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Navigating the Future of Work: The Role of Talent Mobility

Here’s a riddle for business owners: nearly three-quarters of the workforce demand it, it can help your organization save money on recruitment, and every type of business can leverage it to achieve better outcomes. What are we describing? 

The answer is talent mobility—one of the hottest topics to emerge in corporate learning and development (L&D) over the past few years. In fact, as of 2022, 62 percent of L&D pros are prioritizing internal mobility. 

Talent mobility, or internal mobility, provides employees the flexibility and opportunities to shift between roles within your organization. 

Promoting talent mobility increases employee engagement and job satisfaction, decreasing turnover while improving performance and productivity, creating a win-win situation for both organizations and their team members.

So, how can you build a better talent mobility strategy and empower employees to explore different roles? 

Those are just some of the questions we’ll answer, along with: 

  • What is internal talent mobility? 
  • How does internal mobility improve onboarding, boost employee retention, and attract top talent to your organization? 
  • How do you manage internal mobility effectively? 

What is company mobility?

Let’s start by establishing a basic definition.

Talent mobility, also called company mobility or internal talent mobility, is the ease with which an existing employee can transition into a new role or department within your organization. 

Employees in an organization with low talent mobility may feel stuck or trapped in their existing role and generally have few opportunities to learn and exercise new skills or knowledge.

In an organization whose culture supports and enables talent mobility, employees receive the resources, education, and autonomy they need to fully explore their talents and pursue internal opportunities. 

Read more: How to create a great workplace culture 

Talent mobility benefits both your employees and your organization, providing a strong incentive for companies to embrace it. 

What is the purpose of talent mobility, and why is it important for businesses?

The purpose of talent mobility is to enable you to harness and leverage each team member’s unique skills, traits, and abilities in a way that ultimately supports the growth of your business—for example, nurturing an employee’s gifts as a leader, communicator, storyteller, community-builder, or innovator to fill the most urgent and pressing skill gaps on your team. 

Read more: 26 Examples of Employee Strengths & Weaknesses + How to Improve Them

So, what are some specific reasons your business should strive to increase its talent mobility, and what steps can you take toward that goal? 

We’ll discuss strategies for boosting talent mobility, but first, let’s go over some ways your business can benefit by doing so. 

Here are three reasons your organization needs to invest in talent mobility programs in 2024 and beyond.

  1. Improving your onboarding process
  2. Boosting employee retention rates
  3. Attracting more talented candidates

Improving your onboarding process  

A recent survey by BambooHR revealed that barely one in 10 employees—only 12 percent of those surveyed—believe their employer’s onboarding process is adequate or successful. 

Unfortunately, a negative onboarding experience can encourage employees to quit prematurely, tanking your retention rates while sending your hiring costs surging. 

According to Zippia, 17 percent of employees leave their new job between the first week and the third month of a new job. On the other hand, Employees are 69 percent more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experience a great onboarding process. 

You can speed up and facilitate onboarding by embracing internal talent mobility. That’s because internal recruits are already familiar with the company’s culture, policies, and team structure, giving them a significant head-start on the onboarding process. 

Boosting employee retention  

Offering opportunities for mobility helps you increase employee retention, which, in turn, helps to limit your hiring and recruitment costs.  

Losing or replacing an employee is expensive—as much as one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary, according to Gallup

That isn’t the only problem with employee turnover, either. Gallup also points out, “Losing your best people means losing your reliable winners, your constant innovators, and your most effective problem solvers.”

According to LinkedIn, employees who move into new jobs internally are 3.5x times more likely to be engaged than those who stay in their current positions. When organizations invest in internal mobility programs, employees stay almost 2x longer. 

Attracting more qualified candidates

Companies that offer ample career development opportunities and have high internal mobility are more attractive to job-seekers—most of whom, the data shows, place a high value on professional development and career growth

How do you manage talent mobility? 

Talent management includes recruiting and onboarding employees. By comparison, talent development is an ongoing process that involves continuously building and honing an employee’s skills throughout their career at your organization. 

Talent management and talent development are crucial for building strong teams—but internal mobility makes those teams even stronger by improving job satisfaction, boosting employee engagement, increasing retention rates, and promoting better communication and knowledge-sharing within your organization. 

Here are three best practices to manage internal mobility effectively: 

Leverage learning and talent management software

To manage internal mobility effectively, you need a secure and organized system that enables you to track employees’ performance, identify skill gaps, and measure strengths and weaknesses in your team. 

