could easily become your next retention problem. Many existing job-posting systems have serious flaws. Employees are often frustrated with them for a variety of reasons. Finding out the “real scoop” on a potential new job takes hours of “detective” work and if you are not well connected, it’s a shot in the dark. Firms post the openings on the bulletin board but just browsing through it can get you instantly branded as a disloyal team member. Some bosses even “hold back” the best employees from transfers for their own advantage and brand those who transfer often as “job jumpers.” Increasing the internal movement of our employees through Intraplacement (it can also be called “Intrasourcing” or “Intramovement”) has additional benefits beyond the higher success rates of internal candidates. These include “back-fill” capabilities in case of an unexpected opening; increased retention rates; higher levels of motivation, and an increase and expansion of our employees’ competencies. The currently tight job market has forced companies to look at new ways to motivate, grow, and retain their workers. Intraplacement reduces turnover by increasing opportunities for employees to grow and to be challenged. It assists employees in moving to new projects, opportunities, and jobs within the company. Effective Intraplacement Programs use a combination of internal posting, external sourcing, and career development tools to accomplish its goals. This piece will give you insight into how top firms have increased their internal movement. It will help you improve your current job posting system or show you how to replace it with a totally new Intraplacement system. How does Intraplacement differ from current programs? Intraplacement differs from the more traditional job posting systems in a variety of ways including:

  • Intraplacement is a shared partnership where the company assists candidates by increasing their opportunities to learn and grow within the firm. Under the traditional job posting systems candidates are pretty much “on their own” to place themselves. Intraplacement is a proactive approach that helps employees get placed. It assumes that many internal candidates are “passive” and that they don’t automatically possess great job search skills (if they did, they might use them to leave our company)!
  • It focuses on corporate needs as well as employee wants. It attempts to guide employees toward areas where the corporation has the most need, rather than the more random approach of most job posting systems, where an employee must decide on their own where the best fit for their skills would be. Internal job posting relies on the employee to decide when and where they want to move. But THEIR “when and where” may not actually be in their OR the corporation’s best interest.
  • Intraplacement is a flexible, multi-opportunity approach. It differs from the traditional “whole job” approach in that it also seeks out project assignments, “part-time” job rotations as well as promotions and transfers to increase the number of opportunities for employees to grow.
  • It can be an “attention getter” that excites current employees and helps attract external candidates as the word spreads about the number and variety of opportunities available to our employees.
  • Intraplacement actively uses internal recruiting specialists, “redeployers” and their tools to identify potential internal candidates for “growth” opportunities. Common candidate identification tools include interest inventories, forced rankings, assessment centers, 360-degree feedback, and just talking to managers and employees. Under the traditional approach, employees must aggressively seek out their own opportunities and determine if there is a skill “fit.” Unfortunately, that also means that fewer employees are likely to take advantage of the “correct” growth opportunities, resulting in less capable and motivated employees for the firm.
  • Intra-recruiters assist the candidate in assessing opportunities and in marketing and selling themselves to internal managers. Under traditional job posting, many posted jobs are “wired” or are really not available to “unknown” candidates. Intraplacement recruiters can assist in pre-qualifying candidates for opportunities for which they are a reasonable match. By avoiding multiple “turndowns,” you can help reduce the frustration that can occur with many job-posting systems.

Why is Intraplacement becoming more necessary? There are a variety of reasons why you can no longer rely on your old job posting system to maximize internal movement in today’s job market. They include:

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  1. With a low unemployment rate, employees have more opportunities to leave then in the lean years of the early 90’s. Their inability to move during those years now makes them more eager to leave at the slightest point of frustration.
  2. Generation Xer’s often have a lower tolerance for stagnation than earlier generations.
  3. Global and multi-location operations make it almost impossible to be “in the know” about all job opportunities. With modern technology (Intranets, e-mail, and the Web) it is now possible to help employees move between jobs without having to meet them face to face.
  4. Mergers have also increased the size of firms. Mergers often create “US vs. THEM” camps which tend to “hire their own.” Intraplacement programs can help break down these barriers and help build a cohesive company.
  5. The rate of change and the growth of information has increased to “Internet” speed. This trend can teach employees to think and learn quicker than ever before but it also raises their expectations for change and growth. This need for change and growth can seldom be met without the addition of new “help” resources.

Possible advantages of Intraplacement: There are many reasons why companies are putting increased emphasis on Intraplacement programs. Some of them include:

  • Attracting and retaining employees becomes easier if you have a work environment where people are constantly being challenged and are given new opportunities to grow (one of the prime reasons people leave jobs is due to the lack of challenge).
  • Employees feel more wanted and important and they are often excited that someone is actually taking an interest in their career development.
  • It speeds up the job placement rate in the company (especially for “passive job searchers”) which helps keep employees motivated. It also increases employee learning and it gives employees a broader range of experience, making them more competent to “back fill” openings.
  • Particularly in the hi-tech field, many employees from technical backgrounds are weak in communication and job search skills. Intraplacement helps move this important group toward greater challenges (which is especially important because technical employees have so many external employment options).
  • Intraplacement focuses on increasing the total number of challenges and learning opportunities available to employees not just on getting employees new job titles and promotions. Intraplacement can offer projects, short-term assignments, or part-time (one day a week, mornings, etc.) job rotations, so it is more flexible than traditional placement.
  • It uses “push” technology to drive targeted job information to the employee through e-mails and paycheck insert notices.
  • Career development becomes a shared responsibility under Intraplacement.
  • Intraplacement can increase the movement and growth of employees who lack self-confidence, are loyal team players, are shy or that just have rusty job search skills.
  • It minimizes or eliminates most job posting “rules” (like requiring a minimum stay and allowing a manager to veto a move) in order to increase movement.
  • It allows managers to partially own the placement system. It also makes it easier for the manager to find the internal talent they need to operate.
  • Intraplacement can increase the amount of information we have about our employee’s interests and capabilities.

Next week – Steps in Intra-placement

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on www.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.