5 unexpected ways to boost internal talent mobility

Satisfy employees’ diverse development goals with internal talent mobility opportunities

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By Austen Gregerson, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

When people hear the term internal talent mobility, a few different images may arise. Some see employees moving to new positions within their company, while others think of workers shifting from role to role without any specific home. Though there isn’t a single correct answer to how to make your organization’s people more mobile, there is one common thread: putting people in greater control of their contributions to a company.

In today’s landscape, it’s crucial for businesses to think beyond static definitions of a job. Titles can be limiting and the half-life of skills is shortening with every technological advancement, so putting your talent in a firm box can cause more issues than it’s worth. Skills, and especially ones that may go unnoticed in a specific employee’s job title, can be the differentiator between organizations better suited to pivot as needs change.

What is internal talent mobility?

In short, talent mobility is an employee’s ability to move between positions within their current company. However, the goal of mobility is not movement simply for movement’s sake; greater internal talent mobility allows companies to better align the skills, motivations, and interests of a workforce with the needs of the organization as a whole to accomplish business needs.

Internal talent mobility opportunities provide employees with engaging and relevant experiences that meet their professional goals and improve their skills. For companies, internal talent mobility is about transferring skills across the organization to increase productivity and future-proof their workforces.

Not only does internal mobility help companies create more dynamic workforces for business purposes, but it also factors into the employee experience. The Great Resignation 2.0 research report showed that nearly half of employees surveyed who voluntarily left their jobs in 2022 were due to a desire for more opportunities to grow and do new work, a 20-point increase over the response in 2021.

With a talent marketplace, business leaders can help manage and deploy talent at scale by putting opportunities, projects, training, and mentorships on an open platform available to all employees. As every employee’s potential is unlocked by breaking down organizational silos and allowing the most qualified people to tackle projects regardless of their current job title, companies can take on rapidly-changing circumstances with greater confidence than before.

5 ways to boost internal talent mobility

With a talent marketplace in place—supported by workforce intelligence, allowing for a greater understanding of a company’s skills, larger industry trends, and real-time job designing—companies can ready themselves to become a more adaptive organization. Here are a few ways to get started on putting internal mobility practices into work.

#1. Part-time projects

Part-time projects are the perfect way to provide your employees with new opportunities while remaining with the company. Projects give employees the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in new areas of interest without the leap of faith and responsibility of moving into a new full-time role. They can be cross-departmental or even global, allowing employees to network and learn from their colleagues.

The key is to allow employees to develop by selecting their own experiences to both broaden their horizons and build targeted skills for their future. With 48% of Millennials and 44% of Gen Zers ranking opportunities for continued learning as one of the most important factors when considering working at a company, part-time projects are a great way to meet your workforce’s growing desire for on-the-job development.

Part-time projects allow employees to explore their interests beyond their main roles in ways that quickly boost their skills and expand their experiences. Employees not only diversify their skill sets and experiences through projects, but they also increase their capabilities and productivity. According to Deloitte, on-the-job development opportunities increase employee engagement by up to 30%.

#2. Mentorships

The knowledge, advice, and resources that a seasoned employee can share with new team members are priceless. Giving employees the opportunity to learn from their peers generates an environment of growth that establishes the foundation of internal talent mobility. With 79% of Millennials believing that mentoring is crucial to their career success, mentoring is a must for companies who want to promote internal talent mobility.

Implementing a mentorship program gives employees the opportunity to find a peer that has the experience and skills that they are looking to develop. Mentors can provide employees with valuable insights and expose them to new networks that can help them grow in their positions. Employees also benefit from the personal guidance and support from mentors, which provides workers with an advisor they can always turn to.

#3. Horizontal mobility

Although not unexpected, horizontal mobility greatly increases internal talent mobility by encouraging employees to move to new positions within their company. Contrasted with traditional vertical progression, horizontal mobility allows workers to find new opportunities that appeal to their interests and skills within the company—keeping them engaged and potentially reducing recruiting costs.

Moreover, internal job change opportunities seem to be an expectation for the youngest generation in the workforce today. 75% of Gen Zers are interested in holding multiple roles within a company, and talent marketplaces allow these workers to pursue opportunities that interest them without needing to look outside of the company. A LinkedIn survey shows that employees are more likely to stay at a company if they have the opportunity to take on multiple roles, showing that the talk of quiet quitting and falling employee engagement may be a product of lacking opportunities, not motivation.

#4. Relocation

Relocation increases internal talent mobility by providing employees the opportunity to move to an office outside of their own for their job. Working with new teams, under different management, and in an unfamiliar location allows employees to grow their experiences and expand their skills in unique ways. International work experience gives employees a competitive edge as a global perspective is highly valued in today’s post-modern workplace.

Typically, employees who are looking for a totally new experience outside of their office would simply leave their job and take their skills and expertise with them. However, with relocation, employees can continue to develop at their company while bringing their skills to a new part of the organization. Based on a recent Indeed survey, 42% of Millennials would move if their company offered voluntary relocation.

#5. Job swaps

Job swaps allow employees from different departments or locations to exchange jobs for a period of time. Through swapping roles, employees learn about new positions, collaborate with teams outside of their normal circles, and operate with a fresh perspective. Job swaps increase internal talent mobility by giving employees the opportunity to experience new roles firsthand. Employees learn the skills necessary to perform new job functions within an organization which furthers their development and tightens their skills gap.

Additionally, job swaps increase employees’ understanding of how other teams operate and encourage the transfer of knowledge and skills between departments. Job swaps are often short-term and therefore a fraction of the cost of relocation as often the cost of relocation involves resettling entire families rather than an individual for a set, short period of time. The experience is still incredibly impactful on an employee’s career and emotional bond with the organization that made the experience possible.

Making internal talent mobility a reality

Conventional internal talent mobility opportunities won’t cut it in today’s post-modern workforce. Especially in the absence of structured internal mobility efforts, such as a digital internal talent marketplace, companies need to think creatively about how to provide employees with opportunities to grow without the constructs of full job changes. In order to successfully meet the growing desire for on-the-job development, your company must provide various types of internal talent mobility opportunities to satisfy your workforce’s diverse goals.

Schneider Electric is one of the companies taking internal talent mobility to heart and is seeing game-changing results from its transformative nature. See how the company increased employee retention and unlocked more than 360,000 hours of work by putting employees in charge of opportunities with a talent marketplace.

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