Using a learning management system (LMS) is a smart way to upskill your teams, provide leadership training, and ensure your employees are equipped with the latest knowledge impacting your industry. 

The Learning Cloud’s all-in-one LMS makes it easy to create employee training programs, monitor learners’ progress, discover untapped talents, and get employees to communicate with and learn from each other. 

Learn how our platform can turbo-charge your talent mobility strategy and drive growth for your business. 

Build a dedicated task force 

Software alone isn’t enough: you must also build a team to keep your internal mobility initiatives on track. 

Your talent mobility task force should include your HR or People manager, hiring manager, external recruiters, and any other employees involved in the hiring and onboarding process. 

Get executive support 

Without buy-in and support from executive leadership, your initiatives won’t get the funding they need to thrive. You need to get your leadership as excited as you are, so you need to make a detailed case for your program and why it’s worth investing in. 

Be sure to discuss the benefits of talent mobility and how they align with your organization’s goals, like increasing employee retention or lowering the amount you spend on external recruiting.  

How do you increase internal talent mobility?‌ 

Now that you’ve generated buy-in, assembled your team, and chosen the right software, what are some strategies you can implement to boost talent mobility at your organization? 

Here are six ways you can increase and encourage internal mobility.

Create a workplace culture that supports continuous learning and career development 

When you create a learning culture that promotes continuous learning, you encourage employees to upskill and acquire new competencies. When organizations invest in training, workshops, and other learning opportunities, employees become more adaptable and capable of taking on new roles.

This expanded skill set makes it easier for employees to transition into different positions within the company, ultimately increasing talent mobility.

A strong focus on career development signals to employees that their organization is invested in their growth. This commitment creates a sense of loyalty and engagement, reducing turnover and increasing employee retention.

Promote mentoring, coaching, and job-shadowing opportunities 

When experienced employees act as mentors or coaches, they provide valuable insights, guidance, and feedback to those looking to advance their careers within your organization.

This direct, one-on-one interaction not only accelerates the learning process but also equips employees with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in different roles or departments.

Job shadowing allows employees to gain first-hand experience of various roles and responsibilities within the organization. By immersing themselves in the day-to-day tasks, employees can assess whether they are genuinely interested in pursuing a particular career path. This hands-on experience helps individuals make more informed decisions about their career goals and can lead to more seamless transitions within the company.

Read more: How to Create a Coaching Culture to Support Employee Development

Formally launch an internal mobility program as one of your L&D initiatives 

Don’t just talk about talent mobility; make it a company-wide initiative. A structured internal mobility program provides transparency and clarity for career advancement opportunities within the organization.

When employees are aware of the paths available to them, they’re more likely to explore different roles and pursue new opportunities.

Leverage talent management software

Talent management software helps organizations identify and nurture high-potential employees by tracking their skills, performance, and career aspirations.

This proactive talent identification and development can streamline the process of internal mobility, making it easier to match the right talent with the right roles, and providing a clear path for career progression.

Offer employees opportunities to work on cross-departmental projects

Cross-department projects expose employees to a broader range of responsibilities and functions, allowing them to expand their skill sets and gain a deeper understanding of the organization as a whole. By working alongside colleagues from various departments, employees can build a more comprehensive skill repertoire, making them better prepared for transitions to different roles.

Provide leadership development programs 

Leadership development programs are designed to nurture and empower employees with leadership potential, equipping them with the necessary skills to take on more responsible roles.

These programs can help you identify and cultivate future leaders. By honing leadership skills, decision-making abilities, and management competencies, employees are better prepared to take on leadership roles. This investment in leadership development creates a pool of internal candidates who are well-suited for promotions, enabling smoother transitions into more senior positions. It not only reduces the need to recruit externally but also demonstrates a commitment to employee growth, thus boosting loyalty and encouraging employees to explore career opportunities within the company.

Maximize your team’s potential with the Learning Cloud

Your team members have unique talents waiting to be unleashed. Investing in talent mobility can accelerate your onboarding process, increase employee engagement and job satisfaction, and reduce employee turnover—all while saving you money on training and recruitment. 

Learn how WorkRamp’s cloud-based training software can help you identify, strengthen, and leverage employees’ skills to drive growth for your business. Contact us to schedule a free, personalized demo of the Learning Cloud today. 

Complete the form for a custom demo.

Emily Homrok

WorkRamp Contributor
Emily Homrok is a freelance copywriter with over eight years of writing experience. She graduated from Drexel University in 2011.

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