Mobility: The solution to the skills challenge
In this climate of increased competition for critical skills, it is harder for organizations to recruit the right talent. Even if you can source skills externally, hiring costs will exceed what you spend to build the same skills among your existing workforce. In this and any other climate, the best solution is to build skills from within.
Persistently tight labor market conditions and underinvestment in skills development have created a skills challenge that organizations can’t easily buy their way out of. An external-first approach to acquiring skills may not be preferable or even viable as inflationary pressures continue to exert a drag on business investment. By mapping and building skills internally, organizations can plug existing skills gaps, meet future skills needs, and better retain individuals who already align with the organization’s culture.
Mobility is also key to lower turnover. Lack of career development is a top reason why talented employees leave a job, while internal progression supports worker satisfaction and retention. It is a win-win for employees and organizations: employees enhance their skills, career and earning potential, while organizations benefit from happier and more productive employees, higher retention of skills, lower recruitment costs and, ultimately, an enterprise that is better prepared to remain relevant and competitive in future.
But to maximize the benefits of mobility, it’s necessary to understand how mobility has evolved and how best to approach it.
To build a future-fit workforce and retain vital skills, organizations must embrace mobility.
What does the mobility landscape look like in 2023?
Mobility is not a new concept, but it is an evolving one. Today, mobility is not so much an activity as a mindset that advocates skills building, diversified learning and new experiences over anything else.
In the past, mobility involved moving an employee upwards through promotion. Today, organizations move employees in different directions across the business. Employees may be free to test out a role in another department or engage in short-term projects to build skills and experience without formally switching role. And organizations are not just moving employees into new roles – they are moving them with upgraded skillsets.
Employees don’t necessarily think in terms of mobility, but value opportunities for professional development. For organizations, the term mobility is better understood in the way it is talked about than how it is implemented. In practice, mobility spans the entire spectrum of career advancement and professional development for every single employee and is increasingly personalized.
As well as becoming more personalized to each employee, organizations adopt a more fluid, project orientated approach. There is greater focus on using technology platforms to enable mobility, data to inform mobility strategy decisions, and combining technology with a human-centered approach.
If the conditions are right, the benefits of mobility can be far-reaching for organizations and employees alike.
Is your organization mobility ready?
Certain conditions or headwinds can impede mobility, such as:
The organization does not know its philosophy on careers
To introduce mobility successfully, there must be a vision and philosophy around mobility, and an internal-first mindset to sourcing and building skills. This can’t be developed overnight and requires buy-in from senior leadership. Internal resources and support must then enable mobility.
The adoption of new technology tools can be low
A digital talent marketplace that allows employees to upskill/reskill for new opportunities within the organization is a common mobility solution. But employees are often encouraged to use multiple tools and platforms. This increases the risk that they fail to engage with any of them. For mobility solutions to be successful, organizations must support their adoption.
The organization is too siloed
There may be multiple teams doing different things and trying to solve different challenges around mobility, with separate initiatives running simultaneously. It can be hard to meet diverse challenges with one mobility enterprise solution, especially if operations are siloed. A unifying vision, philosophy, mindset and overarching strategy is necessary to ensure mobility goals are met.
There is a lack of ownership over mobility
Usually, a careers division takes ownership of mobility, but this can still mean a lack of ownership. Create a careers mobility team that is accountable for the successful adoption of mobility solutions and strategy success.