Internal mobility is an integral part of an organization’s talent acquisition strategy. It can foster greater employee engagement and make the organization more resilient during harsh economic times, such as during COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, many companies experienced layoffs, slowed or stopped hiring, and were left with talent gaps. This situation led many to turn toward internal mobility.
Organizations that needed to restructure found that a robust internal mobility program, coupled with the right technology, helped them reassign employees in different roles to adapt. Stats show that since the arrival of COVID-19, internal mobility has increased by almost 20% year-over-year.
Individuals are changing jobs more than ever due to limited advancement opportunities within the workplace. According to a survey by Gallup examining the main reasons employees leave, lack of career advancement/promotional opportunities was the No. 1 reason. The same study found that 92% of employees surveyed were more likely to remain at their companies if they felt their supervisors encouraged their development.
Internal mobility is when a qualified employee can move up vertically or laterally within the same company. Ruslan Tovbulatov, vice president of global marketing at Gloat, told SHRM that investing in employee development has become more critical as companies expect their recruiting budget to decrease in 2021. He also says that the internal talent marketplace is a “transformative innovation” that will be key to talent management in the future.
It’s no secret that recruiting new talent can be a lengthy, time-consuming, and expensive process. According to Yello’s 2020 Benchmark Report, 52% of responding recruiters say their average time-to-hire is over three weeks long. However, over 18% say it can take more than a month to find a new hire, and the amount of time increases as the level of experience goes up. For example, over 55% of surveyed recruiters say the process to hire management-level staff takes longer than three weeks, and roughly 20% of organizations say it can increase to more than two months.
Many organizations spend large amounts of money on recruiting and training new hires. Companies can reduce their cost-to-hire by hiring internally, saving almost double the amount it costs to hire externally.
In addition, external candidates have higher salary expectations when compared to internal employees. For example, the average starting salary of an external hire is about 18 to 20% higher than internal hires. A Gartner report found that turnover caused by a lack of internal career opportunities can cost some companies $49 million per year.
Most talent acquisition professionals believe that retention is the No.1 benefit of internal mobility, with more than 80% of those surveyed in LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends report agreeing. For example, Schneider Electric launched its internal mobility platform, called Open Talent Market, to solve retention issues. According to SHRM, the company decided to make the change after learning that almost 50% of the employees who left believed they couldn’t find the right opportunities within the company.
When organizations develop internal talent and provide opportunities to move up or laterally within the company, it can boost employee engagement and morale. This eventually helps to retain employees and reduce turnover.
According to LinkedIn data, organizations with high internal mobility can retain employees for almost twice as long as companies with low internal mobility. The Global Talent Trends report also found that employees stay 41% longer if there’s high internal hiring than companies with low internal hiring.
Several technology software tools can help businesses with their internal mobility strategies. For example, companies that are serious about incorporating internal mobility programs should invest in a resume parser that can help recruiters efficiently screen more candidates.
When the internal screening process is streamlined and organized, it can help fill internal openings faster. A robust learning management system (LMS) allows companies to outline particular skills against specific jobs and employees to access relevant training programs. Another helpful platform is internal talent marketplaces, which can match internal workers to various assignments or projects.
Technology innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI), can help enhance and support an organization’s internal mobility program. Depending on the software, recruiters can list job openings within the platform to make it easier for internal employees to see these opportunities and apply them. Employees can also create profiles to outline their skills, experience, and other vital details that will allow recruiters to match and place them in new job positions.
For example, Schneider Electric’s internal talent marketplace, Open Talent Market, uses AI to suggest career and development opportunities based on skills and ambitions. WORQDRIVE, currently in private beta testing, is an internal mobility platform that holds an anonymous database of employees’ skills and matches them with open job postings. It also enables recruiters to reach out to employees regarding jobs if they feel like the candidate is qualified.
Other notable technology includes Gloat, an AI-driver platform that matches employees to open roles, and Guider.ai, an internal mentoring platform.
According to a survey by Futurestep, 87% of responding employers said that a strong internal mobility program would help with retention. Despite this advantage, only one-third said that their company had an internal mobility program in place.
Several studies have shown the positive impacts internal mobility programs can have on retaining employees and saving money. Thanks to tech innovations, many programs, such as WORQDRIVE, can aid talent acquisition teams in moving qualified employees laterally or vertically into open positions.