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(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at SilkRoad Technology, a provider of strategic onboarding solutions to drive workforce readiness and organizational transformation. They were recently recognized as one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work. Many congrats to them. Enjoy the article!)
Regardless of what is happening with today’s recruiting market, making sure that current employees have career opportunities is an important part of the employee experience. In a survey conducted by Pew Research, 63% of employees said they quit a job during 2021 because of lack of advancement opportunities.
Offering career opportunities benefits both employees and employers. Employees want to know that they have a path to achieve their career goals. They want to know that the organization is going to invest in their future. Organizations benefit because they have employees who are available for openings when they occur. These employees already know the company and many of the company’s systems. For example, things related to products and services, customers, and daily operating procedures are activities most of us learn over time. Current employees already know them.
The 4 Different Types of Internal Mobility
The movement of employees within the organization is called internal mobility. The typical types of activities that we think of when it comes to internal mobility are promotions, laterals, demotions, and transfers.
- Promotions are when an employee accepts a new role with greater responsibilities. It usually includes additional salary, benefits, and perks.
- Laterals happen when an employee moves to a new role with relatively similar responsibilities. Pay and benefits remain roughly the same.
- Demotions aren’t just for poor performing employees. An employee could willingly accept a new role that’s on paper appears to be a demotion, but it will provide work experience that the employee couldn’t get otherwise. Demotions can also help with an employee’s personal needs such as parenting, caregiving, or going to school.
- Transfers could include a promotion, lateral, or demotion. It’s when an employee moves to a new department or location within the same company.
Each of these internal mobility activities accomplishes a goal – for the employee and for the company. That’s why it’s important to keep internal mobility as part of the company’s talent strategy. But cultivating a culture of internal mobility takes time and trust.
TIME: Internal Mobility Involves Creating Effective Processes
The good news is that internal mobility processes already exist. They include job posting, job bidding, replacement planning, succession planning, and talent pools.
- Job posting is a process where the organization posts an open job and allows employees to express interest.
- Job bidding can happen either formally or informally. It’s when an employee can express interest in a future opportunity. I’ve seen this a lot in sales departments. A sales representative asks to be considered for a future sales manager opening.
- Replacement planning is the process of identifying individuals who would fill roles if a position needed to be filled immediately. For example, if the vice president of human resources left tomorrow, who will assume that role? The individual should be able to take on the task right away with minimal training and guidance.
- Succession planning is the process of identifying individuals for future roles AND then developing them to be ready for that role when it’s available. Unlike replacement planning, there’s an element of time to develop an employee.
- Talent pools are groups of high performing and high potential employees who are being developed for future roles, but the roles might not be specifically defined. For example, a group of employees at a call center organization might be attending a management development program but they don’t know which call center they might be assigned in the future.
Like I mentioned earlier, it takes time to develop these programs and make them effective within the organization. Granted some of them, like job bidding, could be fairly quick to implement. But other processes like succession planning can be quite intense.
TRUST: Employees Must Trust Internal Mobility Processes
I believe that more important than the time it takes to create, implement, and administer these internal mobility activities is the component of trust. Employees need to feel that they can trust these processes, or they simply won’t use them.
- Transparency. Employees will want to know how the process works before they express interest in an opportunity. For example, How do I apply? Do I need to talk with my manager first? Where can I go to ask questions?
- Fairness. Employees who want to be considered for an opportunity will want to know that the process is fair, and they will be considered in a fair manner. Also, employees want to know if they are offered the new job that their new pay and benefits will be equitable.
- Support. While an employee’s request might not come at the best time for the operation, employees want to feel that the organization won’t hold that against them – both during the process or after.
- Honesty. If, for whatever reason, an employee isn’t qualified or selected, it’s the responsibility of HR and the employee’s manager to have an open discussion about it. The organization needs to make the commitment to help the employee succeed. These are development opportunities.
All these components relate to trust. Employees who feel that the company’s internal processes are stacked against them will move up by leaving the organization. This doesn’t benefit the company.
Time + Trust = A Successful Internal Mobility Strategy
I’d like to think that a lot of organizations are looking at their recruiting processes right now. They’re making sure they are as effective and efficient as they can be. In doing so, don’t forget about the role internal mobility can play in the company’s talent strategy. It can help the organization identify future candidates. It can help with employee engagement and retention. Oh, and it can help the organization recruit. Because candidates want to know that the company places a priority on internal mobility.
P.S. One of the things that we didn’t have time to cover in today’s article is the role of the manager in internal mobility – both in terms of them managing their career as well as helping their employees be successful at the same time. Join me and the SilkRoad team on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, at 11a Central / 12n Eastern for a webinar on “Internal Mobility Strategies for Managers: How to Follow Your Own Career Goals While Helping Employees Pursue Theirs”. If you’re already booked for that day, please sign up to get the recording. We hope to see you there!26