What Is Talent Mobility and How HR Can Develop a Winning Strategy
Talent mobility is an increasingly important strategy for any organization looking to stay competitive in the modern talent market.
As HR professionals, you know that it’s essential for employers to be flexible and agile when attracting and retaining top talent. A successful talent mobility strategy can help companies ensure they have access to the right people with the right skills who are able to move between roles as needed.
By understanding how a comprehensive program works – and being ready to invest in creating one of your own – you can prepare your organization for success today and in the future.
What is talent mobility?
The benefits of talent mobility
The risks that talent mobility brings
Types of talent mobility
How to develop and implement talent mobility
What is talent mobility?
Talent mobility can boost your retention and employee satisfaction rates, making it vital to success. The movement of employees within an organization, either within the same department or across different departments and locations, provides opportunities for employees to advance their careers and develop their skills through job rotations, promotions, transfers, and international assignments.
It facilitates continuous learning and development for employees, which in turn can lead to improved job satisfaction and productivity. By providing opportunities for employees to broaden their skills and experience in different parts of the business, HR can help companies nurture a more flexible workforce that is better equipped to adapt to changing business needs.
Additionally, talent mobility can help to retain top performers, as employees are more likely to stay with an organization that invests in their career development.
What is internal talent mobility?
Internal mobility is the movement of employees to new roles or opportunities within the same business. By identifying and developing employees’ skills and abilities through training and mentoring programs you can create opportunities for them to move across different departments and roles.
New research reveals that 73% of workers today want to know about career opportunities within their organization because opportunities to move and grow within the business make people feel wanted and supported in their own growth aspirations.
Providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement helps to retain employees while also promoting a culture of learning and development. It also helps to optimize your workforce by leveraging existing talent and skills rather than having to hire externally.
Talent mobility is the vehicle that makes internal mobility possible by giving your company the ability to understand your employees’ skills, experiences, and career interests. The overarching goal of this is to move employees into new roles internally, where existing skills can be honed and new skills can be developed.
The benefits of talent mobility
Aside from increasing employee retention and encouraging learning and development within the organization, there is a range of other advantages that talent mobility offers:
- Access to a wider talent pool: Talent mobility optimizes the benefits employees can bring to their company. It allows HR to tap into a larger pool of potential employees, including those from different geographies, cultures, and backgrounds. This helps businesses to find the best-fit individuals for their roles and offers opportunities to access unique skill sets that may not be available within the local market.
- Increased diversity: Talent mobility encourages a diverse workforce, which is essential in the global economy. A diverse team brings different ideas, perspectives, and experiences, potentially improving creativity, innovation, and productivity.
- Professional development opportunities: Employees feel more fulfilled by their job if they have the opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Over half of employees say that the opportunity to explore other career opportunities internally would make them more likely to stay in the job, and 47% would be more satisfied with their work. Talent mobility offers them the chance to gain diverse work experiences, develop new skills, and explore career paths.
- Knowledge sharing: Talent mobility involves the exchange of knowledge and ideas between employees working in different locations, teams, and departments. This exchange of knowledge and expertise can help develop better products, services, and processes that can lead to better engagement with customers and stakeholders.
- A more agile and adaptable workforce: In today’s ever-changing market, agility is essential for businesses to survive and thrive. A talent mobility program promotes this by providing employees with new experiences, perspectives, and skills that can better equip them for their roles and ultimately helps businesses stay ahead of the competition.
The risks that talent mobility brings
It’s essential to provide talent mobility opportunities for employees, but HR professionals must be mindful of the risks and challenges.
Here are some of the more common risks:
1. Loss of key talent: When an organization encourages talent mobility, it is always possible to lose some of its best and most valuable employees to other internal positions, resulting in a skills gap and costly recruitment expenses when filling the previous position.
2. Employee burnout: Frequent relocation and increased workloads associated with talent mobility can lead to employee burnout. This can affect employee morale, productivity, and job satisfaction, leading to higher turnover rates.
3. Cultural misalignment: Cultural differences can create communication barriers, leading to misunderstandings that can negatively impact productivity and team morale. Also, relocating employees to different geographical locations may require a significant adjustment period, which could take a prolonged time to adapt.
4. Compliance risks: Organizations need to ensure they comply with employment laws and regulations in both host and home countries. For example, when moving employees to another country, HR professionals must verify the eligibility of those employees to work in that country, as well as comply with tax and immigration regulations. The laws and regulations related to immigration, taxation, and employment are complex, vary from country to country, and can be challenging to navigate.
5. Increased administrative burden: Compliance with laws and regulations related to talent mobility requires significant administrative efforts to ensure proper documentation, reporting, and record-keeping. This may lead to increased costs and time spent on paperwork and compliance.
6. Talent management risks: Talent mobility programs may create disparities in pay, which can cause issues with established compensation frameworks, leaving some employees feeling underappreciated and undervalued.
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7. High costs: Relocating talent can be a costly venture, and the overall expense may outweigh the benefits of talent mobility programs. Consider expenses such as visa applications, immigration fees, transportation, and settling-in allowances.
By taking a strategic approach, implementing an efficient communication system, investing in the right technology, and providing clear guidelines, you can make sure your talent mobility program aligns with your organization’s goals and work toward achieving positive outcomes.
Types of talent mobility
There are several types of talent mobility that you can incorporate into your talent management strategy for existing and new employees.
- Internal talent mobility: Moving employees from one role or department to another helps to enhance employee skills and growth opportunities and is a cost-effective way for companies to fill vacant positions with current employees.
