Understanding Talent Mobility: What Steps You Should Take To Encourage Talent Growth

As employee turnover continues to rise and businesses face challenges to retain talent, business leaders are emphasizing the employee experience—better training, benefits, and support.

Unfortunately, many businesses lack talent mobility. Employees frequently believe that changing jobs at their current company is difficult, if not impossible; 80% of workers believe that their current employer does not provide opportunities for advancement. Employers must act swiftly to give employees a reason to stay as this trend gains traction.

If you want to increase retention and engagement by putting your employees in charge of their careers, talent mobility should be one of your top priorities. A talent mobility strategy that allows employees to reach their full potential will benefit both your people and your business.

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Understanding Talent Mobility

In general, these moves are influenced by a few factors. These factors include the employees’ skill sets, new skills they want to learn, and career paths they want to pursue. Talent mobility can also be used to fill talent or skill gaps within an organization. Vertical mobility vs. horizontal mobility

When it comes to talent, there are two types of mobility to consider: vertical mobility and horizontal mobility.

Employees with vertical mobility advance to higher positions and job levels. They are essentially promoted within the company.

Let’s say you have a marketing manager who takes the initiative. And you promote them to marketing director as a result of their initiative and hard work. That is an illustration of vertical mobility.

Horizontal mobility is distinct. Through horizontal mobility, employees are moved to new positions within the company, albeit at the same job level as their previous role. This is also defined as a “lateral” move.

Assume you have an executive assistant (EA) who works for a C-level executive, such as your Chief Marketing Officer. Reassigning that EA to a new executive, such as the CHRO, would be considered horizontal mobility. The employee is taking on a new role, but it is a sideways move rather than a role that comes with a pay or authority increase.

Talent Mobility vs. Internal Mobility

If you’ve heard the term ‘internal mobility,’ you may be curious how it differs from talent mobility. The same can be said for the phrase “internal talent mobility.”

In short, they do not.

Internal talent mobility and internal mobility are simply synonyms for talent mobility. They are terms used to describe the process of transferring current employees to new positions within the company.

Consider promoting a key team member to an available spot within their current department. What if you transfer an employee from one department to another, such as marketing to data analytics? It can be referred to as talent mobility, internal mobility, or internal talent mobility. These are all essentially interchangeable terms.

The Advantages of Talent Mobility

Talent mobility provides numerous benefits to both organizations and employees.

So, what exactly are those advantages?

Some of the most significant advantages of implementing an effective talent mobility strategy are as follows:

Retaining best talent

BestThe best talent must be retained if your company is to remain competitive. And talent mobility is an excellent way to maintain high retention rates.

Current team members can greatly benefit from talent mobility. Employees are offered the chance to advance their careers and learn new skills while growing professionally. This, in turn, demonstrates to employees that the organization is committed to their professional development. They are more confident in their jobs with the company. And when employees believe their company is investing in them for the long term, they are more likely to stay with that company.

Recruiting new employees

Talent mobility does more than just help with retention. It can also help your company improve talent acquisition and recruit top talent.

How? A strong talent management strategy enhances the employee experience. When your employees believe they have opportunities for advancement, your company will begin to establish a reputation.

What kind of reputation do you have? Notoriety for being a great company to work, a great place to settle down, and a place with a diverse range of opportunities.

And what happens when that reputation spreads in the talent market? Top talent will be lining up to work for you.

Enhanced employee engagement

Employee engagement is a major issue in the majority of organizations. According to Gallup, only 36% of employees in the United States are engaged at work.

Fortunately, there is a method for significantly increasing employee engagement within your organization: talent mobility.

When employees have opportunities for advancement, it demonstrates that the company is interested in their professional development. This can increase their commitment to and engagement with their work, ultimately increasing engagement.

And an increase in engagement can have a variety of positive consequences for an organization. Based on the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report, engaged employees are 17 percent more productive and have a 41% lower absenteeism rate than their less-engaged counterparts. Gallup also discovered that engaged employees are 37% less likely to be looking for work than disengaged employees, compared to 73%.

Less time spent onboarding

Another significant advantage of talent mobility is easier onboarding. Specifically, how it can help you save time and energy during the onboarding process.

There will, of course, be a learning curve when internal candidates are promoted to new positions. You’ll need to train them for their new role, as well as all of the new tasks and responsibilities that come with it.

However, the learning curve for existing employees will be much shorter than for external candidates. New employees must be introduced to everything. This includes how your company operates as well as all of your processes, policies, and procedures. Internal hires can skip this phase of the onboarding process because they already work for your company, saving time, energy, and resources.

Internal candidates will also be able to get up to speed much faster than new hires. According to Deloitte research, it can take new hires nearly two years to attain the level of productivity of an internal hire.

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What are the Five Elements of Talent Mobility?

A talent mobility program should focus on career pathing, open jobs and internal recruiting, workforce analytics, projects, and mentor marketplaces to be effective.

We’ll go over how you can use these pillars in more detail below:

1. Recommended Learning and Career Pathing

Through talent mobility, career pathing, and recommended learning, it can be simple for employees to learn about different careers, identify skill gaps, and receive recommended projects, mentors, and learning resources to close those gaps.

