Every organization has a powerful competitive advantage right in front of it: its workforce. Thoughtful internal mobility policies help you tap into your existing talent’s potential to create a more dynamic, productive, and successful organization.
Internal mobility is about more than just shifting existing employees into different roles. It's about leveraging the skills, experience, and knowledge of the existing workforce to create new opportunities for growth and success. By investing in internal mobility, you can create a more diverse and engaged workforce that's better equipped to tackle the challenges of the ever-changing business landscape.
Explore the benefits of internal mobility and learn how to create an effective internal mobility strategy for your organization.
What Is Internal Mobility? 🚀
Internal mobility refers to an employee's movement within an organization from one job or role to another. This type of mobility can involve changes in job responsibilities, promotion to a higher-level role, or lateral movement to a similar role within the same organization. Internal mobility offers many benefits to both employees and organizations.
For employees, internal mobility can provide career development opportunities and the chance to gain new skills and experiences. It also can provide job security, as employers are more likely to hold on to employees they see high potential in. Furthermore, internal mobility provides employees with the opportunity to explore different roles within the same organization, allowing them to find the best fit for their interests and skill sets.
Organizations benefit from internal mobility as it can increase employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity. It also can reduce recruitment costs and provide an internal talent pool for new positions. Additionally, internal mobility can help organizations maintain a diverse workforce, as employees may be able to move into roles that span different departments and locations.
4 Types of Internal Mobility
Not all talent mobility paths are created equal — and that’s what makes it such a great option for each and every employee. Check out these four ways employees can move within your org chart.
Lateral moves refer to job changes within the same level of the organizational hierarchy. These types of moves allow employees to gain new skills and insights into different areas of the business without having to move up or down the org chart. This type of internal mobility can help companies by allowing them to retain valuable employees and move them into roles better suited for them.
Vertical moves refer to changes within the organizational hierarchy that involve an employee moving up or down in the chain of command. These types of moves allow employees to gain new management or technical skills and experience different levels of responsibility. This type of internal mobility can help companies by allowing them to promote employees with increased qualifications and provide them with new challenges.
Cross-departmental moves refer to job changes that involve a move to a different department within the same organization. This type of internal mobility lets employees gain new skills and insights into different areas of the organization and can provide them with an opportunity to expand their career horizons. Cross-departmental mobility also allows the business to build a pool of top talent to fill skill gaps across the workforce as needed, creating a more agile organization.
Global internal mobility refers to the movement of employees from one country to another within the same company. Mobility is an important part of global business strategy and an effective way for companies to develop their global talent. It allows employees to gain experience in different countries, learn new skills, and gain a better understanding of global markets, cultures, and customers.
Why Is Internal Mobility Important in the Workplace?
The strongest organizations know how to help people reach their full potential by giving them control over their career paths across the employee engagement lifecycle. Check out some of these benefits of internal mobility to see how giving team members options for growth can grow your business.
Improves Talent Acquisition and Attraction
A culture of mobility is an attractive concept for candidates as it enables them to have more control over their career paths and to explore new opportunities more easily. It provides them with the flexibility to move between roles and organizations within the same industry, allowing them to advance their skills and knowledge without having to start from scratch in another organization.
A culture of mobility can be attractive to prospective candidates because it offers a sense of security. When employees know that they have the option to move within an organization, they may feel a greater sense of stability, as they understand that they can continue to progress and develop their careers. This also can provide employees with an increased sense of job satisfaction since they know that they can move and explore new opportunities even if their current role isn’t the right fit.
Promotes Skill Development
By moving from one job to another, employees are exposed to different work environments and can learn new skills and techniques. This helps them become more well-rounded and knowledgeable in their field.
A culture of mobility also encourages employees to develop their interpersonal skills. By interacting with different people in different roles, employees can learn how to better communicate and collaborate with colleagues. This is important for any organization because it helps create a more positive work environment and increases employee productivity.
Additionally, a culture of mobility can help employees develop problem-solving skills. By working in different roles, employees can learn how to solve complex problems in different contexts, which can help them become more effective problem-solvers in their careers.
Improves Employee Engagement and Retention
By allowing employees to move easily between different departments, roles, and even locations, organizations can create an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated. This can help improve employee engagement by giving them the opportunity to pursue their career interests and passions while also letting them gain new experiences and skills.
In addition to providing employees with the opportunity to develop their skills, a culture of mobility increases employee satisfaction by providing them with the autonomy to move among different roles without having to worry about finding a new job. This can help create a sense of security and loyalty, as employees feel they have more freedom to explore and learn.
Employees with the agency to move between different roles are more likely to stay with your organization, creating a stable workforce. Say you have an ambitious employee who’s gotten as far as they can go in their role as a customer service specialist, for example, but who doesn’t want to move into management. If they can see other career paths where they can apply the skills they’ve learned as a customer service specialist, the risk of losing them to disengagement or boredom drops significantly.
Reduces Hiring Costs
A culture of mobility reduces hiring costs in multiple ways. First, it lets employers use existing employees who are familiar with the company's operations, minimizing the need for external hires. Second, a culture of mobility encourages employees to stay with the company longer, which decreases the costs associated with turnover.
