The process of attracting and retaining skilled employees is a critical aspect of success. That said, constant recruiting is an expensive endeavor — and it overlooks an important consideration where talent is concerned. You might already have the right person on your team.
Internal mobility is an invaluable strategy for putting the right people in a position to succeed, and it’s based on the premise that highly capable individuals are already within your organization. Instead of only finding new talent, you can nurture the people you already have. It’s not just about retaining them; it’s about empowering them.
What is internal mobility?
Internal mobility is the practice of encouraging and facilitating the movement of employees within an organization. This could involve taking on different roles and responsibilities, or even transitioning to entirely new departments or teams. This is a strategic approach that enables a company to use its existing talent pool for growth and development, rather than solely relying on external hires.
Internal mobility offers many advantages, such as fostering employee engagement, retention, and skill development. It also can enhance organizational adaptability by allowing staff to bring their institutional knowledge to fresh challenges. Furthermore, it often serves as a recognition of an employee's potential and commitment, motivating them to contribute their best to the company's success.
Why is internal mobility so important?
Internal mobility is a multifaceted strategy with a wide array of benefits. It’s an all-in-one concept that’s applicable to everything from employee retention, to promotion, to succession planning, and strategic talent sourcing. More importantly, it creates functional pathways within the organization to ensure everyone has an opportunity to develop. The benefits speak for themselves:
- Maximize existing talent. Your employees have unique skills, experiences, and institutional knowledge acquired within your organization. This knowledge is invaluable in helping them adapt to new roles and succeed within those roles.
- Employee engagement and retention. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that invests in their professional development. Internal mobility programs show your workforce that you’re committed to their growth and career progression. When individuals see opportunities for advancement within the organization, they’re more likely to stay.
- Enhanced adaptability. Companies need to adapt quickly to changing market conditions, customer demands, and technological advancements. Internal mobility ensures that you have a workforce capable of swiftly pivoting and meeting new challenges. Employees who have worked in different roles or departments are well-rounded and can bring fresh perspectives to the table.
- Motivation and recognition. Recognizing and promoting talent from within not only motivates the individuals involved; it sets a positive example for the entire organization. It’s a powerful way to boost your employer brand in the eyes of current employees.
- Cost savings. Recruiting externally can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Advertising, interviewing, onboarding, and training new hires all require significant resources. Internal mobility can be a cost-effective alternative, as it minimizes expenses while optimizing your existing talent.
- Innovation and productivity. Bringing fresh perspectives into different areas of your business can lead to innovation. Employees who have experienced various roles and functions are more likely to identify process improvements, cost-saving opportunities, and new ways to drive growth.
Challenges to internal mobility programs
Implementing internal mobility programs can be highly beneficial, but they also come with their fair share of challenges. Here are some common hurdles associated with successfully implementing internal mobility initiatives:
- Lack of awareness. Employees may not be aware of internal job opportunities due to poor communication or lack of transparency within the organization.
- Inertia. Some employees may resist change or feel comfortable in their current roles. Convincing them to consider new opportunities can be challenging, even when it's in their best interest. Managers may also be hesitant to let go of talented employees under their supervision, fearing a loss of productivity or team dynamics.
- Skill gaps. Employees might lack the necessary skills or qualifications for the positions they wish to transition into. Bridging these skill gaps can require investment in training and development.
- Limited roles for mobility. In some organizations, there may be few options for employees to transition into, especially if the company has a narrow or specialized range of positions.
- Documentation and record-keeping. Properly documenting employees' skills, achievements, and aspirations is essential for an effective internal mobility program. Maintaining up-to-date records can be time-consuming and prone to inaccuracies.
Despite these challenges, you can overcome them with a well-thought-out internal mobility strategy, open communication, and a commitment to providing opportunities for employees.
Tips for recruiting from within the company
Facilitating internal mobility takes a concerted effort and an ongoing commitment to fostering growth and development — not to mention buy-in from your workforce. Here’s how to kickstart an internal mobility program that yields success for everyone:
- Establish a plan. Don't rely on sporadic efforts; set up a well-defined internal mobility program. Regularly communicate about existing opportunities and re-evaluate corporate structures that might hinder internal movement.
- Encourage different paths. Mobility isn't just about promotions. Encourage horizontal shifts to enrich employees' skill sets. Temporary job swaps or part-time project involvement can also provide valuable experiences.
- Embrace technology. Use technologies and services to navigate the opportunities within your organization. Tech tools can help you capitalize on career pathing and internal mobility features. This streamlines the process and increases transparency.
- Prioritize training and mentorship. Regularly invest in training programs that help employees upskill for varied roles. Mentoring is equally important, and can enable smoother transitions between roles.
- Set your own internal hiring goals. While setting a specific target might seem prescriptive, it can help HR and hiring managers explore the existing talent pool before considering external recruitment.
- Offer incentives for retention. Beyond financial rewards, ongoing training and clear career trajectories can be compelling incentives. This helps employees envision a long-term future with your organization.
- Use succession planning. Having a roadmap for leadership roles can facilitate internal mobility. By grooming an internal talent pool, you always have a list of potential successors for crucial positions, avoiding operational disruptions.
Power your internal search with Symphony Talent
By nurturing and promoting your current employees, you build a more engaged, adaptable, and innovative workforce — while also reducing recruitment costs. It's a win-win for both your company and your employees.
The next time you're scouting for talent, remember to look within. You might just find your next star employee already wearing your company's badge. And, for more information about how Symphony Talent can help power your internal candidate search, reach out to us today.