Internal mobility is a key strategy for navigating turbulent times. It allows organizations to quickly adapt to evolving market conditions, ensuring their survival and competitiveness. Moreover, fostering internal mobility increases employee engagement, retention, and talent development. In the face of ongoing disruptions and the increasing demand for agile workforce strategies, here’s why internal mobility is an essential approach for businesses to thrive.
1. Mobility means agility
An agile workforce that is used to shifting from one job to another inside one organization really helps from a strategic perspective. It enables businesses to change course when needed in a much more effective way. Instead of recruiting like crazy when the time is right and then laying off massively when the going gets tough, companies with good internal mobility do this less. They tend to have smaller swings.
They understand the value of people they've trained, who know their culture, who know their values, their organization and also the competitive world in which they operate. Shifting these people to a new job, sometimes with upskilling and reskilling, can be more efficient than hiring externally, although they may need to do a bit of both.
2. One-track workers get wanderlust
One of the issues that companies face is that people like to move and the relationship with their employer has become much more transactional. It's about what's in it for me and less the strong sense of loyalty that we used to have in the past.
If you want to retain your people, you have a bunch of levers that you can pull. You have money. It's always nice to make more money. But if you can promise that you focus on internal mobility and will invest in their future and guarantee that strong performers will evolve to a new position in two or three years, your workers are more likely to see themselves longer term within the organization.
So, you won’t have a turnover that's through the roof – which can keep recruitment costs down and boost your performance, because stability in an organization is also a strong predictor of performance.
3. It’s good ESG
Developing your people and giving them opportunity is also being a responsible employer – something that's becoming increasingly important to companies – and to investors as well.
If you want people to invest in your company, and clients or customers to be attracted to your company, demonstrating that you’re a responsible employer is a good strategy.
The above three points demonstrate why now is the time for internal mobility. So, we have the why and the when – but what about the how?
It’s a complex challenge – and requires the following:
Self-awareness – employees need to understand where their strengths lie, through assessments, performance reviews, or regular feedback.
Communication – it’s important to let people know that looking for fresh opportunities is encouraged. Opportunities available in the company should be visible to everyone at any given point in time so they can go pick and choose.
Development tools – give your employees tools to develop themselves, whether it's training platforms or training curriculums that you've developed.
Inspiration – it’s also important to share success stories of employees who have taken these steps and found new, satisfying roles.
Skills ladders – make sure employees realize they don’t need all the skill sets for a future job. They just need some current skills alongside embryos of the skills they'll need to be successful in their future role. They can build the other skills through specific training programs. Tell them: “We know you won't have the whole skill set, and that's perfectly fine. We’ll help you build the others.”
Risk versus reward
Risk aversion is one of the main reasons workers shy away from opportunity. It’s particularly problematic for women and minorities in general – i.e.: all the people for whom getting where they are was already an obstacle course. It needs to be addressed deliberately with abundantly clear signaling that these opportunities are there for everyone.
Alignment for mobility
Once you've done all of the above, you've planted the first seeds of mobility. For the next step – taking action – your people need further help. Managers can do part of this, but they have other things they need to focus on, and don't necessarily have the coaching skills.
This is a very specific skillset and it’s where an organization like LHH comes in – with career coaching.
For many employees there needs to be a no-risk process where they can voice their hopes and their concerns without fear of pushback. Managers can be possessive; they may not always support staff who want to move up and on. Colleagues may hold high potentials back because of their own social needs.
An external expert can help them to consider the full range of opportunities that could be open to them – confidentially and without risk.
Because mobility needs a clear, safe, signposted road ahead.
Do you need help to mobilize your talent? Contact LHH today.