The grass is not always greener when it comes to searching externally for fresh talent. Sometimes, the best candidate for the job is already on the payroll—just in a different position.
Welcome to the world of internal mobility programs, where recruiting for those hard-to fill positions may be as easy as walking across the office to meet the latest candidate.
Our greatest talent resources may be at risk of leaving because they feel bored, underappreciated or simply want a change. Don’t wait for them to give their notice; prepare in advance to retain valuable talent. A great internal mobility program can help keep employees at your organization (and not the competition’s!) by helping them stay engaged and productive. Engaged employees take on new challenges and thrive.
Here are five tips for creating an internal mobility program that helps good employees move into great positions tailored for them.
1. Make “Multi-Directional” the Way to Go
Drop that career ladder! While “upward mobility” was the name of the game for years, today’s employees are less inclined to see themselves somewhere on a career ladder continuum. Instead of angling for the latest promotion and corresponding raise, today’s workers cross multiple generations, geographic locations and cultures. A worker may wish to step off the managerial track to learn new skills or perhaps reduce responsibilities in pursuit of work-life balance.
This shift makes talent management all the more tough, but this is where multi-directional mobility shines. Enable your workers to focus their skills where it makes sense rather than railroading them into a traditional “career ladder” path.
2. Launch the World’s Best Recruiting Strategy
Do your organization’s recruiters think the best talent is working somewhere else? Make sure they see the value in your internal employee database. One tactic is to post open positions internally one month before they are posted publicly.
If your recruiting team isn’t convinced they should look internally from the start, tell them that the “internal mobility first” strategy offers fantastic benefits:
> Quick turnaround. When a new position opens, a long list of chores appears for the recruiter: recruiting candidates, screening and interviewing. Starting from scratch with an external candidate is time consuming.
> Little to no hiring costs. Think of what an external hire means to the organization in terms of cost. Salary is a whopping 18 percent higher for external hires, according to one recent study. Then there is job advertising, interviewing time, onboarding and training costs.
> Great culture fits. The internal candidate is already known. Any red flags or odd cultural miscues would have been discovered by now.
3. Use Performance Reviews to be Transparent
Frequent performance reviews can be a great avenue for encouraging employees to consider internal positions. Wrap the discussion with a plan for informal and formal learning opportunities so the employee can see a clear path forward that supports their goals combined with those of the organization’s.
Go over the nuts and bolts of your organization’s policy on internal job applications. Who is available for an internal move? Is management approval required? Make sure the employee understands the process so they can move forward with applying for the position.
4. Enable Employees to Take Control of Their Career Development
Engaged employees who feel supported by their employers and are offered opportunities to learn more and develop skills are more likely to stay in their positions and contribute to the company’s bottom line.
Make sure employees know they are accountable for their own career growth. Encourage them to schedule time to focus on their own personal development, goals and interests. Most importantly, ensure that employees have access to information on what opportunities are available, and what skills are required to get there. This could be in the form of an internal job board, or preferably a career planning system that enables employees to explore jobs in (or outside of) their immediate career path, view skill gaps, identify mentors and put a plan into place to get to the next step in their career.
5. Make Learning Make Sense
If employees move laterally, often additional training is a first step. To make sure employees are ready for their new responsibilities and skills, ensure learning opportunities are ready for your employees.
Pro Tip: Remember that mobile learning reaches employees wherever they are. Check out this blog post for 5 Tips for Creating a Mobile Learning Program for Employees on the Move.
Want more help with retaining your employees? Download our ebook, Winning Your Workforce: The Essential Guide to Improving Retention and Employee Engagement.