2. Available roles and internal recruiting

Employees are notified when they are recommended for open positions, and recruiters are notified when employees are proposed for open positions, making the internal recruiting process run smoothly. This function also enables recruiters to notify and push jobs to employees in order to encourage them to apply.

3. Projects Marketplace

Since it recommends projects based on skills and skill gaps, the project marketplace serves as a one-stop shop for employees to explore and engage in projects. Once assigned to a project, the line manager and employees can interact directly on the platform.

4. Mentor Marketplace

A mentor marketplace is a professional networking platform where employees can can provide their knowledge, skills, and experiences in exchange for the ability to easily find other workers looking for mentorship. It recommends mentors to employees who are looking to connect with someone based on their career goals and skill gaps. Once aligned, the mentor and mentee can communicate through the platform about upcoming projects or topics of discussion.

5. Analytics for the Workforce

Workforce analytics offers talent insights such as career goals, skills gaps, and development opportunities. Organizational skill insights, such as talent strengths and gaps, are also available.

How to Develop Talent Mobility to Encourage Talent Growth

Talent mobility is clearly a win-win situation for both organizations and employees. But, when it pertains to talent mobility, what are the benchmarks to remember?

Here are our top three suggestions for fostering talent mobility in your workplace.

1. Acquire the assistance of your executive team

To be successful, your talent mobility program, like any other, requires the support of your executive team. So, before you get too far into developing your talent mobility strategy, ensure that your executive team is on board.

Make a meeting with your C-level executives. Request that your HR team prepare a presentation outlining your talent mobility strategy. Make sure to highlight the benefits—and how talent mobility will benefit not only your employees but also the organization.

Create an internal mobility business case. Recruit your executive team. If your top executives endorse talent mobility, the strategy will be easier to implement across the organization.

2. Form a task force on talent mobility

Setting up an effective talent mobility process takes time, energy, and resources. Creating a talent mobility task force is one of the best things you can do to ensure the success of your internal mobility strategy. Provide them with the energy, and resources they need to succeed once they’re in place.

The team in charge of developing and implementing your talent mobility strategy will be your talent mobility task force. Creating a talent mobility task force, rather than simply assigning talent mobility to HR, provides some distinct advantages.

Having an in-house team to manage talent mobility guarantees that your program receives the time, consideration, and attention it deserves. As a result, it is more likely to be successful, and you are more likely to benefit from the program.

So, who should be appointed to this task force?

Include key stakeholders who are involved in the hiring processes at your company. HR leaders and other HR professionals are included (like HR managers or recruiters). Hiring managers may also be included.

Employees may be assigned to this task force depending on your organization. You could also allow employees to participate. Whatever path you choose, make certain that your task force includes top HR professionals, hiring stakeholders, and strategic thinkers.

3. Establish a clear talent mobility strategy and processes

Executive support is required for talent mobility to be successful in your company. You will require a team devoted entirely to talent mobility. And, maybe most importantly, you must devise a strategy.

It ought to go without saying, but having a well-defined talent mobility strategy is a must.

Talent mobility strategies will differ from company to company, but some key considerations include:

  • What are your overall objectives? To ensure the success of your talent mobility program, you must first define what success entails. Define your talent mobility program’s objectives. For example, do you want to boost retention rates? Internal candidates for leadership positions? Fill talent gaps without investing in new hires? Make sure you’re clear on your objectives from the start.
  • What is your internal candidate hiring procedure? It is also critical to define your hiring process for internal candidates. Will internal candidates, for example, go through the same interview process as external candidates? Can employees be promoted to new positions centered on manager recommendations? How will you manage employee onboarding when they transition to a new role? Determine how you intend to interview and hire internal candidates.
  • How will you invest in the development of your current employees? Employees must learn new skills in order to move up in their careers. This is especially true of vertical mobility. So, as a company, how will you assist your employees in developing those new skills? You could, for example, broaden your learning and development program. Alternatively, you could provide employees with an education stipend.
  • Will you combine talent pipelines? Internal mobility does not preclude you from hiring outside talent. So, how will you handle internal and external candidates? Will you have two distinct talent pipelines? Or, in other words, will you only review relevant candidates for some open positions and only external candidates for others? Or will you combine the two, considering both internal and external candidates for all open positions? Making this decision in advance will help you stay organized and ensure that the right candidates are considered for each role. That is true whether they are internal or external.

Bottom line: The more clearly defined your talent mobility strategy is, the more successful you will be in relocating employees within your organization.

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Creating an Efficient Talent Mobility Strategy

You are aware of the concept of talent mobility. You understand why it is critical and the best practices to follow when incorporating it into your hiring and growth strategies.

Let us now look at how to create an effective talent mobility process.

1. Establish clear guidelines for talent mobility

Moving talent around your company is what talent mobility is all about. As a result, it’s critical that your employees understand exactly how they can make those moves.

