Faced with an increasing lack of external talent, organizations are finally refocusing their efforts on internal mobility, a talent acquisition strategy that has become critical to successful recruiting outcomes. In fact, more than three-quarters of the business and HR leaders who responded to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2019 survey rate “internal talent mobility” as being important while one in five rates it as “one of their organization’s three most urgent issues.”
However, simply shifting the recruiting focus inward won’t produce effective results, especially when most employees often find that it’s easier to pursue opportunities outside of their organizations than it is to advance internally. Success relies heavily on having the infrastructure in place that supports career development among all employees.
Three Essential Considerations for Internal Mobility Success
For starters, talent acquisition needs to make finding and applying to jobs internally easy and seamless. If it’s harder for current employees to find a job at your company than it is for external talent, then you need to rethink the way you’re communicating jobs. At minimum, your talent platform should include an internal mobility component that provides support for communicating and managing opportunities. In addition, there are AI-driven solutions that will automate the process of matching current employees against job criteria, delivering matches to recruiters and notifying employees of relevant opportunities.
Once this aspect is addressed, there are several other elements that should be evaluated to make sure the organization and its policies are structured in support of internal mobility. Three of the most essential considerations include:
1. Encourage internal mobility in various directions. All too often, organizations are dictated by hierarchies that emphasize a single upward path. This often makes it far more difficult for employees to move across functional areas and divisions. Yet, lateral moves can be just as rewarding for employees and the organization as traditional promotions are. Hierarchical structures also influence the views managers and employees have of mobility, which can further limit the potential of your talent. Rethinking career paths can help rid an organization of the biases that exist regarding what the next step should be for employees.
2. Structure performance evaluations to work with, not against, internal mobility. Evaluations at the management level should favor managers who clearly encourage internal mobility. If they don’t, managers will continue to resist losing high performers, especially workers who help their teams achieve the goals and objectives that management is currently evaluated against. Gartner reports that, based on its research, “only 37% of managers encourage their direct reports to seek internal opportunities.”
3. Don’t restrict who can benefit from your internal mobility program. If you limit your organization’s program to those at the management level or above, you’re significantly impeding the program’s impact. Younger workers crave career development and advancement opportunities just as much as more experienced professionals, so ignoring staff-level employees who also happen to be younger can result in the loss of exceptional Gen Z and Millennial talent.
Of course, you’ll also want to determine how to measure the success of your internal mobility program through a range of data points, from quality of hire and reduced recruiting costs to employee engagement and retention. And don’t forget the value of executive sponsorship—secure the support of a C-suite leader who is committed to improving internal mobility and willing to champion the cause at every turn.
Recruiting Internally Is a Big Win for the Business
While the tight labor market is partially responsible for a renewed interest in internal mobility, the strong results achieved by organizations that prioritize internal recruitment speak for themselves. From shorter time to hire and faster time to productivity to greater employee engagement and improved hiring manager satisfaction, the benefits translate into big wins for the business—and for the talent acquisition teams that are tapping into the exceptional talent they already have access to.