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Employee Retention: The Power Of Internal Career Options

Our latest Talent Index survey revealed that 53% of people are leaving, or considering leaving, their job in the next 12 months. How can employers hold on to their top talent?

Career paths and new skills

80% of respondents in the Talent Index Fifth Edition said they would be likely to stay in their current organization if they had more opportunities for internal moves, or were given training to move into a new role within the business.

Our recent report in partnership with Aptitude Research similarly found that 78% of companies have lost talent due to a lack of career development opportunities.

Are you thinking about how you hire from within, to aid retention? A massive 58% of respondents said it was likely that if their company was recruiting externally for a role they were interested in, and they weren’t invited to apply or considered in the application process, that they would leave the company. 

Making internal mobility work

The first step is visibility. Are you sharing your open roles with people inside your business? Of the respondents in our latest Talent Index survey:

  • 56% said they have access to all job openings within their organization
  • 21% said they only have access to their current departments job openings
  • 12% said they only have access to their locations’ job openings.

Similarly, the Aptitude Research report found that only one in two companies connect internal talent with learning and development opportunities, and only 40% of companies allow employees to find jobs based on skills.

The second step is more difficult: making it easy to apply and move, and breaking down silos to encourage internal mobility.

35% of our survey respondents said it would be easy to move roles within their department while 33% said it would be difficult. Only 29% said it would be easy to move to a different department within their organization; 37% said it would be difficult. A massive 51% said it would be difficult to move location within their current business.

The need for new skills

Identifying skills in a business remains a challenge, and is a blocker to talent mobility. Understanding the abilities (and potential) of your workforce, and the skills gaps you need to fill, is the ideal basis for a strong internal mobility strategy.

Looking at our survey results, of the people who were being re-skilled to meet the needs of evolving technology (i.e. software/digital workstreams):

  • Just 28% said they were having continual training and development on how to use new and emerging technology within the company.
  • Only 15% said they were being asked if they wanted to be retrained on new and emerging technology.
  • 12% said the company chooses the individuals they want to retrain on new and emerging technology – so it would appear there are many people losing out on the chance to develop new skills.

We asked respondents, “If you have lost opportunities to up-skill or re-train in your current role, in which of the following ways has this happened?” 23% said they were too busy with their current job but 18% said there wasn’t enough training budget, and 17% said a lack of guidance (on what skills will be needed for the role in the future) had been provided. 16% also said their employer didn’t know what skills they already have, so could not make suggestions.

Worth noting: Companies that invest in skills development are twice as likely to improve retention, according to Aptitude Research, and tend to see quality of hire improve by 34%.

The internal gig economy

One of the ways companies can open up career-enhancing opportunities, while building the skills their workforce will need tomorrow, is to offer “gigs”. As with internal moves, gigs provide a chance for employees to gain new skills, build new relationships and feel engaged with the progress of the business.

However, their short-term nature gives them more appeal to protective managers or stretched teams, who don’t want to lose a top player permanently.

We asked people who were interested in taking up a ‘gig job’ within their organization (or had done so already) why it appealed to them. The highest number (34%) said “to develop and learn new skills.” 32% said it would challenge them in a different way, and 20% said it would encourage them to stay at their organization for longer.

Read the full Talent Index report here, and learn more about Internal Mobility strategy here.