Talent Mobility

Talent Mobility: The Key to Future HR Success

It is undeniable that today’s top talent are more likely to disengage or depart if they can’t see a career path within their organisations. In order to build a talent management strategy for improved employee retention and engagement, employers need an effective talent mobility programme that can help them to increase the value of human capital throughout the organisation.

‘Talent Mobility’ refers to the movement of em­­­ployees from one position to another within an organisation. In short, Talent Mobility is a component of a total talent management strategy that unifies talent acquisition, performance and compensation, succession planning, and employee development. It encompasses many initiatives, all of which, lead to the same business objective of allowing employees to flourish. Internal mobility includes promotions and demotions, lateral moves, transfers and relocations.

In addition to building extensive bench strength for the organisation, visibility into succession planning and promotion opportunities creates another impetus for talent to stay.

With a strong internal talent mobility programme, organisations can rely on their employees to help achieve corporate goals and shift resources to where they’re most suited. Best of all, they can do so with fewer costs and delays typically associated with a conventional external recruiting process.

The Five P’s of the Internal Talent Mobility Programme

Yet, internal talent redeployment requires access to talent intelligence about the skills and aspirations of employee candidates, matched with data on the skills and fit for open positions. To create an effective and efficient internal talent mobility programme, organisations should try to articulate their strategies around five key dimensions:

1. Purpose Clarity

Clearly articulate the goals of the overall structure, policy, and process of a talent management initiative and tie them directly to business targets and financial impacts. To improve employee engagement, provide growth opportunities for employees (to help increase their satisfaction and engagement), lower costs with faster fills, improve the retention rates of top performers, and build organisational readiness with leadership capability to fill positions internally.

2. Policy Guidelines

Organisations need to translate the business purpose of talent management initiatives (such as talent mobility) into business policies to establish consistent and simple guidelines for hiring managers and employees. These policies can then determine how departments are organised to deliver the services, how and when the initiatives can apply, and any connection between internal mobility and other HR initiatives. Having such a policy in place can go far toward alleviating the concerns of the greatest source of resistance to internal talent mobility programmes, such as alleviating hiring managers’ worries about losing top people.

3. Process Design

Business policies concerning internal mobility are put into practice through processes that inform employees of internal opportunities, provide managers with visibility into the talent profiles of suitable candidates, and manage the internal talent acquisition processes.

Many organisations use intranet sites to post opportunities and receive applications from employees. With intranet sites, a communications plan should promote the self-service process of accessing opportunities for employees. Hiring managers and recruiters should also have the self-service capability to proactively search for candidates internally, tapping the internal talent community to source high-quality candidates.

4. Platform Capability

In addition to building extensive bench strength for the organisation, visibility into succession planning and promotion opportunities creates another impetus for talent to stay. As a strategic component of talent strategy, talent management technology can provide a platform for linking internal mobility with both performance management and succession planning. The platform also consists of a database of employee talent profiles, and includes job posting functions, a skills library and workforce planning modules.

5. Performance Measures

The policies and procedures that an organisation employs to fulfil its talent mobility goals produce data that can be captured to track performance and reveal how well internal mobility initiatives are actually performing. Tracking the percentage of internally filled positions is typical. Data on total turnover and turnover costs also serve as important indicators of a talent mobility programme’s performance for continuous improvement.

Results from Talent Mobility

Based on well-optimised technology and processes, a clearly communicated talent mobility initiative should receive strong enterprise-wide support that bestows a number of distinct advantages for an organisation.

  • Cost avoidance

Internal mobility initiatives help corporations avoid costs by increasing retention. Offering employees the opportunity for growth within the company can cut down on one of the leading causes of turnover.

  • Accelerated time to contribution

Time to contribution is also faster for existing employees taking different positions since they are familiar with the corporate policies, benefits and culture. These enable them to become productive more quickly. Training costs may be lower as well because the organisation can benefit from earlier training and employee development—perhaps avoiding basic or repetitive instruction.

  • Recruiting cost savings

Internal talent mobility initiatives can help save organisations money through lower sourcing costs (no third-party agency fees) and reducing HR department labour (or redeploying HR practitioners to more strategic responsibilities). Organisations that post openings internally for a set period of time before turning to the media and job boards for external sourcing may avoid sourcing costs altogether.

  • Labour cost savings

Internal mobility programmes can help save labour costs in the HR department because it’s less time-consuming to screen internal candidates than it is to screen external applicants. Internal mobility initiatives also can help reduce peripheral talent acquisition costs such as signing bonuses, relocation expenses, and on-boarding costs.

  • Intellectual property protection

Related advantages of internal mobility include the protection of corporate intellectual property and improved employee engagement. Organisations that support successful internal mobility programmes demonstrate a commitment to their employees—showing workers that they’re viewed as a valuable talent worth cultivating over the long-term. This not only boosts employee morale, it can also generate a real increase in employee productivity.

  • Skill retention

The set of skills that an employee acquires on the job through training and experience increases that employee’s value for the corporation as well as in the marketplace. It is, of course, critical to retain only high-performing employees.

Internal mobility programmes can help save labour costs in the HR department because it’s less time-consuming to screen internal candidates than it is to screen external applicants.

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In a nutshell, talent mobility programmes can be inextricably tied to the clear objective of staffing business units with the best employees when needed. For a talent mobility programme to succeed, organisations need to understand the programme’s financial impact, clearly articulate and communicate an internal mobility policy, motivate through a receptive corporate culture and strong buy-in from executive management, and execute on a solid foundation of well-optimised technology and processes. By employing quality talent, organisations can create environments that encourage creativity, increase productivity, and lead to increases in shareholders’ values.

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