At the beginning of 2023, we witnessed a big wave of layoffs at some of the world’s largest companies. Amazon laid off 18,000 workers; Google cut 12,000 employees; Microsoft eliminated 10,000 of their staff. Those are huge numbers, right? Layoffs of technical workers in 2023 are already a third of last year’s total, and it all happened in January alone. Could these layoffs have been avoided? Yes, with the help of strategic workforce planning. We’ve shared insights based on the example of the aviation industry. One more essential rule is not to lose necessary talents that can be useful to companies during large layoffs. A properly planned talent mobility strategy can help with this.
If your organization wants to remain competitive, you should keep your best talents for the long term and give them access to professional growth opportunities.
Implementing a talent mobility strategy: As The Mandalorian might say, “this is the way” of keeping the best employees in your company even as they grow professionally. Let’s dig into the essentials of talent mobility strategies.
Talent mobility strategy essentials
In a nutshell, talent or internal mobility allows employees to move within your company. It helps you improve everything from the employee experience to employee engagement and retention.
According to a 2019 Deloitte survey, 76% of nearly 10,000 business leaders in 119 countries said internal talent mobility is essential. Still, only 6% of respondents thought they were mobilizing employees properly from one position to another.
These statistics illustrate business leaders’ awareness of the importance of building a talent mobility strategy in 2019. However, it’s even more apparent that few companies succeed with internal mobility – at least to a degree they’re satisfied with. Over three years have passed since this survey, so let’s consider whether the situation has changed and whether there are proven talent mobility strategies you can bring to your organization.
Talent mobility became a crucial factor for retaining employees in 2022. According to a report by Lever, the desire to introduce a talent mobility strategy was a key factor driving talent retention. Lever surveyed 1,200 full-time employed adults (via Pollfish) in the U.S.
Respondents claimed they felt the need to:
- Be more encouraged to pursue new roles internally (33%)
- Openly discuss internal opportunities with their managers (21%)
- Decide with whom to talk about internal mobility opportunities (13%).
More than three in five full-time employees (61%) say they would look for a new role if their company didn’t allow for a role change, while more than two-thirds (67%) would leave their organization altogether if it didn’t provide internal mobility.
A talent mobility strategy is a way to respond quickly to a globalized world and the changes it offers. The significant layoffs we’ve recently seen show that staying competitive in a globalized world no longer means having the strongest heritage or the best-known brand. It’s about being flexible enough to respond to industry changes and disruptions as they happen and having the right talent on hand to meet the organization’s goals.
The best thing about talent mobility is that it allows organizations to quickly adapt to a changing environment, with the ability to deploy and move key skills between projects and businesses and across borders when needed.
Talent mobility provides opportunities for employees’ advancement and development within an organization and can lead to 30% process improvements and 23% productivity gains.
Develop a talent mobility strategy
A well-planned talent mobility strategy allows HR professionals to proactively move people from position to position at any business level to achieve organizational goals. There are several ways to promote greater talent mobility:
- Developing internal and external talent channels
- Visible career pathing and succession planning
- Training of existing employees
- Encouraging and supporting cross-functional projects, business trips, and rotations
- Removing internal barriers and silos between teams.
Of course, not all positions in an organization can be filled in-house – build, buy, or borrow should be part of any talent mobility strategy. The talent pipeline should encompass the internal and external talent, including contractors and freelancers. Having these talent acquisition channels in place and easily accessible allows organizations to quickly assign people to roles when needed.
- Build or provide talent development (train/upskill employees)
- Buy or recruit talents (hire or attract specialists from outside the organization)
- Borrow or hire talents for project work (temporarily use external candidates or internal talent from other regions/functions).
Talent mobility is now a priority due to three main factors
- Lack of career development is now the main reason for employee turnover. According to a study by the Work Institute, the main reason talents leave their jobs is a lack of career development. In addition, the growing gaps in skills create external opportunities when managers cannot find skills within their organization.
- Companies are now reorganizing for agility. But according to Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2022 report, HR needs to focus on finding new ways of working to be more flexible. The workforce now requires growth opportunities. According to a Deloitte survey, Millennials believe learning and developing skills are essential to their long-term career prospects.
- A strong talent mobility strategy can deliver significant results. And not having such a strategy can hurt your organization’s bottom line, resulting in $45 million in employee turnover and annual hiring costs for a midsized company (10,000 employees with a 6% turnover rate). Estimates of the financial burden of replacing staff vary, but one statistic is worth noting: the cost of finding a replacement for an individual employee can be as much as two times the employee’s annual salary.
5 basics of a successful talent mobility strategy
A talent mobility strategy should support different approaches and focus on management priorities for career development, job openings, internal hiring, workforce analytics, mentoring projects, and marketplaces.
Here’s how you can start applying your talent mobility strategy:
- Career pathing and recommended training. Career pathing and recommended learning through talent mobility can make it easier for employees to learn about different careers within the company, understand skills gaps, and receive recommended projects, mentors, and learning resources to address those gaps.
- Open vacancies and internal recruitment. Employees should be recommended for open positions, and recruiters should be notified when this happens, making the internal hiring process seamless. This feature also allows recruiters to notify and push vacancies early to encourage employees to apply.
- Use specific HR tools like smartPeople and features like smartHire. smartPeople is a platform where employees can offer their knowledge, skills, and experience and easily find other employees looking for mentorship. It guides mentors when employees try to connect with someone based on their career aspirations and skills gaps.
- Labor force analysis. Workforce analytics provides information about talents, such as career aspirations, skills, and development gaps. It better explains organizational skills, such as strengths and talent gaps.
Strengthen the work environment with talent mobility
Have you tried the smartPeople platform? It helps you develop and manage the skills your employees need in the organization now and in the future. You can also provide talent mobility with future-oriented skills, knowing the average time to hire in particular locations.
Talent mobility helps you and your employees consider the future potential and mobility of the candidates you bring in. In addition, it makes it more likely that you can fill skills gaps or open positions without constantly outsourcing.
Use a talent mobility strategy to empower your organization
In a world where talent competition is fierce, leveraging the stellar employees you already have and focusing on candidates’ future potential can help your recruiting team and your organization adapt to today’s hiring demands and realities.
Effective talent mobility can empower your organization. It can help you retain and attract top talent. It can help your company fill skills gaps and improve productivity and engagement. A talent mobility strategy can help you retain employees who are critical to your company.
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