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Career Mobility: What It Is and How It Can Improve Retention

Internal mobility—the vertical or lateral movement of employees in various roles within a company—begins with a clear understanding of the employee lifecycle, specifically factors that impact it. So what is career mobility? It is the process of engaging employees and setting them up for career advancement and professional development.

Internal career mobility offers many valuable benefits, such as:

  • Creating effective sourcing, which takes four applications via internal mobility to result in one successful hire compared to 36 applications via job boards to result in one hire.
  • Improving employee retention—employees stay twice as long as those at companies with low internal mobility.
  • Fostering a resilient workforce through filling skills gaps, upskilling, and reskilling.
  • Decreasing cost per hire through avoidance of significant recruiting expenses.

Career mobility examples include transitioning a burnt out employee to a new department in a new role that interests them, upskilling a long-term employee into a management position, and reskilling an employee who feels trapped in their current position and moving them laterally to a new position in a new department at an equivalent level as their previous role.

How to Create a Career Mobility Program

1. Establish a Basis for Internal Mobility

If you’re looking to implement a new internal career mobility program, you’ll likely need data to support you. The best approach is to connect your program to talent acquisition and management metrics, specifically recruitment and employee turnover costs.

The main selling point for career mobility is the strengthening of employee loyalty. By investing in an employees’ professional development and growth, you’re demonstrating how valuable they are to your organization. Through higher employee retention rates, your brand is stronger and encourages prospective talent to apply.

Additionally, since HR industry studies show that the most turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment, improving new hire onboarding with a career map can help affirm your commitment to your employees’ careers.

2. Consider the Purpose, Strategy, and Objectives

As with any new initiative, it is important to consider the purpose of your program. If your goal is to improve retention, then you need to align your strategy and goals with relevant metrics. Once you have established a vision for your program, map out a strategy—professional development and skill-building, career advancement and career transition, mentoring—that aligns with your vision, and determine how you will measure your results.

3. Determine and Invest in Technological Support

Investing in the proper technology can help support and simplify your tracking and analysis. For example, a talent management software allows you to align and track goals, offers 360 feedback and performance management, and provides a deep dive into other talent management analysis.

Talent management technology can also provide a means for you to measure results against the objectives you established before launching the program, such as the number of roles filled, number of internal hires by team or department, diversity and inclusion metrics, and retention rates.

A talent management system could also offer invaluable benefits like customizable employee profiles that allow you to engage current talent, automate processes, distribute relevant content, and personalized reports to provide pertinent insights (i.e. map out career paths, bridge skills gaps).

4. Launch Your Program and Engage Employees

Once your strategy is completed, launch your program. Make sure you have a centralized place for employees to register for the mobility program, including methods of communication regarding career mapping, learning pathways, and opportunities for upskilling and reskilling. From here, you can use employee profiles to strategize particular talent groups and work with managers to set performance indicators. 

5. Review Strategy, Analyze Results, Adapt Based on Feedback

Review the program frequently with your designated team and stakeholders to analyze the results. It’s also important to create an opportunity for participating employees, including managers, to provide feedback on the learning and development resources, internal processes, and air out any questions or concerns they may have to ensure the program is meeting its intended criteria.

Career mobility is just one facet of the talent journey. If you’re looking for support, check out Namely’s talent solutions.

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