Talent mobility has long been recognized as a pivotal strategy for nurturing sustained business agility and longevity. Today, the ramifications of talent shortages and job vacancies are more pronounced than ever, prompting organizations to intensify their focus on talent mobility as a means to reduce recruitment expenses, enhance operational efficiency and proactively fill job openings from within.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the meaning of talent mobility, as a cost-efficient alternative to recruitment that can help you fill talent pipelines and reach desired business outcomes.
Talent mobility refers to the opportunities and pathways companies establish that allow employees to move laterally or vertically throughout the organization into new positions. This mobility allows employees to expand their knowledge and advance their careers while helping companies to fill positions internally.
Individual ambition and motivation factor into the success of mobility initiatives; however, the ultimate responsibility lies with the organization to create an environment in which professional advancement is possible. To do this, an effective talent mobility strategy should be grounded in:
- Access to education and development opportunities
- Hiring practices that prioritize internal mobility just as much, if not more than, external recruitment
- Atypical career paths that go beyond the typical linear ladder
- Succession planning that allows for the transparent construction of internal leadership pipelines
Why talent mobility should be a key business strategy
The cost of filling a position with new talent can run three to four times the salary. It’s not just the cost of finding the right skill set, but also the right culture fit. In many cases, current employees are known candidates who can often deliver what their company needs, better and at a lower cost.
With the right kind of L&D in place, companies can cultivate the talent they need and provide a clear path for advancement, both up the leadership ladder and laterally into completely new roles. By offering this kind of career mobility, companies make a compelling case for employees to want to stay and grow at their present organization, instead of looking outside.
In a recent study, 68% of workers said they would stay with their employer throughout their career if given the opportunity for upskilling. Organizations, in turn, can build worker skills to match key business objectives for today and future needs, while providing employees with career and learning paths with big payoffs.
Not only does talent mobility retain workers, but it also attracts talent. Today, job-seekers want to work for an organization that’s invested in their personal growth, as much as that of the company. When considering a new employer, more than 86% of people want opportunities for career development and career advancement, with the ability to shift towards a different job or career if desired.
4 tactics for taking meaningful action on talent mobility
Regardless of how robust your existing talent mobility strategy may be, here are five additional tactics to consider implementing (if you haven’t already!)
- Engage people managers
People managers are the ones on the ground and immersed in the day-to-day with their direct reports. They can have a significant influence on the success and advancement of their teams — especially if they take a proactive approach to talking about career advancement. Rather than waiting for employees to bring up mobility opportunities, organizations should kick-start the conversation during onboarding and then continue the discussion regularly throughout an employee’s tenure.
- Implement comprehensive career pathing
Career paths empower both people managers and employees to understand what mobility options are available and the steps needed to get there. When employees can visualize the potential career outcomes of their efforts, they’re much more likely to be engaged and motivated.
- Engage workforce education
Enable your employees to upskill or reskill into new roles by providing them with accessible learning and education opportunities. While plenty of learning happens on the job, career mobility can be further accelerated by formal training and education. This includes anything from short-form training courses to professional certifications and degree programs. Keep in mind that the learning options you offer should always be relevant to the positions available within your company.
- Align talent mobility with business goals
When it comes to talent management, no strategy should exist in a silo. Talent mobility is no different. Make sure that the goals you set out to achieve through a dedicated mobility strategy align with the greater goals of the business. Doing so will help you get buy-in from executive leadership and help ensure that your efforts are rooted in clear objectives.
How to know if your talent mobility strategy is working
With significant business benefits at stake, how often should you assess the effectiveness of your talent mobility strategy?
Assess continuously. Employee priorities and business requirements are changing constantly, so proactively reviewing your career paths will keep your organization a step ahead of market needs. Track these metrics regularly for a clear idea of how your strategy is performing and where you need help.
- Collect data on employee perceptions of mobility and advancement
Get direct feedback from your workers. Send out regular surveys in addition to the standard exit interviews to get a sense of your employees’ feelings regarding career opportunities within the company.
- Analyze retention numbers
Take a look at fluctuations within retention, especially after introducing new initiatives to wider career programming. Are employees staying on longer and at higher rates? Is turnover increasing? Is the workforce in a plateau?
- Measure L&D engagement levels
L&D and talent mobility are intrinsically linked, and participation in your learning programs can act as a key indicator for talent mobility success. Low rates may mean that the programming offered by L&D isn’t giving workers the skills they need to advance, or the content is irrelevant to the organizational experience.
What’s next for talent mobility
While it’s true that you might already understand the value of talent mobility, these tactics can help you take your initiatives to the next level. Look to mobility as key to future-proofing your organization, ensuring it remains agile, resilient and ready to tackle the unforeseen challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Looking for more talent mobility resources? Unlock this webinar recording to sit down with HR leaders as they discuss what talent mobility looks like in practice and share more tried-and-tested tactics you can implement today.