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What Is Internal Talent Mobility, And Why Do You Need It?

As companies continue to feel the pressure of the so-called ‘Great Resignation’, both hiring and retaining top talent is front of mind across nearly every industry. While the phrase ‘internal mobility’ may not be new, it is no longer just HR teams who are interested in it. So what does the term really mean, and why does it matter so much today?

What is internal mobility?

Put simply, internal mobility is employees moving roles within an organization. This may be a short-term project (gigs!), a lateral move (trying out a new department!) or a vertical move (promotion!).

However, a proper internal mobility strategy looks at the most effective and efficient way to get people in the right roles, and forms part of a wider Talent Lifecycle Management approach. It seeks to get the best from the people in your business (engaging, retaining and developing them) while plugging skills gaps that emerge with less of the cost, hassle and time of hiring externally.

While many companies profess to have a process for internal mobility, sophisticated companies will likely have a comprehensive strategy and an internal mobility platform: a Talent Marketplace where they can match open opportunities, and temporary gigs or projects, with the best-fit talent in their organization. Ideally, this will offer an excellent user experience, and make it as easy to apply internally as externally.

The best way to approach such a project is to consider employees, and roles, through the prism of skills.

Skills-first internal mobility programs

Whether internal or external, you need to look at talent through the lens of skills and qualities, rather than work experience and job titles (and even, to some extent, qualifications).

For example, if you’re looking to fill an Email Marketing Manager role on your team, and your ideal candidate needs to be a Marketo expert, you will most certainly get better candidate results by searching for an expert-level Marketo user, as opposed to simply using the job title of “Email Marketing Manager.” Individuals with this title may or may not have used Marketo in their previous roles, and it’s a gamble to search for talent this way. Taking a skills-first approach helps recruiters cast a wide net, while still ensuring that the individuals you identify as quality candidates actually have the skills to be successful in the role.

In an ideal world, talent mobility software would proactively match internal candidates, in real time, to each available opportunity, gig, or project, based on their skills. Indeed, Beamery’s AI-powered solution looks at what people have done, what they can do, what they want to do, and how their skills and experience compares with peers and even external candidates.

Your current employees likely have skills that are easily transferable across departments. Skills like project management, data storytelling, presenting, problem solving, and relationship building, can all be applied in just about every department within an organization. This means that, chances are, you already have a great fit for your open role inside your company. You just need to identify them.

To realize the benefits of an internal mobility program, thinking about skills first means putting the human at the heart of human resources. People are more than a fixed job role: they have capabilities, aspirations and potential; they have skills that may be getting overlooked.

The benefits of an internal mobility program

The fourth edition of our global Talent Index found that 41% of men and 29% of women have already taken on an internal project within the company they are employed by, and a total of 37% say they are considering doing so, with the top reasons being developing new skills and finding new challenges.

Employees are keen to expand and diversify their skillsets, and take on exciting growth opportunities, so it is clear why every business should consider internal mobility to be a strategic priority.

Retain your employees

A good internal mobility program helps you hold on to your best talent, not least because it offers a clear view of their skills and aspirations.

In the fourth edition of our Talent Index survey, 51% of people told us they plan to leave their job in the next 12 months. But this survey also revealed that 54% of people who left a company, due to feeling unhappy or unfulfilled, have later regretted doing so. Your employees might have itchy feet, but it doesn’t mean they’re looking for the door – maybe just for another desk.

Additionally, Talent Index data shows that 53% of companies do not currently have a ‘stay interview’ process in place. Stay interviews are proven to be a key step to successfully retaining employees when they are thinking of leaving. Steffen Buch, Vice President of People and Culture at Beamery, recently shared his thoughts on the importance of stay interviews as part of the employee retention process.

While a great internal mobility platform helps you save on recruitment and development costs, your workforce is also motivated and more likely to be productive and highly engaged. Some clients report 2.5x greater retention rates when they implement a Talent Marketplace and foster a culture of internal mobility.

Empower your employees

Internal mobility, done well, improves the overall culture at your business. You can truly empower your people, by showing them clear career pathing and progression options.

One way we practice this internally at Beamery is by having each employee create their own personal development goals. This gives every team member the opportunity to reflect on what they’ve accomplished in their role so far, and identify what would help them perform their job better, and what would set them up for success and help them reach their future goals.

This might mean they attend a seminar to sharpen their skills, or maybe they will take a course to learn a brand new skillset. Sometimes it can be as simple as connecting one on one with another leader within the organization to gain valuable insights from them.

Ultimately, this helps employees decide where they would like to be a year from now, or a few years from now. After these development goals are set, managers can then help guide their team members and get them on the right track to be that ‘best-fit’ candidate when a new role within the business opens, and help them reach their career goals in the long term.

With a skills-focused Talent Marketplace, you can give your workers control over their own development journey, and provide smart recommendations based on known and inferred skills… as well as development goals, cognition style, and working preferences. Combined with employee sentiment and engagement data, your talent mobility efforts can find new challenges for bored colleagues before it is too late.

Most people learn best by doing. Internal mobility offers your people the best way to reskill or upgrade their skills, while bringing additional benefits to the bottom line.

Improve your talent planning

The right internal mobility solution will allow you to make far more strategic talent planning decisions, allowing you to better forecast your future talent needs. High-quality internal mobility platforms should also offer an unbiased skills perspective.

With Beamery, you can automatically consider every employee for any open opportunity with more inclusive resourcing powered by AI. Our algorithms are built and tested to encourage equitable, diverse resourcing and minimize inherent and systemic bias.

Beamery also helps improve DE&I outcomes through analytics that help identify groups of people who are not progressing, which may flag potential unconscious bias that exists within your company. Business leaders can use that information to take meaningful action to eliminate any and all bias in the business.

Of course, there are many challenges to consider when implementing an internal mobility program. But the rewards for those who get it right are, like your existing talent, right there in front of you.

Ready to go? A Talent Marketplace from Beamery will help managers and recruiters locate ambitious talent within the company and quickly fill openings with best-fit employees.