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Why organisations should embrace internal mobility

15th Mar 2022
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It’s been a tumultuous two years, and organisations are finding that the much-talked about Great Resignation is a very real phenomenon. As people continue to re-evaluate their professional and personal lives, and explore new opportunities, companies are facing the daunting challenge of recruiting and retaining top talent in this shifting landscape.

Workhuman’s Two Years into COVID: The State of Human Connection at Work report reveals that more than one-third of workers (36%) said they plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months. This is down two percentage points from our June 2021 survey, but still higher than a December 2019 survey when only 21% were job seekers.

What’s more, Workhuman’s Two Years into COVID report found that 50% of workers hired during the pandemic say they plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months.

Amidst this ‘Great Reshuffle’, what can companies do to turn the tide?

  1. Focus on employee retention

People are in search of new challenges and possibilities, and they’re quitting their jobs in unprecedented numbers. Whether those new opportunities mean doing the same job in a different company or making a complete change in career, to keep the talent you have, you need to show your people that their own organisation can offer them a path to realise their goals. This should begin with offering them the opportunity to up-skill and change roles.

For many companies, there’s a lack of transparency when it comes to internal job openings. Make sure all vacancies are broadcast internally, clearly communicating the skills needed and the opportunities for growth within the company.

  1. Filling skills gaps from within

Digital skills are undeniably important, with the UK Government’s National Data Strategy policy paper emphasising that the data revolution doesn’t just impact those specialising in technology, it also affects the entire UK workforce. As technology changes, jobs change and employees must be equipped with the skills to evolve with them. The World Economic Forum has forecast that 40% of current workers’ core skills are expected to change in the next five years, and 50% of employees will need re-skilling by 2025.

Given the ongoing need for workforces to learn and develop new skills, it doesn’t make sense to rely on hiring new talent in a competitive and challenging recruitment market to acquire those new skills – especially when great talent is readily available from within.

Prioritising internal mobility enables you to retain your people and at the same time, develop the skills and capabilities necessary to meet critical business needs in the coming years.

  1. Using talent intelligence data

In the old days, internal vacancies were often filled by word of mouth. But this meant that upward mobility was heavily dependent on company politics and connections. Today, HR tech systems, like social recognition platforms, create and store data in real time, providing access to existing employees’ performance, skills, capabilities, and learning data. Decision makers are now equipped with rich intelligence, and spotting talent potential is far easier.

Using AI, true talent intelligence empowers workers to move effectively within the business, drawing attention to areas where their skills and capabilities shine, and highlighting where they are motivated to learn more.

  1. Supporting a culture of recognition

Whether your workforce is fully remote, hybrid or 100% on-site, human connection matters. A culture of connection is vital to a company’s ability to recruit and retain top talent because a strong connection to company culture and colleagues helps drive a sense of purpose and collaboration across an organisation – all of which reduces employee turnover intention.

One key to creating connection and engagement is having a culture of appreciation and recognition. Social psychologists have found that witnessing gratitude has many positive ripple effects, with people feeling more appreciated for the work they do, connected to their colleagues and company, and psychologically safe to share ideas and opinions.

Recognising the contributions of your people also means investing in them and offering opportunities to take on new challenges. External hiring can often signal to employees that their valuable contributions and potential are being ignored, and they may take it as an indication that their abilities aren’t being recognised and their chances for future progression are limited.

Conclusion

Upskilling and internal mobility have always been important, but in today’s recruitment landscape, they are essential. Not only are there high costs associated with recruiting and retraining – the cost to replace an employee is up to two times their salary – but considerable costs in terms of morale, as people who see employee turnover around them are more than twice as likely to be looking for a new job themselves. By embracing internal mobility, you can maximise the potential of your workforce and boost employee engagement, retention and innovation – enhancing your company’s performance now and future-proofing it for tomorrow’s challenges.

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