Don’t put internal mobility on the backburner

I recently asked a colleague, how is your internal mobility initiative going? Her response-“We had to put all that on pause due to COVID-19 and all the staff who are tasked with D&I as a result of the protest.” I was struck at how optional such a key talent initiative becomes during times of disruption (real or perceived). After all, Internal Mobility is about having the right talent on hand to meet organizational goals and being prepared to respond to the unexpected as it happens.

The very definition of internal mobility is that it enables organizations to rapidly adapt to changing environments, with the ability to deploy and move key skills across projects, across the business and across borders when needed. What better time than now to have an agile employee pool to support your organizations’ needs?

Having a defined internal mobility initiative shouldn’t tax your organizations resources or compete with other organizational objectives. It should bolster better outcomes through more streamlined processes and increased productivity. Without a doubt your current employee population is infused with high-quality candidates that are consistently overlooked by your TA team. Creating an internal pool of qualified, upwardly mobile employees both enables you to fill vacant positions faster at a fraction of the cost of recruiting or sourcing externally and helps create a solid employer brand through resulting employee engagement.

Jump start your internal mobility initiatives

If the current state of affairs has you redefining the footprint of your workspace or spotlighting your diversity and inclusion commitments, consider jump starting your Internal Mobility initiatives by simply incorporating the following five techniques to engage and build your internal candidate pipeline:

Make it an organization objective to combine the TA function with HR.

In order to understand and identify opportunities for internal mobility, TA has to be a part of the discussion around employer branding, staff engagement, succession planning, and career pathing – not just recruiting. Effective career pathing is one of the most underutilized opportunities to tap into the full potential of your existing workforce while also helping to increase engagement and retention. Encourage recruiters to take part in career development discussions and to foster strong relationships with your business leaders to develop a thorough understanding of their talent needs both current and future state and to leverage TA or other technologies to facilitate greater information sharing across HR functions (e.g., talent, performance, learning, and career).

Create and nurture an environment of internal mobility.

Promoting internal mobility should be a part of a larger more systemic approach to talent sourcing. It begins with developing effective ways to promoting professional growth and embedding it into organizational culture. Organizations should include the TA function in critical conversations about current employees and their career experience. Taking these steps can allow an organization to invest confidently in its own people. High-performing talent acquisition teams recognize the value of internal mobility. The most effective internal talent pools support transparent talent mobility – a dynamic process for moving talent from role to role – at the leadership, professional, and operational levels.

[Read: The Importance of Internal Mobility]

Identify an executive sponsor to champion your internal mobility efforts.

Provide clarity around the value of mobility and promote it with the goal of supporting employee growth and creating engaging worker experiences. If you don’t already have one, create a more formalized process for employees to discuss their career goals with their peers and leaders and make sure they are engaged in frequent and transparent conversations about the preferred skills and experiences necessary for success while identifying a pathway to those necessary tools and trainings.

Cultivate an internal talent pool.

Internal talent pools are a critical component of an organization’s talent pipeline. High-performing organizations proactively nurture relationships with internal talent to understand their long-term career objectives. Business leaders and recruiters leverage these insights and collaborate to cultivate talent from within and further reinforce that the culture supports and encourages internal mobility.

Join forces with your business leaders.

See to it that your TA team and business leaders are effectively working together regarding the people, positions, and profiles of success on their respective teams. Encourage recruiters to routinely engage with internal applicants as a part of their standard work. This creates an opportunity for TA teams to better understand the goals and motivations of the internal applicant.

Internal Mobility provides avenues for all staff to progress and evolve within an organization, not just those identified as “high potential.” A solid program can ultimately support an organization in developing and aligning its workforce to strategic business needs. I would argue it is a critical component of success in hard times and should always be a key focus of talent teams.


Picture of William Wiggins

William Wiggins

William has held consulting and strategic HR roles at Mercer Human Resources Consulting, Kaiser Permanente, and Williams-Sonoma. He is an industry leader when it comes to building strong collaborative HR partnerships and leadership teams that focus on staff engagement, retention, career development, and staff recognition programs. William’s training curriculum includes Crucial Conversations, Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, and EEOC 101.

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