The Internal Mobility Playbook: Maximising The Potential Of Your Workforce.

Since the pandemic, organisations have had to rethink their people strategy. And in this new and rapidly changing landscape, internal mobility is taking centre stage.

What is internal mobility?

It’s a critical component of an organisation’s talent strategy, enabling HR teams to identify their employees’ skill sets and aspirations, and deploy or redeploy these internal talent pools where they’re needed most. Encouraging a culture of internal mobility and advancement not only elevates your employees so they’re front of mind when a role becomes available, it also supports their career growth and development. 

Although internal mobility has been on HR’s agenda for a while, learnings over the past few years made it a priority, as organisations now consider how to increase their workforce’s agility and mobility, and how to maximise their employees’ potential.

Benefits for the organisation

There are numerous benefits to internal mobility. Lower recruiting costs and better pipelining, faster time to productivity, and increased employee engagement and retention rates while supporting transparency, diversity, equity and inclusion, are just a few. By making internal mobility more inclusive, it allows organisations to expand opportunities, unlock potential and mobilise their diverse internal talent, helping to drive employee and business performance. It also allows organisations to retain valuable employees, an attractive alternative to losing them to a competitor. 

Benefits for the employee

From an employee perspective, internal mobility provides career paths, career opportunities and development (a lack of which is a key reason people leave organisations). 

Savvy HR teams are thinking about the skill sets that could be affected by the current market landscape, and are using internal mobility to keep these people working. How organisations treated their workforce during the pandemic will impact their employer brand for years to come.

Not all industries froze and stood-down workforces. Some leveraged internal mobility to redeploy employees to fill critical skills gaps. 

Supermarket retailers, for instance, hired and redeployed hundreds of thousands of staff to cater to shopper demand, while healthcare providers ramped-up hiring to fill hospitals with much-needed healthcare workers. Employees were also redeployed to call centres to support the dramatic increase in customer inquiries.

Although the pandemic resulted in major shifts in the employment market, it isn’t the only thing that brought internal mobility to the fore. Underlying it all is a skills shortage that’s growing more serious by the year. Even with high unemployment deepening the talent pool, this doesn’t necessarily mean the skills you’re looking for will be available.

In a McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, nearly 9/10 executives said their

organisations either face skills gaps already, or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. Although most say their organisations consider it a priority to address skill shortages, few say their organisations understand how to find the skills they require most. 

So, how do you equip your organisation with the workforce you need for the future, especially if you’re not hiring right now? Look to your greatest source of talent: internal mobility.

The highest-performing companies are reskilling their existing workforce and leveraging internal mobility to address talent shortages and skills gaps. It’s why internal mobility is a crucial part of any savvy recruiter’s strategic toolkit.

Take the below chart as an example: have you ever experienced a similar scenario?

By investing in internal mobility, you’re investing in your organisation too. Your top performers will stick around for longer, your employer brand will be defined by career opportunities, and you’ll create a culture that attracts motivated, engaged people who want to develop and grow.

How technology can help

Technology platforms like recruitment marketing help to embed internal mobility within your organisation. With a dedicated internal mobility platform, you can connect employees to job opportunities while delivering a personalised and engaging employee experience. Specialised landing pages prompt employees to join specific talent networks, employee groups, and mentoring programmes, and sign up for job alerts through targeted calls to action. Not only does technology make it easier and more enticing for employees to build their employee profiles (creating a comprehensive view of their aspirations and skill sets), it also matches these individuals to open roles, helping HR teams deploy and redeploy talent based upon business needs.

A recruitment marketing solution like eArcu also helps organisations attract, inform, and engage their employees through automation, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and demonstrate the return on investment.

Content management makes updating or changing internal job listings and landing pages simple, allowing you to:

  • Create engaging job description pages highlighting your employee value proposition (EVP).
  • Showcase your employee career journeys, upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and your diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) approach to internal mobility.
  • Engage employees with career opportunities and learning content through hands-on automated nurture flows and ‘SMART’ pipelines.
  • Understand employee traffic on landing pages and highlight the content people are engaging with thanks to powerful analytics dashboards.

What is the return on investment?

Internal mobility improves your employer brand, keeps the best people inside your organisation, and helps recruiters be more strategic. But how does that relate in hard numbers to bottom-line savings?

The business opportunity with internal mobility is clear.

  1. Reduce recruitment costs by looking within.
  2. Reduce the cost of turnover by choosing someone already aligned with your culture.
  3. Improve employer brand so you can cut advertising costs.

As you can see from the statistics above, recruitment, retention and internal mobility are intrinsically linked. Organisations that invest in ways to encourage career promotion, development and ongoing learning keep their talent engaged and stop them from leaving.

Employees want to grow and build their careers in their role. A structured internal mobility programme provides these opportunities and delivers an engaging employee experience that keeps people around.

The building blocks of a successful internal mobility programme

Internal mobility is a critical component of talent acquisition and talent development. But creating an internal mobility programme within an organisation is easier said than done. 

