Grow raises money to end burnout by building Growth Cultures. Learn more in this note from our CEO.

There’s been a lot of talk, over the past two years, about how hard it is to find good people. The so-called “great resignation” has only added to the hiring troubles that companies face under ordinary circumstances, and there’s been a boom in hiring demand, without a corresponding boom in talent availability. In short, companies are struggling more than ever to fill vacant positions. Which is why so many are looking towards their existing workforce, and why you should make internal mobility a part of your staffing strategy.

What Is Internal Mobility?

In a staffing or hiring context, internal mobility simply means hiring for a vacant position from within your existing workforce. So, instead of looking for talent outside of your company (or maybe after you have tried and failed) you would take a closer look at the people you already have, who might have the skills and aptitude you need. Many companies have had long standing policies about promoting from within, but some are just beginning to see this as a viable option.

Why Is Internal Mobility a Good Idea?

When it comes to talent mobility solutions for companies that are struggling to fill key roles, there are several benefits to hiring from within, including:

Proven Culture Fit

When an employee has already been working for your company for several years, there is no question about whether they will fit into the company culture. Even if they have been working in a very different role and at a different seniority level, they’ve already proven that they can fit in with your team, have established relationships, and “know their way around.”

Established Systems Knowledge

Every company has systems, policies and procedures that govern the day to day running of the business and each department. Even if your internal mobility hire is moving to a new department, they will still have a good handle on the basics, so there will be less onboarding time required to get them settled in the role. It also means that if the outgoing person in that role is available for training, they won’t have to start with the very basics – which can speed up and improve knowledge transfer.

Improved Loyalty and Engagement

There’s nothing that motivates your employees to be more engaged and loyal than recognition for a job well done, and there’s nothing that is a better symbol of recognition than a promotion. When you choose to promote from within your company, you not only show one employee that you value their contribution, but you also show the rest of your workforce that hard work and commitment earns rewards. On the flip side of the coin, when existing employees are passed over and ignored as candidates for a sought after role in favour of an “outsider” it can have a negative impact on morale. So, this really is a win-win solution!

Baked In Insight

One of the best triggers for innovation and insight is company knowledge, but that’s not something that can be taught. It’s something that only comes after months or years observing how a company operates, so that your employees can identify problems, and develop solutions. When you choose to promote from within by opting for internal mobility of employees, you are injecting all of their experience with your company into their new role, and that is often when the magic happens.

Save Money

As available employees have dried up, and companies have tried harder than ever to hire from outside, many have found that their recruiting costs have increased exponentially. Whether it’s direct costs like advertising or the cost of hiring the wrong candidate – only to have to start all over again weeks or months later, it’s more expensive than ever to hunt for talent. A talent mobility program that focuses on people who already work for you eliminates many of those costs. Advertising is much easier, and because your supervisors and managers can be involved in identifying prominent candidates, you already have a good idea of who your best prospects are.

Lower Starting Salaries

Hiring someone with all the right qualifications and many years of experience will never be a cost effective exercise. Great candidates outside of your company won’t come cheap, and you will have to pay for every certificate, degree, and year of experience. But when you hire from inside your company, you will probably promote someone with the skills, but lacking in experience. Which will allow you to offer a lower salary while you train them and perfect their skills.

How to Build an Internal Mobility Program

Successfully tapping into your “internal talent marketplace” doesn’t happen by accident. You will need to put processes and systems into place to make this work effectively for your company. Start by addressing these key basics:

  • Involve managers and supervisors, by asking them to refer any outstanding employees on their team to your HR department. Even if there is no role immediately available, knowing who to watch when there is, is a great way to approach this proactively.

  • Encourage employee learning. By supporting employee training and study programs, you can identify people who are always looking to improve their skills, and who probably have the ambition to pursue internal mobility opportunities.

  • Develop an effective method of “advertising” available roles to your workforce. This could be as simple as a notice board in a lunchroom, or as high tech as a page on your intranet.

  • Put effective support processes in place, so employees who do choose to move up the ladder can be sure they will be given assistance in their new role. The worst thing you can do is put someone in a new role and then not give them the tools to succeed!

  • Foster a culture of building each other up. Managers and supervisors who hoard their best employees have no place in a company that fosters internal mobility. Ensure that they are committed to helping their best people climb the corporate ladder, rather than keeping them in positions where they might stagnate. A lack of challenges is a huge factor in poor employee retention!

The Keys to Internal Mobility Success

There’s no magic formula to ensure that your internal mobility framework will work instantly. In fact, it’s very likely that there will be at least a few teething problems. However, with the right kind of commitment, and buy-in from management and leaders within your organization, this can be one of the best hiring strategies out there. Employee retention is always a concern for any company, and when it’s combined with hiring shortages, it really is a perfect storm. By identifying and rewarding top performers with better, more challenging roles with room to grow, you can address both of those issues at the same time. It’s no coincidence that “room to grow” is a common phrase on most job ads. Knowing that there is somewhere to go from the role they were hired for is one of the biggest and most important motivators you can give to your people. So, if you haven’t already thought about finding the gems in your organization and giving them the polish they need to really shine, perhaps it’s time? You might be surprised to find out just how much raw talent is going underutilized, right under your nose.

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