Employees are switching between companies and jobs every 3–4 years. ‘Staying in one place might feel like a barrier to their professional development—which could lead to them being underpaid for their skills or not reaching peak performance levels. Often this occurs when there is not enough opportunity for growth in their current organization. As a result, 44% of workers are actively seeking new jobs. This phenomenon is known as The Great Resignation. So how can organizations retain talent? In a webinar for the Harvard business review, Kevin Oakes, CEO and founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) spoke about how building a culture of career mobility can help you retain talent. I have been inspired to share my thoughts on this topic from a skills management perspective. Let’s explore the concept of talent mobility and the benefits it can bring to your organization.
What is talent mobility?
Talent mobility is the process of transferring talent within an organization. This includes internal transfers and promotions. It is a key strategy for organizations looking to retain their best talent and create a culture of career agility. Talent mobility ensures that you can always fill your vacancies with in-house talent, saving money on external hiring and training costs. This can take many forms, from job rotations and secondments to arrangements like job shadowing or mentorships. When done well, it can be a win-win for both employees and their employers. It enables employees to take on challenges and development opportunities; in return, it provides employers with a pool of internally developed talent. There are three types of talent mobility:
- Vertical talent mobility is when an employee moves from one role to another higher-level position, such as manager or executive.
- Horizontal talent mobility occurs when you expand the responsibilities in a specific role and control area.
- Cross-functional talent mobility happens when someone leaves their departmental boundaries or moves on to a different job role.
What are the benefits of talent mobility?
There are many benefits. By creating a culture of career agility, organizations can:
- Increase flexibility and adaptability. Talent mobility allows organizations to be more flexible and adaptable to changes. By enabling employees to transfer within the company, organizations can quickly respond to changes in the market or business landscape.
- Improve retention. Talent mobility can help improve retention rates by allowing employees to move to new roles that better fit their skills and interests.
- Increase engagement. Talent Mobility leads to increased employee engagement. When employees feel like they have the opportunity to grow and develop within the company, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.
- Encourage innovation and creativity. Talent mobility increases innovation and creativity as employees feel empowered to experiment and take risks.
- Improve attraction and recruitment. It can also help improve an organization’s ability to attract and recruit top talent. When potential candidates see that the company is willing to invest in their employee’s development, they are more likely to want to join the organization.
Talent mobility can help organizations boost productivity and innovation, improve succession planning, and build a more agile workforce that is better able to respond to change.
How to create a culture of career agility in your organization
The first step is to identify the goals of the talent mobility program. What are you looking to achieve? For example, are you looking to develop specific skills or knowledge in your employees? Are you looking to increase innovation or boost productivity? Once you have a clear sense of your goals, you can begin to develop a talent mobility program that will help you achieve them.
Some things to consider when developing your talent mobility strategy:
- Do an audit of your team’s existing skill sets.
- Create a job description of the positions available for employees to move into.
- Map out skills and competencies you are looking for in employees.
- Streamline training and development opportunities you will offer employees.
- Refine the process for matching employees to job positions.
Once you have developed your talent mobility program, the next step is to promote it within your organization. Talent programs are more successful if employees are aware of them and see the value in participating.
There are many ways to promote your talent mobility program, but some of the most effective include:
- Hosting information sessions for employees.
- Creating marketing materials (e.g., posters, videos, website content).
- Encouraging word-of-mouth promotion by participants.
Finally, it’s essential to measure the success of your program. This will help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your program achieves its goals. Some things to measure:
- The number of employees participating in the program.
- The skills and experience gained by participants.
- The impact on innovation and productivity.
Here are some tips to help create a culture of career agility in your organization:
- Encourage employees to explore different career paths. Provide opportunities for employees to try out different roles within the organization. This could be done through job shadowing, rotational programs, or secondments.
- Help employees develop their skills for future roles. Invest in employee development and provide training and mentorship opportunities.
- Make it easy for employees to move around the organization. Remove barriers to talent mobility such as inflexible job descriptions or structures that limit career growth.
- Communicate the benefits of talent mobility. Ensure employees are aware of the benefits of talent mobility and how it can help them further their careers.
By creating a career agility culture, you can allow your employees to develop their skills and knowledge while increasing innovation and productivity within your organization. Talent mobility is key to achieving this goal, so promote it within your organization and measure its success.