To support you, we’re sharing the building blocks to creating a successful internal mobility programme, including key considerations and tips across each stage. Use this guide to help you on your own journey.

The 5 main stages are:

Plan your approach: Planning your approach is the critical first step in developing your internal mobility programme. It defines the purpose, strategy and establishes your measures of success. This stage identifies your programme champions and the skill sets already within your organisation. Use the following as a worksheet and checklist:

  1. Define your objectives

Use these questions as a guide to build your purpose and strategy.

  • Consider what internal mobility means to your organisation and its alignment to your current culture. For example, you may want to build a culture that encourages internal mobility and advancement.
    • Is there a shift in mindset required for your leadership team, managers and employees?
  • What are your goals for implementing internal mobility
    • For your organisation?
    • For your employees?
  • What are the benefits? What is the cost of doing nothing?
  • Who will manage the internal mobility programme?
  • What are the measures of success? For example: increase talent deployment and career mobility across the organisation.
  1. Create a cross-functional programme team

A cross-functional programme team brings a unique set of skills, business and external market knowledge.

  • Invite members from your talent acquisition, talent management, learning and development (L&D), and HR technology teams.
  • Part of their responsibility will be to educate their teams on the internal mobility programme, progress and responsibilities.
  • Consider how you can integrate your HR technology solutions to deliver a seamless and holistic experience for employees and talent teams.
  • For example, link your internal mobility strategy to your recruitment, learning, performance and succession platforms. 
  • Review your current internal recruitment policies to make sure they align with your internal mobility process.
  • As a cross-functional team, consider organisational, business unit, manager and employee KPIs to help embed the programme and shift in mindset.
  1. Seek out your internal mobility champions and gain buy-in from key stakeholders
  • Select your executive and senior leader champions. Educate them on the business benefits and value of an internal mobility programme, and the role they can play in its successful execution.
  • Identify the key stakeholders who are critical to the programme’s success, start early to build awareness and engagement.
  • Conduct virtual focus groups with managers to bring them on the internal mobility journey.
  • Discuss the concepts of ‘talent hoarding’ and ‘talent poaching’ and how to overcome these roadblocks.
  • ‘Talent hoarding’ refers to the inclination for managers to keep talented employees within their own team. Managers will often avoid putting these individuals forward for internal placements.
  • Consider the shift in mindset – thinking about talent as a long-term investment.
  • Seek input from your employees – what does internal mobility mean to them?
  • Circle back to these stakeholders with progress updates. You may even invite some of these individuals to be your career storytelling champions.
  1. Take stock of your current workforce

One of the first steps in internal mobility is to understand the skills sets already in the business. Commit to the following:

  • Match skills to roles across the organisation.
  • Identify skill sets that are transferable across roles and skills that you have a surplus of.
  • Work with your L&D team to identify hard-to-fill roles and skills gaps across business units.
  • If there are skills gaps, what resources or systems are in place to easily upskill and/or reskill your employees?
  • Roleplay different market scenarios: how quickly can your organisation pivot and deploy and/or redeploy its workforce where needed?
  1. Consider recruitment marketing technology

Leveraging a recruitment marketing platform for internal mobility automates key tasks and frees you from manual work. A good recruitment marketing platform helps connect employees to open job opportunities while delivering an engaging employee experience. 

  • Using this technology, you can:
  • Update your landing pages easily to amplify job posting and your EVP.
  • Leverage automation to:
  • Nurture employee talent pools with targeted content.
  • Create ‘SMART’ lists to build out your internal talent pools.
  • Utilise calls to action (CTAs) to join your employee talent networks and sign up for job alerts.
  • Track and measure the employee traffic coming to your landing pages, including what content they’re interacting with.
  • Analyse skills sets through completed employee profiles, which you can leverage for deployment and redeployment activities.

Establish: Establish your internal mobility programme, engaging your stakeholders throughout the process. When implementing your programme, consider the employee experience and have your nurture workflows ready to go.

  1. Create your internal mobility landing pages with career and learning content
  • Create ‘sticky’ landing pages with targeted content that engages your employees at first interaction.
    • For example, you could create content showcasing the career journeys of your employees, or interviews with your business leaders where they explain their career path within the organisation.
  • Make your CTAs stand out.
  • Examples of strong CTAs include:
    • Join our employee mobility network
    • Sign up for job alerts
    • Participate in mentoring programmes
  1. Content messaging is key
  • Don’t forget to keep your internal mobility champions and key stakeholders – including your managers – in the loop.
  • Prior to launch, invite your managers, champions and other stakeholder groups to education sessions reinforcing the program’s key messages and benefits.
  • If possible, co-deliver the programme with your senior programme champions.
  • Have an FAQ sheet ready to go with your internal mobility platform log-in details.
  1. Invite employees to join and create awareness of the internal mobility programme
  • Deliver internal mobility education sessions for your employees.
  • Invite your employees to create an employee profile on the platform, sharing their aspirations and skill sets. Explain the programme and its benefits, then link to the internal mobility sign-up page.
  • Share your internal mobility programme on social media to amplify your brand.
  • Register your new employees using your onboarding process checklist.
  • Work with your HR team to update the onboarding checklist to include a link to the internal mobility network.
  1. Ensure your nurture workflows are ready to go
  • Set up the first few nurture workflows to engage your employees as soon as they join your internal mobility programme and talent networks.
  • A short video from the CEO welcoming them to the programme could work well as a first follow-up.

