What is internal mobility and why do you need it?

How internal mobility programs make all the difference

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist @ Gloat

January 25, 2022

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Even a few years ago, stories about employees taking on new roles within their organizations were few and far between. For the most part, people were expected to stick with what they were hired to do, even once they outgrew it or started getting curious about new areas of the business.

COVID-19 changed all of that. Overnight, workers were asked to shift gears, learn new skills, and cover for colleagues so that their organizations could maintain operational continuity. And as they rose to the occasion, leaders quickly recognized that their people were capable of so much more than what they were hired to do.

Now, there’s no going back. The new world of work is going to require a level of agility that can only be achieved by developing your people and empowering them to grow within your organization, which is also known as internal mobility. So what can you do to upgrade employee growth opportunities at your company?

What is internal mobility?

Internal mobility is pretty much what it sounds like: the movement of talent within an organization, both laterally and vertically. The best internal mobility strategies encourage people to take on new growth opportunities that align with the employee’s long-term career goals and business priorities.

The benefits of internal mobility

Internal mobility is a win-win: your people will benefit from learning new skills and moving into roles they’re passionate about, which will, in turn, have a positive impact on how your business performs. Some of the top advantages associated with internal mobility include:

How to enhance internal mobility at your organization

Given the widespread benefits of internal mobility, it’s easy to understand why it’s quickly rising to the top of many leaders’ priority lists. So what can you do to launch or improve internal mobility at your organization?

Embrace talent sharing
It’s going to be impossible to encourage internal mobility if your managers are stuck in a talent hoarding mentality. While it’s natural to be a little possessive of top performers, leaders need to encourage their line managers to embrace internal mobility as a means to broaden the talent pools that they cant tap into. Once employees know that their managers are supporting them, they will be empowered to explore new opportunities that can benefit both their professional progression and your business.

Create experiential learning opportunities
If you want internal mobility to take off, you need to make sure employees have the support they need to learn new skills. While L&D content is certainly a step in the right direction, your people also need the chance to put these lessons into practice through hands-on growth opportunities like projects, gigs, and mentorships.

Put employees in the driver’s seat
While all of your employees want to grow their careers, the goals they have are going to look very different from their colleagues’. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach and telling your people what direction they should take, put them in the driver’s seat of their own development. When employees are at the helm of their careers, they will be more engaged in the learning experiences they are participating in, which will ultimately lead to superior results for your initiative.

Why talent marketplaces are essential for upgrading internal mobility

In the past, a lack of transparency meant that most internal mobility initiatives were doomed to fail. Leaders couldn’t see their peoples’ skills, interests, and ambitions, and employees didn’t have visibility into the opportunities within their organization. There was no way to match people to roles or align employee goals with the needs of the business.

The rise of talent marketplaces is here to change all of that. The two-sided platforms harness the power of AI to generate relevant suggestions for opportunities that employees will want to get involved in. The newest offerings even give workers a view into their long-term growth potential by showcasing several different directions that their careers can take. And talent marketplaces create a single, centralized location for leaders to create, view, and manage skills so that they can see what competencies need to be developed and the gaps their people must bridge.

While external recruiting and hiring have long been the dominant strategy for filling vacancies, leading businesses are increasingly prioritizing internal mobility to develop the talent they need to thrive in the new world of work. Want to see what a top strategy looks like in action? Check out Schneider Electric’s case study to learn how the enterprise leveraged its talent marketplace to create its own internal gig economy.

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