An organization’s largest talent source is its own workforce and internal talent market. However, the internal talent market is often overlooked and undervalued, making it difficult to access and causing employees’ talent to be overlooked.
As a result, employees feel unappreciated and move on to new roles in other companies, which decreases an organization’s talent market and leaves it no choice but to get external talent when needed.
Fortunately, due to changing trends in the last two years, the importance of an organization’s internal talent market and the need for talent mobility have come to light.
But what is talent mobility, how does it help organizations, and how can you measure up in its stakes? Let’s find out.
What Is Talent Mobility?
Talent or “internal” mobility is a skill that helps companies leverage internal talent for short- and long-term projects, temporary roles, teams, stretch assignments, mentoring, and internal gigs without needing to seek external talent. It allows organizations to:
- Embed collaboration and workplace agility into their culture
- Improve employee engagement and commitment
- Help employees gain new skills or to reskill themselves for new positions
- Aid employees in exploring and accessing alternative career paths or roles across their organization.
Benefits of Talent Mobility
Talent mobility has the following benefits:
- It gives hiring managers a new pool of candidates to choose from.
- It improves employee development, learning, and growth.
- It reduces recruiting costs.
- It increases diversity.
Why Do Organizations Need Talent Mobility?
Here are several reasons why organizations need talent mobility:
- To Meet the Needs of an Expanded Talent Market
Organizations need talent mobility to meet the needs of their offices in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Let’s look at an example.
Recently, Schneider Electric, one of France’s largest manufacturers of electrical systems and components, divided its global headquarters into four: one in the U.S., one in China, one in India, and one in France.
By creating four headquarters, the company is now able to offer career paths and roles in the U.S., China, and India that were only available in France before, allowing employees to find work within the organization where it is most needed.
- To Utilize the Shift Towards a Flatter Organization Structure
As more organizations are starting to shift towards working in teams and networks, team leaders are beginning to recognize that access to the diverse skill sets and experiences possessed by current employees can only ensure business success.
However, finding expertise throughout a network is challenging because of the lack of an open and active internal mobility process.
Why Is Talent Mobility Difficult to Implement?
Talent mobility is difficult to implement because of several reasons, such as:
- The Siloed Business Model
Most organizations are modeled around systems where people enter at the bottom and spend years climbing their way up the corporate ladder, increasing their influence and rewards at each step.
The siloed model doesn’t allow managers to look to another team for talent and stops employees from looking at roles in other departments in an organization, effectively stopping talent mobility from occurring.
Plus, the risk of allowing people to take new roles is high, especially if it involves a major career change, because hiring managers often set higher expectations for internal rather than external candidates and may fire them if they don’t succeed in their new role.
- The Lack of Incentive
Most organizations set up incentives to allow employees to climb from ground zero to the C-suite. They don’t encourage employees to move to another division or hiring managers to utilize internal hiring.
So, unless managers are actively pushed and rewarded for hiring internal candidates, they may pass over existing employees looking for growth opportunities.
- Talent Hoarding
If managers are held accountable for retaining their people, they may become reluctant to welcome the prospect of letting a high-performing team member go to another department because it stops them from producing results.
So, they may resist other departments’ or managers’ efforts to recruit the person with high income skills.
- Cultural Barriers
Most of the time, the talent-sharing culture, talent mobility expectations, and decision-making around mobility are inadequate in organizations. So, organizations can rarely identify which people to move into new internal roles.
As a result, most employees looking for growth opportunities find it easier to quit and get rehired in another position than to change positions within the organization because of a lack of systems that encourage or promote internal employee moves.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Implementing Talent Mobility
Talent mobility is becoming more crucial than ever. If you’re implementing talent mobility in your organization, use the following questions to determine your goals and aspirations for talent mobility:
- What is your approach to talent mobility?
- What is your goal for talent mobility?
- How will you measure success and structure jobs, roles, and projects?
- What jobs and roles will be available for people interested in internal mobility?
- What skills and capabilities do you need/have, and how do you close the gap?
- What internal candidates do you have? How will you find and engage them? How will you assess their skills? What if they do not meet your criteria? What risk tolerance do you have for employees to try out new work?
- How will you help employees acquire skills for new roles?
- How will you align opportunities with employees’ passion and career aspirations?
- What will happen to internal candidates who fail? Will they get their old jobs back?
- How will you manage and evaluate performance in new roles?
- How will people get feedback and coaching?
- How will you know the performance of employees when they are interested in a new role?
- How will you pay people if they complete a project? Will employees get a separate paystub for the work they’ve done in another department?
The Bottom Line
Creating a culture of internal mobility requires an intensive top-to-bottom effort. It changes how careers work, the nature of management, leadership, and learning, and how companies reward and pay people.
So, to implement talent mobility effectively, companies need HR solutions that cover many areas, from recruiting to work design and rewards to learning and development.