Engage: Engage your employees with targeted content that delivers insight into career paths, easy access to open roles, projects, reskilling, and upskilling opportunities. Leverage analytics to track progress and make informed decisions based on which content resonates.

  1. Take action on your communication plan
  • Create a communication plan that includes the type of content that will be delivered through the internal mobility programme.
    • Share job posting, targeted content for specific employee talent networks, internal movement success stories and videos, mentoring programmes and career development.
    • Empower your career storytelling champions to get involved and share their tips for career success.
  • Implement your communication plan, starting with the first three months of content you plan to share.
  • Refer back to your analytics – what pages and content are your employees engaging with most? This will inform your content curation, ongoing communications plan and deliver the best ROI.
  1. Build your internal pipeline
  • Utilise employee profiles to target your internal talent and fill open roles, succession plan or redeploy to address business needs (don’t forget to work in partnership with your business units).
  • Use ‘SMART’ list automation to create your internal talent pipelines, delivering targeted communications including career development material.
  • Create proactive outreach strategies for employees with high interaction scores.
  1. Survey your employees on their experience
  • Conduct surveys to understand your employees’ internal mobility experience to ensure it’s hitting the mark.

Embed: The key to success for any programme of work is embedding it into business as usual (BAU). A well-managed internal mobility programme delivers value for everyone involved. Conduct regular reviews with your cross-functional team and key stakeholder groups to ensure your programme is delivering on its objectives.

  1. Keep your stakeholders updated and engaged
  • Provide updates to your stakeholder groups, highlighting key wins and success stories.
  • For example, access to broader talent pools that might not have been visible otherwise.
  • Take it a step further and schedule regular meetings with managers to discuss skill sets, the development of talent and linking employees to open job roles.
  1. Agree on KPIs and consider incentives

Shifting mindsets to create a culture of career mobility, skills-sharing and development takes time. Consider the following:

  • Create KPIs for managers to fill roles and pipelines with internal talent.
  • Try an incentive model that helps to build manager confidence.
  • Establish KPIs around an increase in engagement scores across business units.
  • Link to employee development and performance goals.
  • Set KPIs for employees to complete their employee profile on the platform.
  1. Conduct regular reviews and a formal 12-month review of your internal mobility programme
  • Conduct regular check-ins to ensure the internal mobility programme is delivering to the agreed strategy and goals set at the initial planning phase.
  • Review the analytics to gain insights on employee traffic, conversion ratios, and content engagement, then make changes if necessary.
  • Conduct a more detailed 12-month review seeking feedback from your employees, managers, and senior leaders across the organisation.
  • Reflect on any changes to the industry and/or market landscape, and its impact on your internal mobility programme, then adjust accordingly.

Measure & Track ROI: Use the data to understand your employees’ journey and behaviour, track your internal mobility measures of success and be agile enough to adapt when needed.

  1. Understand what’s working well and what isn’t, then adapt accordingly

Analyse the data to understand the following:

  • How many employees have created employee profiles?
  • How many employees are visiting your landing pages on the internal mobility platform?
  • What content and landing pages are they interacting with?
  • How many employees are being deployed, redeployed, promoted and developed as a result of the internal mobility programme?
  • Is there an increase in employee engagement scores as a result?
  • Adapt the content and your approach based upon your results and feedback.
  1. Assess progress towards your measures of success

Track the measures of success and your benchmarks against your internal mobility data:

  • Organisational map of skills sets, transferable skills and skills gaps.
  • Increase in the number of employees creating employee profiles.
  • Engagement levels of employees and managers.
  • Number of internal hires made through transferable skills.
  • Number of employees deployed or redeployed through the internal mobility programme.
  • Number of internal talent pipelines built.
  • Increase in traffic to your landing pages by %, and number of drop-offs.

Don’t forget to share your wins across the organisation.

Final thoughts

Whatever the future may hold, people are still an organisation’s greatest asset. In these uncertain times, internal mobility is key to future-proofing your workforce. Companies that invest in fostering the connection between internal mobility, recruitment and retention will see higher levels of employee engagement and retention, and maximise their employees’ potential. 

Tapping into technology to support internal mobility not only delivers engaging employee experiences, it also helps HR teams keep their finger on the pulse, allowing them to pivot, deploy, and redeploy talent where they’re needed most. The organisations that can do this successfully will be well-placed to tackle whatever challenges come their way.

Learn more about how our powerful talent management technology can help you build a successful internal mobility programme today.

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