Understanding Talent Mobility in the Modern Workplace
We don’t need to tell you that the war for talent is becoming fiercer than ever. With the increasing globalization of business and the rise of digital communications technologies, the best candidates now have more options (and are more aware of them) than ever.
As an HR professional, this presents significant challenges when it comes to recruiting. You have to find the right people to fill open roles, traditionally, the custom has been to look outward to find the right candidates to fill available roles (particularly when it comes to leadership positions).
While this approach is still integral to any recruiting strategy, it’s also worth considering another approach that takes into account talent mobility in an effort to recruit from within.
What Is Talent Mobility?
Talent mobility is part of the emerging field of talent management, which seeks to determine how best to identify and allocate the most scarce resource in the modern business landscape: top talent.
The talent mobility process addresses how employees can advance vertically and - more often - laterally within the organization. More specifically, it addresses how an organization can fill open positions and new roles with its current employees (as opposed to the traditional approach of looking outward). This process is also known as internal hiring.
Talent mobility, however, is about more than just hiring. It’s a more holistic approach that ensures your organization is identifying high potential employees who have the skills to move into other roles throughout the organization in the future--before you need to fill them.
Why Talent Mobility Matters
Your organization must add talent mobility to its hiring and overall business strategy. Talent mobility is essential to your business’s future success for the following reasons:
1. Reduced Costs
Hiring externally incurs a variety of costs, including fees paid to recruiters, the expense of posting the job, and the time and cost involved in interviewing candidates. And this doesn’t even consider the costs of training the new employee and the reduced productivity that they will experience as they adjust to their new role.
When you hire internal talent, you avoid these problems. It may still take some time for the employee to adjust to their new role (especially if it’s their first time managing people), but this is nothing compared to the expense of hiring externally.
2. Increased Employee Retention
Making talent mobility a part of your organizational culture shows employees that they have a future with you. And when people know they have a future with you, they’re more likely to stick around.
If you’re struggling to retain your best employees, then you should consider how boosting internal talent mobility can help you plug the talent leak that’s jeopardizing your long-term business success.
3. Increased Employee Engagement
A talent mobility program goes beyond just keeping employees at your company for longer. It also helps ensure that the employees you do have are more engaged in their jobs. When people know that they have the chance to rise to the level of leadership, then they’re going to go the extra mile in their jobs.
And even for employees who don’t have the right qualities (or desire) to make a move up in the organization, the consistency in leadership that comes with internal mobility will help ensure that expectations remain clear. Clear expectations are key to preventing employees from becoming unengaged or even actively disengaged.
4. More Effective Leaders
Strong talent mobility helps you develop leaders who already understand key organizational processes and know how to meet specific business needs better than external hires. We already touched on how this can save you time and money, but the benefits go beyond that.
When you build your ranks of leadership from within, you reinforce your company values and vision. You know that you’re hiring people who have embraced your culture from their first day, who are committed to your company’s success for reasons that go beyond an increased paycheck.
5. Easier Succession Planning
Talent mobility programs aid in succession planning, helping you fill executive and leadership roles with the right people and making sure there is consistency in your leadership as people retire, get promoted, or even die. Instead of scrambling to find an external candidate to fill an open role, you can know that you already have a pipeline of internal candidates ready to step into the vacant position.
4 Steps for Creating a Talent Mobility Program at Your Company
Now that you understand the benefits of a talent mobility program, let’s look at how you can start putting one into place in your organization. Here are the steps you should follow to create a talent mobility strategy:
1. Identify Employees with High Potential
You need to figure out which employees have the potential to move up (or around) in your organization and then work with them to plot their career paths. What qualities should you look for when deciding if an employee has the potential to move up? We recommend looking for employees who take initiative, go above and beyond their described job duties, and get along well with others.
Beyond this, though, you need to work with your employees and ask what their career goals are. An employee could have qualities that would make them suitable for moving up in the organization, but they might have no interest in doing so, preferring to make a lateral move, collaborate with members of another department on a new project, or participate in other forms of employee development. You won’t know this, however, unless you ask.
2. Make Talent Mobility Part of Your Organizational Culture
If you want employees to make career moves within your organization, they need to be clear from their first interactions with your company that talent mobility is a part of your culture. It’s not enough to include it in training materials or job orientations. You need to start to communicate this facet of your culture when you’re recruiting entry level (and other) employees. Only through completing integrating talent mobility in your company culture can you ensure that employees will actually make internal career moves.
3. Encourage Employees to Take an Active Role in Their Career Development
Identifying an employee with high potential and placing them in a leadership development program is a key part of talent mobility, but the ideal scenario is one in which the employee actively seeks out career development opportunities from you.
You need to show employees that you want to help them develop their careers with your company and that, furthermore, they should feel free to come to you for help in developing their careers. Make it clear that your door is open for conversations about where they are now and what their future with your company could look like.
4. Advertise Internal Positions to Employees
While it’s important to cultivate a culture in which your team members develop their careers in collaboration with you, it’s also important not to neglect the practical details of making employees aware of open internal positions. Make sure that you have a clear policy in place for internal hiring.
For instance, will you advertise a position internally for a certain number of days before posting it externally? Are there some positions for which you only hire internally? How will you make employees aware of open internal positions? The right time to answer these questions comes long before you have to make your first internal hire.
Talent Mobility Is the Future
We hope you now have a better understanding of why talent mobility is key to the long-term success of your organization, as well as how you can start creating your own talent mobility program. Integrating talent mobility into your organizational culture isn’t something that will happen overnight, but committing to it for the long run will have positive effects on your retention of top talent and nurturing of future leaders.