- Cross-functional mobility: Moving employees across different functions or business units helps to build a more versatile and adaptable workforce and develops leadership skills.
- Horizontal mobility: The movement of an employee within the same hierarchy level or function. This could include lateral moves to different departments, roles, or teams.
- Vertical mobility: The movement of an employee within different hierarchy levels in the business. This could include promotions or changes in job titles.
- Global talent mobility: This involves relocating employees to different locations across the globe to work on projects, expand business operations or to gain cultural experiences. It promotes knowledge sharing and helps to build a more diverse and multicultural workforce.
- Virtual talent mobility: This refers to allowing employees to work remotely or virtually from different locations. It enables companies to access a larger pool of talent and promote work-life balance for employees.
- Developmental talent mobility: This involves assigning employees to short-term projects, assignments, or training programs to develop new skills or gain experience in new areas. It helps to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.
How to develop and implement talent mobility
Action 1: Developing a talent mobility strategy
There are five important steps to developing a talent mobility strategy:
1. Get executive buy-in
This is critical because it ensures that the strategy is aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the company. When the executives are on board, they can provide the necessary resources, budget, and support to make the talent mobility strategy a success and help to overcome any resistance or challenges that may arise during the implementation process.
Executive buy-in can also help to create a culture of talent mobility throughout the organization. When leaders are promoting and supporting internal career development, employees are more likely to see the value in staying with the business and investing in their own growth and development.
2. Create a talent mobility task force
This should include HR leaders and other key stakeholders. A dedicated team with the time, energy, and resources to devote to a talent mobility strategy can help the business access and utilize the skills and talents you need to foster a more dynamic and adaptable workforce. that is better equipped to meet the changing needs of today’s economy.
3. Assess your current talent pool
Analyze your existing human resource capacity to identify the potential of the workforce.
The following are steps to assess a current talent pool.
- Identify essential positions: Evaluate the importance of each role to the success of the organization. Key positions are the ones that drive the company’s strategic objectives.
- Determine skill gaps: Identify skills that are currently lacking in the workforce that are necessary for business objectives. This will help to identify the skill sets that need to be enhanced through training or by hiring new talent.
- Evaluate employee performance: This will help you to identify high-performing employees who contribute positively to business goals. This can be measured through performance reviews, goal setting, and feedback from supervisors.
- Use data analytics: By using data analytics tools to analyze employee performance, you can identify who can potentially fill key positions within the organization. You can also identify skills gaps within the workforce and develop training or hiring programs to fill these gaps. By leveraging data analysis, you can create a talent mobility framework that encourages internal filling of key positions without having to externalize.
4. Define talent mobility goals
The true value of talent mobility is the opportunity to develop career paths for all employees, drive engagement and build future workforce capability.
Short-term talent mobility goals: These focus on immediate needs, such as filling a temporary staffing gap, completing a specific project or task, or providing an employee development opportunity. These goals are typically tactical and achieved within a few weeks or months, and the focus is on completing the specific task at hand.
Long-term talent mobility goals: Here, the focus is on the broader strategic needs of a business, such as creating a diverse and global workforce, building leadership pipelines, and strengthening the overall talent development strategy. These goals typically take several years to achieve, and the focus is on creating a sustainable talent strategy that will help the business succeed over the long term.
By using the SMART framework, HR can define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound talent mobility goals that help drive employee development and optimize talent utilization.
Action 2: Implementing a talent mobility program
There are seven steps required to develop a talent mobility program
- Develop policies and procedures. Business policies must reflect the organizational goals of talent mobility. These guidelines will specify how departments are structured to provide the services, and when and how the initiative will apply.
- Define the goals and objectives of the talent mobility strategy. This could include increasing employee retention, diversifying skill sets, improving leadership development, and/or reducing training costs.
- Establish criteria for identifying employees who are ready for talent mobility opportunities. This may involve creating a skills matrix, conducting skills assessments, or reviewing performance reviews.
- Outline the steps employees need to take in order to move up or laterally in the business. Include training, mentorship, coaching or other initiatives that will help employees develop the skills they need for advancement. Offer training and development opportunities to interested employees so they can grow and develop their skills while exploring different roles within the company.
- Build a talent mobility network that connects employees with opportunities for movement and advancement. This may include a job board or internal communication platform where employees can browse positions and apply for new opportunities.
- Communicate the program. Organize sessions to educate employees about the program’s policies, benefits, and opportunities so that they understand how it works and how it can benefit them. Create regular newsletters or emails to communicate updates about the program, new opportunities, and relevant information. Use the company’s intranet or employee portal to share program updates, FAQs, and other resources.
- Implement a tracking system that enables HR departments to assess the effectiveness of the talent mobility program. This can help to identify areas for improvement and track the progress of employees as they move through the program.
- Monitor and measure the program regularly to ensure that it’s meeting the needs of your organization and its employees. Look at the percentage of internally filled positions as this will determine the overall effectiveness of your mobility programs. Pay attention to diversity and inclusion and make changes to the program when necessary to identify talent or expand the opportunities available to employees.
- Talent mobility is key to success: Facilitating continuous learning and development for employees leads to improved job satisfaction and productivity.
- Agility is future-proof: By providing opportunities for employees to broaden their skills and experience in different parts of the organization, companies develop a flexible workforce that is better equipped to adapt to changing business needs.
- Retaining top performers: The most talented employees are more likely to stay with an organization that is investing in their career development.
- Increasing diversity: Talent mobility encourages a diverse workforce, which is essential in the global economy. A diverse team brings different ideas, perspectives, and experiences, improving creativity, innovation, and productivity.
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