Lastly, a culture of mobility can reduce the costs of recruiting, training, and onboarding new employees since internal candidates already have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their roles. All of these factors lead to a significant reduction in hiring costs.
A culture of mobility also has intangible benefits that can further reduce hiring costs. For example, it can lead to a more motivated and productive workforce, as employees are more likely to stay with the company if they see potential for personal and career growth. This leads to improved employee retention rates and reduced costs associated with recruiting and training new staff.
Additionally, a culture of mobility can lead to better job satisfaction, as employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions. This can lead to improved employee loyalty and job performance, further reducing the costs associated with hiring.
Empowers Organizational Agility
Employee mobility allows organizations to quickly adjust to changing market conditions and customer demands. By having employees in multiple areas, organizations can quickly tap into new skills and knowledge plus shift resources to meet customer needs. This flexibility enables organizations to remain agile and quickly respond to customer demands and market conditions.
Additionally, a culture of employee mobility encourages collaboration and connection among departments and business units. This provides a platform for creative problem-solving and innovative thinking. The ability to quickly share ideas and solutions across departments can help organizations stay ahead of competitors. By creating an environment of collaboration and connection, organizations can foster an agile culture that can quickly adapt to changes in the market and respond to customer needs.
3️⃣ Elements to Creating a Culture of Employee Mobility
Team members won’t feel empowered to move within the company without your support and the infrastructure to make internal moves possible. Check out these three elements you need to foster a long-term culture of mobility.
Leadership and Management Support
Leaders and managers are responsible for setting the tone and expectations for their teams. They must ensure that employees feel empowered to take on new roles and challenges and that they’re supported when they do. Without strong leadership and manager support, employees may feel stuck in their current roles or unable to make the changes necessary to move up in the organization.
Transparent Career Paths
Clear career paths give workers a realistic sense of how their current roles and accomplishments can lead to better ones, and they create a feeling of proactivity and self-motivation. Additionally, transparent career paths encourage employees to stay with the organization, as they have a clear idea of what lies ahead in terms of advancement and development. As part of your employee communication plan, deliver content that lets team members know when they qualify for open roles within the organization.
Perhaps, for example, you have an employee in project management who just completed a product management course. Program your workflow system to ping the employee when there are opportunities for cross-training on a product development team, allowing them to apply the skills they’ve learned.
Skill Development and Training Programs
By offering ongoing training and development opportunities, employers can help ensure that their employees are well-equipped to take on new roles and responsibilities. Training and skill development programs also provide employees with the opportunity to build new relationships. By attending a training program, employees can network with colleagues from different departments and gain access to valuable resources and information. This can help foster a more collaborative and supportive workplace environment and promote a culture of mobility.
5 Challenges to Implementing Internal Mobility
Many organizations are still locked into outdated career paths, such as moving straight into management positions rather than into the same role in a different department. Here are five challenges you may encounter as you develop a culture of mobility at work.
Breaking Silos and Fostering Collaboration
Breaking silos and fostering collaboration within organizations is an essential step to driving employee mobility. Silos are created when departments or teams become isolated from each other, hindering communication among and exposure to other teams. This can lead to a lack of collaboration and information sharing, making it more difficult for you to understand the needs of your team.
By breaking down silos, you can foster collaboration among teams and departments, helping you to better understand your employees' needs and take steps to provide them with more options for mobility.
Mitigating Bias and Unconscious Assumptions
Employers must create a culture of fairness and equal opportunity to foster internal employee mobility. To ensure that employees have equal opportunities to progress within the organization, you need to mitigate bias and unconscious assumptions, which can be a major factor in limiting an employee’s ability to move up within a company.
Say you have a manager who assumes that an employee in engineering can’t transition into HR, for example, based solely on their past experiences. That type of thought process can prevent team members from finding where they truly belong, and you need to foster open-mindedness to overcome it.
Supporting Employee Transitions
A successful transition allows employees to develop new skills, knowledge, and perspectives that can benefit the organization. By providing support and guidance during an employee’s transition, employers can ensure that employees can make the most of their new roles. Employers can provide support in the form of resources, such as mentors, training, and access to information and resources. This can help ease the transition and ensure that employees have the necessary skills to succeed.
Identifying and Tracking Metrics for Success
Employers need to identify and track metrics for internal employee mobility to improve company performance, ensure job satisfaction, and promote career progression. Metrics such as the number of internal job postings, the percentage of employees who switch roles, and the average length of time that employees stay in a new role can provide you with useful insights into the effectiveness of your internal mobility program.
Engaging in Continuous Improvement
As the workplace evolves, employers need to focus on developing their existing workforce to ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to help the organization reach its goals. By engaging in continuous improvement initiatives, such as providing training and development opportunities, you can increase the skill level of your existing employees to create a more productive and engaged workforce.
Maximizing Opportunities in Your Organization With Internal Mobility
As they move forward, organizations that embrace internal mobility as a strategic imperative will find themselves better equipped to adapt to market demands, retain top talent, and cultivate a workforce that's agile, versatile, and dedicated to their shared success.
The road to maximizing opportunities in your organization begins with unlocking the potential of your own talent pool through internal mobility.
Want to learn more? Check out this webinar on “Nurturing Talent from Within”!