Free food, fun activities, remote work, competitive compensation – it all makes a company sound like an amazing place to work. But is it enough to hold onto your people? And when times are difficult, will you be able to continue offering these perks?
When it comes to employee retention, you can invest a lot of effort but still see workers walk away – if they believe they will never move up. The solution? Enabling employees to move within the company – either horizontally or vertically – through a culture that embraces internal mobility over outside hires.
What Is Internal Mobility?
Internal mobility, also known as internal hiring or internal recruiting, means that current employees are considered first when a new position opens up in the organization. In contrast to the expense and inefficiency of only hiring new employees, internal mobility brings businesses many advantages:
- Increased retention rates: 33% of employees would stay longer with their current employer if they believed they have a chance at promotion
- Heightened engagement: 27% of employees state that they would feel more dedicated to their jobs when upward mobility is possible
- Longer tenure rates: Employees at companies with high internal mobility stay at their company nearly twice as long as organizations with low internal mobility, via LinkedIn.
- Reduced risk: An existing employee has already adjusted to the culture, understands the business, and has been accepted by coworkers
- Lower costs and time requirements: Internal hiring notices are free and immediate, and they eliminate expenses for headhunters, advertising, and reference checks
And yet, despite the many benefits offered by internal talent mobility, only 20% of employees are hired internally. This is a problem, as proven by the fact that 63% of US workers cite a lack of opportunities for advancement as a reason for quitting.
Upper management and HR can take this opportunity to revamp their thinking toward internal hires instead of reflexively looking outside of the organization. This might require changing some habits, such as establishing and publicizing available positions specifically geared towards current employees. And this first step is only the beginning of creating a culture of internal mobility.
Upskilling and Reskilling for Internal Talent Mobility Programs
In order to take advantage of internal mobility opportunities, employees need to adjust their mindset as well. This goes beyond checking the internal job board on a regular basis. To move up, workers must invest time and effort in obtaining the skills that are required for advancement. This might require upskilling, reskilling, or both, depending on the position and time frame in question. But this arises the need for employee development programs that allow employees to grow and gain the skills necessary for these positions.
To promote internal talent mobility, HR teams need to analyze a few elements:
- Current and upcoming vacancies due to growth, promotions, and separations
- Skill requirements for these positions
- Current employees who may be suited for these roles and what development, if any, they would need
Once the company matches vacancies/skills to candidates, relevant L&D programs can get underway. Creating a culture of internal mobility also means that employers provide access to other training-related resources. These could include:
- A knowledge-sharing facility to act as a forum for questions and advice related to job postings
- Internal mentors available to advise employees and give them practical experience in their targeted role
- Open houses or similar company events to increase awareness of internal mobility programs or positions
Companies with Internal Mobility Programs – Successful Examples
United Airlines created a talent development program by issuing thousands of mobile devices. The primary aim of the technology is to enable employees to provide customer service from any location. However, United Airlines analyzes data from the devices to identify top performers so that they can be spotlighted for internal moves within the company.
Hitachi has long understood the importance of internal talent mobility. But, with over 300,000 employees, it had difficulty implementing reporting tools and performance tracking. To resolve the issue, Hitachi founded a learning management system called “Hitachi University” which has engaged a large number of workers. Through customized L&D programs, Hitachi can prepare existing employees to handle future challenges and move their way up in the corporation.
For more examples, check out our article on Preparing for the Future of Work.
Internal Talent Mobility Strategy by GrowthSpace
Even companies that understand the value of internal mobility can get overwhelmed by the intricacies involved, especially when they employ hundreds or even thousands of people. GrowthSpace, with its talent development solution, resolves that challenge, by making it easy for organizations to scale L&D programs, supported by the globe’s top experts for any hard or soft skill enhancement and professional growth.