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What is Talent Mobility?

March 29, 2011, Naren Patil -

    “One of the biggest success drivers in enduring organizations is their ability to rapidly and transparently move people from role to role, function to function, and business to business to tackle most critical business challenges.” Bersin Research on Transparent Talent Mobility 

However, most companies have very primitive succession-planning processes. These primitive processes often lock talent within the business units and the pivotal talent is not shared for the most critical projects that can serve greater good for the organization. Rapidly changing composition of the global workforce does not make it any easier for CEOs to find the right talent for their growth initiatives.

The results? Inability of companies to tap key talent for new growth initiatives, layoff of top performers or high potentials since they are not exposed to other Companywide opportunities, weak leadership pipeline, turnover of pivotal talent since they are unable to find a challenging position in other business units, and lost business opportunities that hurt revenues and profitability.

Business Impact of Lack of Talent Visibility:

  • * Shortage of talent for international expansion
  • * Hurting business units while the pivotal talent is fleeing elsewhere
  • * Shortage of leadership and middle management talent
  • * Disruptions due to rapidly retiring senior leadership in several countries
  • * High turnover of key talent due to lack of career growth


What is Talent Mobility?

Talent mobility is the movement of talent to where it is needed most – and understanding the opportunities for leveraging key skills and knowledge beyond organizational boundaries. In a nutshell, Talent Mobility is about making the pivotal talent as a corporate asset and making it available for the most critical business initiatives while taking into account career interests of the employee.

Why Care?  Benefits of Talent Mobility:


Talent mobility is a strategic initiative that helps companies to optimally leverage their organizational talent pool to fuel business growth. It enables organizations to build deep skills in the areas that matter most to their business objectives. It helps companies build a strong leadership pipeline for management and professional roles that are critical for growth. For example, a critical role for a rapidly growing retail Company could be “store manager” and a critical role for a rapidly growing bank could be a “teller”. Talent mobility allows companies to eliminate huge disruptions resulting from loss of talent at a critical position by creating an organization-wide talent pool, developing successors and quickly backfilling the critical position.  More importantly, Talent Mobility engages and retains your key employees by making organization-wide career opportunities available to them.


Seven Easy Steps towards Achieving Talent Mobility:

  1. 1. Get visibility into pivotal talent
  2. 2. Conduct Company-wide talent reviews
  3. 3. Map talent with business needs
  4. 4. Identify critical positions that impact the business
  5. 5. Map and factor in employee aspirations
  6. 6. Analyze the talent with tools such as 9-box and side-by-side comparison
  7. 7. Develop leaders internally when successors are not ready


Key Takeaway:

In a nutshell, organizations that have a clear visibility into their critical positions and pivotal talent are able to mobilize the right people in the right roles to tackle the most critical business problems. Jim Collins, author of bestseller Good to Great, describes this concept very succinctly — “People are not your most critical assets, right people are! The ultimate throttle on a growth for any great Company is not markets, Technology, competition, or products. It is the ability to get andkeep enough of the right people within the Company.”



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