Clear guidelines, processes, and policies are required for this type of career mobility to function effectively. While these policies will differ depending on the organization, some guidelines you should establish include:

  • Processes of application. Employees should understand how and where to apply for internal roles and promotions.
  • Processes of interviewing. When applying for a new internal position, your employees should understand what to expect during the interview process.
  • Time constraints. If there are any restrictions on how frequently employees can change roles, those should be clearly stated. The same holds true if you want to have a certain amount of time in a role before changing jobs. Employees, for example, must serve in one role for one year before moving on to another.
  • Promotional strategy. A promotion policy is essential for vertical mobility. This should outline the criteria that employees must meet before being considered for a promotion.

2. Create comprehensive job descriptions

As previously stated, talent mobility can assist you in filling skill gaps. It can also assist you in maximizing the skills, talents, and experience of your current employees. However, this is only true if you are aware of the skill gaps. You’ll also need detailed job descriptions for each new role in order to identify potential skill gaps.

Generate thorough job descriptions for all positions in your organization. This should include important details such as experience level and day-to-day responsibilities. It should also contain any skills that an employee would require to succeed in the position. Is it necessary, for example, for an employee to have a certain level of experience in a client-facing role? Or expertise in a specific software? If this is the case, it should be specified in the job description.

The more your job descriptions dissect the skills required to succeed in that role in detail, the simpler talent mobility will be. It will make it easier to identify skill gaps and match them with the skill sets of your existing employees. This will assist you in relocating talent in a way that is appropriate and maximizes your human resources.

3. Determine your current employees’ skill sets and career objectives

You can’t assist your employees to move to a better-fitting position if you don’t understand what a “better fit” means for that employee.

Career planning is thus an important component of developing an effective talent mobility process.

Have your managers meet with their employees to track out their current position now within the company and where they want to be in their careers. This includes a list of their current skills as well as a list of skills they’d like to develop. It also includes discussing their long-term career goals and aspirations. For example, are they satisfied with their current career path, or do they wish to work on another team or division within the company? How do they envision themselves in a year, five years, or ten years?

It’s critical to understand where your employees are now and where they want to go professionally. It provides you with the knowledge you need to capitalize talent mobility in a way that benefits your employees and helps them achieve their career objectives. You can also increase their job satisfaction by providing them with opportunities that align with their long-term goals. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that they will remain with the company.

4. Request feedback from employees

Your current employees are directly impacted by talent mobility. So, if you want to create an effective talent mobility process, solicit their input.

Inquire with your employees about the types of internal mobility opportunities they’d like to see at the company. Request feedback on your policies and procedures as you roll out your program. When you relocate an employee, solicit feedback on their expertise. This contains everything from applying for the job to the interview and onboarding.

Then (and this is crucial!) use that feedback to continuously develop your talent mobility processes. Your processes will not only grow over time, but your employees will also feel respected and heard. This can also help to increase retention.

Talent Mobility Best Practices

There are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate internal mobility best practices. Technology must be integrated into your strategies in order to have a scalable process. You won’t be able to set benchmarks or measure success based on the baselines you achieve if you don’t have good tools. Internal mobility programs should include the following components:

C-Suite executives support

Starting with the CEO and working down, your company’s leadership must believe that internal mobility is necessary for positive, healthy growth within the company. While evaluating how to improve internal mobility, seek sponsorship from your employees, as it is critical that they understand the value of talent mobility in their own individual career paths. People should be recognized for their accomplishments, internal moves, and milestones within the organization. The best approach for talent leaders is to guarantee this support at the top and then allow it to naturally flow down the chain of command in a fruitful manner.

A skill map of current employees

One major impediment to managing internal mobility is that many managers have no idea what their employees’ skills or desires are. Data on employees are separated into different systems that are managed by different departments. This is where technology comes in; a good middleware solution can map employees’ skills and track their progress, allowing recruiters within the company to have access to a talent supply chain that is readily available at their fingertips.

Internal and external talent pipeline

Is it really necessary to have two pipelines? When it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, many businesses operate in both internal and external environments. Why not pool those resources in one location to help boost internal mobility? Yes, a mindset shift is required, accompanied by an incentive shift, but the overall strategy will pay off. A unified pipeline means that all candidates, even current employees, are considered for all jobs.

Line managers’ guidance

In many organizations, incentives are not associated with behaviors that promote internal mobility. And besides, if a manager has a star employee, why would they choose to give that person up when they have no idea who will replace them? Furthermore, no one wants to be constantly managing turnover. Too many flawed internal mobility initiatives can result in line managers acting in the best interests of the company at their own expense, or worse, acting solely on their own behalf.

One internal mobility benchmark should be to relieve stress on front-line managers by integrating rotation programs and other similar mechanisms that allow employees to be seen by multiple managers while also exploring their own talents, abilities, and interests.

Closing Thoughts

When done correctly, talent mobility can greatly benefit your organization. An efficient governance mobility strategy can aid in the retention and attraction of top talent. It can also assist your company in filling skill gaps and increasing productivity and engagement. And now that you know why talent mobility is so important, you can create a strategy to begin taking your team—and your company—to the next level.

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