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Why Internal Mobility Can Take Your Team to the Next Level

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5 min read
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The post-pandemic world has created a number of challenges for HR managers. Aside from managing a historic shift to remote and flexible work arrangements, the new normal has also resulted in The Great Resignation and hiring freezes on a global scale. In fact, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 2.9% of employees (4.3 million) quit their jobs this August. To overcome this labor-driven economy, HR managers have begun turning to internal mobility solutions in an attempt to fill the gaps and retain top talent. 

As talent mobility opportunities become more mainstream, it’s important to understand how it works and what the benefits are for your company. In this post, we will do just that. We will also look at what’s required to develop an employee mobility strategy and the tools that can help you get the most from the process.

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Employee Mobility Definition 

Internal mobility, also known as talent mobility and employee mobility, is the internal transfer of employees to other jobs within a company. This might include moving to other positions, posts, or projects, lateral job swaps, shadowing, or horizontal promotions. 

Internal mobility is becoming an increasingly popular recruitment strategy. This is because many companies have been unable to recruit external talent due to budgetary limitations and other restrictions that have resulted from the pandemic and subsequent employment crisis. 

By focusing on employee mobility, companies have been able to develop existing employees to fill critical skill gaps in their organizations. In fact, many publications, including the Harvard Business Review, now claim that internal mobility is the most efficient path towards organizational success.  

Aside from benefitting the recruitment process, internal mobility also boosts retention and improves employee engagement. It provides employees with career development opportunities, enabling them to meet their professional goals and actively improve their skills.

Let’s take a look at some of these benefits in a bit more detail.

Benefits of Internal Mobility 

When the right strategy is implemented, internal mobility benefits both employers and employees:

  • Talent mobility allows you to operate more efficiently. This is especially beneficial when you consider the challenges many companies are currently experiencing as a result of the post-pandemic “new normal”. Most notably, because it provides a solution to staffing shortages and helps companies fill any resulting skill gaps in the organization.  
  • By focusing on career mobility instead of external recruitment, you will spend less time and money addressing understaffing and overstaffing issues. This includes posting job ads, running recruitment marketing campaigns, and sourcing and communicating with potential candidates. These recruitment processes can take a toll on already limited resources.  
  • In addition to reducing recruitment costs, you will also save on salaries as external candidates often have higher salary expectations than internal employees. In fact, on average, the starting salary of an external hire is 18-20% more than that of internal candidates. 
  • Unemployment is at its lowest rate in 50 years in the US. This means that workers have more career options and employers must compete for top talent. If you fail to offer internal mobility opportunities, then employees may look elsewhere. This results in increased turnover, lost productivity, and a big impact on company morale. Help your employees advance, or they will advance with another employer. 
  • On the other side of the coin, developing your internal talent through mobility will lead to an increase in employee engagement, motivation, and morale. This, in turn, will increase retention rates and reduce recruitment and onboarding costs associated with external hires.  
  • Finally, by focusing on the career advancement of your existing employees, you will also build a strong leadership pipeline. This means that when leadership vacancies do open up, you have talented employees ready and waiting to step in.

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Types of Internal Mobility in HRM 

Generally speaking, there are two types of internal mobility:

  • Role-to-role mobility: where employees change roles within the organization
  • Project-based mobility: where employees dedicate part of their working day to another project beyond the scope of their normal duties and responsibilities.

As an HR or recruitment manager, you should aim to focus on both approaches to employee mobility. You should also encourage cross-functional talent mobility. Focus on nurturing collaborations and multi-functional teams and push your employees to apply their skills and talents where it is required the most.

All this will help you capitalize on your internal labor market for the benefit of your organization. The key to success is designing a strategy that takes into account all aspects of internal mobility. You also need to make sure you use the right tools to support team members throughout employment transitions. 

Developing a Talent Mobility Strategy 

The aim of your talent mobility strategy should be to better understand the skills, motivations, and backgrounds of your workforce. You want your employees to understand that you are invested in their personal growth and success. In return, you will gain a better understanding of how talent can be developed laterally or vertically within your organization.

You should also consider the following internal mobility best practices when you design your strategy:

Consider future potential when recruiting new candidates

If you are still hiring from external talent pools (be it virtually or via traditional recruitment methods), consider the future potential of candidates, not just what they are capable of now. 

Is there scope for career development? Are they multi-talented, well-rounded individuals? Are your recruitment strategies focused on human design?

Create career paths for your employees

Encourage your employees to transition into new roles and learn new skills. Establish goals that challenge their career development. You also need to foster a company-wide culture of transparency. This includes transparency about what opportunities are available now, and what opportunities will be available in the future. 

Do your managers communicate regularly with employees about their career goals? Are there quantifiable goals for internal mobility? Do your employees have easy access to internal mobility opportunities?

Embrace internal mobility as a tool for organizational growth

Make sure your managers are clear on the benefits of promoting internal mobility programs. This will help you nurture a culture based on team development and individual growth. 

Do your managers have a clear understanding of the skills required for internal mobility? Can they communicate them effectively to their team?

Tools for Hiring Managers and Recruiters 

Embracing internal mobility is more of a philosophy than anything else. The ethos of career development should be woven into the culture of your organization. All managers and team members should embrace career mobility strategies and understand the benefits on an individual and company level. 

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a great number of benefits to using the right tools and technology to support and manage your employee mobility processes.

The right tools can help you map specific skills against roles within your company. They can help you provide the right training to develop your employees’ skills and promote the use of goals and incentives to further career development. An effective applicant tracking system can also be a great way to gain visibility of all the skills and expertise you have available within your company. 

An applicant tracking system is essentially a platform that is responsible for collecting candidate information. This allows recruiters to easily organize and filter the applicant pool. As a result, this leads to a more efficient recruitment process. In terms of internal mobility, it can help you categorize the skills of your existing employees and find the right person for the job.

Factorial’s intuitive and easy-to-use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) allows you to collect and track applicants throughout the entire internal or external hiring process. You can easily create your own customized hiring page, showcasing your company, team, available positions, and more. Best of all, the Factorial ATS system lets you effortlessly integrate new employees into Factorial’s HR recruitment software once hired. 

Sign up to Factorial and begin retaining and motivating your top talent today!

Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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