Why Talent Mobility Matters

Among today’s young professionals, it seems that job-hopping has become the norm. Used as a means of securing upwards mobility, it’s understandable on the part of rising stars, who don’t want to find themselves at a career impasse as they wait around for a promotion to be offered or a better-earning position to become available.

This can, however, be bad news for businesses, who often find themselves losing the very people who might represent a bigger and brighter future for their organisation, but many experts suggest there’s a simple solution: talent mobility.

According to the statistics (taken from a report by Deloitte) around three-quarters of C-suites cite internal talent mobility as ‘important’, while a further 20 per cent believe it’s among the top three most urgent issues for organisations to tackle.

Interestingly, many suggest that it’s not only about giving rising stars the ability to move upward but also about recognising potential and identifying when individuals might suit a different but sideways advancing role.

The key to getting it right is this: whatever direction your employees are progressing in, you should be using your people and the potential they have to make yourself stronger and more suited to moving forward into an increasingly successful future.

Is your organisation successfully enabling talent mobility?

Given the importance of talent mobility in the eyes of the experts, it’s surprising how many businesses and business leaders fall short in this area. According to the Deloitte study we cited earlier, more than half of respondents claimed it was easier for employees to secure a role outside of their organisation rather than within it. In addition, only four in 10 felt their organisations were ‘excellent’ in this area, with a shocking 16 per cent claiming their efforts were ‘inadequate’.

When asked what factors were preventing better talent mobility, common responses included the following:

• A lack of processes in place to identify and move employees
• Too few internal employees to fill roles
• Manager resistance to internal moves
• A lack of employee awareness with regards to available roles

The study further suggested that prevailing hierarchical structures often proved problematic, explaining: “While organisations have spent decades building career and promotions models to help people move up the pyramid, that’s not the same thing as having a vibrant, easy-to-navigate internal mobility market and culture across the entire organisation.”

How talent mobility can contribute to a successful business

While it’s widely recognised that talent mobility can contribute to a stronger business, it’s important to understand the reasons why in order to appreciate the impact it can have on your organisation.

The reality is that talent mobility can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Enabling the former to feel challenged, stimulated, and engaged, it allows them to acquire new and useful skills and make progress toward the attainment of their long-term career goals. For the latter, too, it should be encouraged, as it’s a wonderful tool for filling organisational skill gaps and shaping future leaders while also cutting down on staff turnover and recruitment costs.

The statistics certainly support this claim that talent mobility can be of benefit, with the fastest-growing organisations (those growing 10 per cent or more per annum) being twice as likely to have high-quality talent mobility programmes than those that there are not growing, and three times more likely than businesses whose profits are falling.

This means that while talent mobility undoubtedly improves the employee experience, nurturing it within your business should not be seen as a purely altruistic exercise.

How you can create a successful talent management strategy

While many organisations have development programmes in place, the reality is that these are often subpar and focus on paving the way to an upward promotion at some distant point in the far-off future.

What’s needed instead is a strategy where employees are viewed as individuals, and where a concerted effort is made to recognise their strengths and cater to these, while also ensuring that they’re continually stimulated and challenged within their role.

HR personnel can have an important part to play in this, with the experts suggesting that many businesses need to evolve the way they interact with their team members, with a focus on building a strong rapport with staff that fosters an environment in which they can share their aspirations and be supported in these.

As HR professional Lara Hernandez explains: “Career conversations and feedback loops are so important – and that’s at every level of the organisation… You have to be open to receiving and giving feedback.”

As well as talent mobility, global mobility has a part to play in the bigger picture, with another key driver of job-hopping being an appetite for pastures new. This is something employees should feel able to discuss freely with their employer, feeding into the idea of opening up a forum for more open and less hierarchical discussions between businesses and their staff.

Isn’t it time you looked at ways to improve talent mobility within your organisation?