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Internal Talent Mobility in Retail: A Must-Have Strategy

Internal talent mobility is gaining momentum in the Retail industry, offering existing employees exciting opportunities to apply for various roles within their organization. 

51% of retail workers surveyed in Beamery’s most recent Talent Index said they were considering leaving their current jobs within the year.

With such high levels of attrition, a solid internal mobility strategy is vital to aid retention in the Retail sector. Sales assistants and cashiers can be great hires in management roles, or in purchasing and marketing, thanks to their skills and knowledge from serving customers directly. 

By focusing on skills rather than job titles, encouraging talent sharing across teams, and providing development-oriented review cycles, retail companies can harness the power of internal mobility to retain (and engage) their top talent. So how can you ensure it is successful? 

Shift Your Focus to Skills First 

A skills-first mindset is essential for a good internal talent mobility strategy. Rather than simply looking at the previous employer names on an employee’s CV, or the length of their service, the skills-first organization evaluates people based on their skills, aspirations and potential. 

skills first

With a collection of skills information – perhaps including “adjacent skills”, inferred by AI – Retail organizations can build a clearer, more holistic picture of their workforce. 

From here, HR teams in Retail can identify underutilized talent within their workforce and match them with suitable opportunities, including part-time and full-time roles that are crucial to business success (this also helps them skip the need for expensive external hiring). 

Internal talent can also be matched to suitable mentors, L&D programs and gigs or projects based on their skills and the ones they want to develop. Encouraging employees to upskill and reskill opens new avenues for growth and helps address skills gaps within the company.

Discourage “Talent Hoarding” 

To promote internal mobility, managers should embrace sharing top talent with other teams. 

Of course, exposing employees to new departments fosters talent engagement and creates opportunities for personal and professional development. But in most companies, managers are only incentivized based on the performance of their team. 41% of business leaders in Retail told us that talent hoarding was a key barrier to internal mobility in their organization. 

For Retail organizations to truly get the most from Talent Mobility programs, you need to consider how to encourage and perhaps even reward managers for supporting their team members into new roles in different departments or functions. 

Empower Autonomous Career Pathing 

Putting employees in control of their career path is crucial. Retail employees in particular are keen to learn new things, want more flexibility in their careers, and value transparency when it comes to their options. 

In Beamery’s Talent Index, 55% of retail sector respondents said they were interested in learning new skills in their current workplace. Of those, 24% are already starting to learn new skills, or are waiting for the training to begin. Offering these opportunities can help engage and retain retail workers who may be considering leaving their current roles.

AI-driven internal mobility software – such as the Talent Marketplace from Beamery – can help identify various career paths for each employee, empowering them to plan their future within the organization.

Create a Development-Oriented Review Cycle 

Designing a separate program focused on career and personal development, in addition to performance reviews, allows employees to discuss their accomplishments, career goals, and necessary steps to achieve them. 

When employees feel supported and heard, they are more likely to consider internal moves and stay with the company.

Streamline the Internal Candidate Experience 

Improving the internal candidate experience is essential for increasing internal applications. In our recent research, a huge 75% of business leaders in Retail told us that employees would say it is easier to get a new job outside their organization than within it.

Leaders in Retail companies should make it easy for employees to find and apply for open positions, providing an excellent candidate experience – regardless of whether they are internal or external applicants. Consider how digital tools can be deployed to make the experience seamless, and ensure feedback is given in a timely manner. 

Facilitate Human Connections 

Building a culture that fosters human connections is critical in the current work environment, especially with hybrid and remote work policies. 

Programs like mentoring, onboarding buddies, and networking opportunities help create a sense of belonging and learning for employees in every sector. This is also something that can be delivered through an AI-powered Talent Marketplace. With data on the skills an employee has, and the things they’d like to learn, the platform can match Retail workers with people in the organization who have those skills – and can share their stories of similar career paths. 

Employ an Internal Mobility Solution 

Investing in internal mobility software, such as Talent Marketplace, helps Retail companies to leverage AI-driven skills matching, and unlock their talent’s true potential.

In the competitive retail landscape, internal talent mobility serves as a powerful retention tool. By emphasizing skills, promoting talent sharing, providing development opportunities, and facilitating a positive candidate experience, retail companies can effectively build and execute internal talent mobility strategies that keep their top talent engaged and committed for the long term.