How to improve internal mobility: 5 easy-to-implement techniques

11 May 2021 - Reading time: 3 Minutes

HR management

A recent employer survey by SD Worx, in which nearly 1,400 European companies shared their future intentions regarding HR, leaves no room for misunderstanding: internal mobility is top of mind. Companies are increasingly looking inwards for talent. About 1 in 3 organisations have already launched internal mobility projects in the past 12 months, while another 24% plan to do so in 2021. But how exactly do you make sure internal mobility reaps the rewards it is so often praised for?

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#1 Map the skills of your employees

One of the main barriers to managing internal mobility is that some companies don’t have any insights into the composition of skills in their current workforce. Data on employees is siloed in different systems that are owned by different departments. Sound familiar? In that case, it’s time to assess your talent base. The goal: identifying strengths and weaknesses as well as energy gainers and drainers. Only when that mapping exercise is done can you match each person to their ideal position.

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#2 Stop looking upwards only

A raise. Climbing the ladder. Getting promoted. These concepts related to professional success reflect a highly linear career model. But today’s reality is more nuanced. Careers also proceed horizontally, diagonally and even downwards.

  • Horizontal: employees can broaden their horizons by taking up different roles or by specialising in one domain. Another possibility is to place them in a position that substantively differs from their current position in order for them to gain new skills.
  • Diagonal: employees do the same job but in a different department, team or facility. In this way, they gradually obtain more insights and get to know your business, preparing them for a possible next step.
  • Demotion: taking a step back can be a valid decision. This can occur, for example, when someone in a managerial position discovers that the job description isn’t a 100% fit with their current life and career stage. This demonstrates self-awareness.

Seeing internal mobility as more than just upwards movement will definitely open the door to an improved dynamic in your company.

#3 Tackle talent hoarding

Managers may try to downplay talent on their team and find ways to avoid lending talent to other in-company projects. But a culture of talent hoarding often leads to a culture of talent loss. To prevent this effect, keep these simple tips in mind:

  • Make it clear to managers that they’ll get access to substantial resources to source and train replacements.
  • Set goals and objectives for recruiting, developing and sharing talent across your organisation.
  • Offer (financial or non-financial) incentives to managers who live the company culture you aim for.
  • Broadly share success stories so both employees and managers can see the mutual wins of internal mobility.

#4 Include employees through continuous conversations

Our employer survey shows that 1 in 3 companies kicked off teleworking projects in the last 12 months. With employees working from home, in coworking spaces or in other remote offices, chances are that you’ve lost touch with their needs and wishes. Frequent conversations – both digital and face to face – help managers better identify aspirations in their team. Moreover, when employees see that their contributions are rewarded, their self-development is sponsored and their goals are supported, they’ll be more engaged with your organisation, no matter the position they are in.

Continuous performance management can boost internal mobility.

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#5 Make use of innovative technology

The options are countless, from building a digital job board to creating an internal talent marketplace that matches relevant opportunities to employees. Or what about a learning experience platform (LXP)? Whenever an employee switches jobs within your organisation, an LXP facilitates reskilling by providing quick and easy access to the necessary learning materials. Moreover, these open platforms encourage employees to learn while they work by offering context-based microlearning content, real-time guidance and performance support.

Boosting internal mobility is just one of many ways to revamp your HR in the new normal. Curious to learn what else you can do? We’ve gathered the most cited courses of action by European employers in our e-book ‘HR - From pitlane to pole: reassess, revamp, revive’.

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