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What Is Talent Mobility And Why Is It Important For The Workforce

Every time an employer wants to recruit talent for a vacant job role, they often find themselves looking outside for candidates. However, many employers forget that they have talented employees already working with the organization who will be a great fit for that role.

Talent mobility is a concept that is underrated in the business world. It encompasses an employee’s ability to move between positions within a company, going from one role to the next. 

In this article, we will provide all you need to know about talent mobility, what it is, and why it is important for your workforce.

What Is Talent Mobility?

Talent mobility is a strategic talent management process that involves moving existing employees to new roles or departments within the same company. It is usually adopted as a more effective solution to filling job openings within the company without having to hire new candidates.

As the global workforce continues to surge, more and more companies struggle to keep or retain talents within their workforce. They do this with the hope of remaining competitive in the business market. After all, talents are difficult to come by, and the most successful companies have talented employees as a part of their team.

As the number of talents dwindles in the job market, a company’s ability to stay relevant and competitive, even more than their competitors, hinges on keeping the best talent. Many companies are choosing to hire qualified employees and train or groom them into talented individuals. While nothing is inherently wrong with this process, many companies underrate the effects and benefits of talent mobility as a long-term plan to ensure a company retains talents in the long run.

For instance, you notice your business has to enter a new market, which will lead to job vacancies within the establishment. Do you immediately think, “Let’s hire new employees or use a staffing agency”? Or do you consider if you already have the talent you need on your team?

If you consider the former, you may be low on talent mobility.

Talent mobility involves maximizing the potential of your employees and the workplace as a whole. In the fast-paced business world, it is important to encourage flexibility and the ability to transfer a talented employee when the need arises.

Although it might not sound like it, talent mobility is more than just uprooting an employer from their current role to a new one. For talent mobility to take form, the employees should already have the necessary skills that are a great fit for their current role and the role they will be transferred to. In talent mobility, an employee had to be able to take on new roles and responsibilities seamlessly.

Two people shaking hands.
A promotion is a type of talent mobility. 

Types Of Talent Mobility

Involves identifying and developing employees with high potential and providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement. To do this, a company facilitates the movement of an employee from one role to the other. This movement can be vertical or horizontal.

Vertical and horizontal talent mobility are two terms that act as an umbrella for the different types of mobility there are today. These types of talent mobility indicate the movement of the employee within the organization.

  • Vertical Talent Mobility: Vertical talent mobility refers to an employee’s movement up the hierarchy of the company they work in. The movement is usually from a subordinate-type role to one that holds more weight. Vertical mobility involves promotions or mobilization to higher position levels. Vertical talent mobility offers an opportunity for the employee involved to take on greater responsibilities and challenges. This not only enables them to hone the skills they already have and experience professional growth by taking on bigger challenges and roles.
  • Horizontal Talent Mobility: Horizontal talent mobility refers to the lateral moves within an organization. It refers to when employees change roles or departments without needing to ascend the hierarchical ladder and gain new authority. Instead, they remain mostly at the same level while only taking on new responsibilities.

Other forms of talent mobility include geographic mobility, which involves relocating employees to a different state. This mobility can be done for the same establishment (moving the employee to another branch of the same organization) or moving employees to different organizations entirely. Talent mobility may also include cross-functional mobility, a process that involves moving employees across different functional areas within an organization. For example, a marketing professional may be allowed to work in finance or operations. It promotes the cross-pollination of ideas and knowledge sharing.

The Benefits Of Talent Mobility

Effectively implementing falsity mobility in an organization works wonders in unveiling and optimizing untapped skills. Of course, the most important benefit is a company can retain talent in the organization, making it easier to remain ahead of competitors. However, the importance and benefit of talent mobility surpass simply retaining talents in an organization.

Some of the benefits of talent mobility include:

1. Retaining Top Talent

The importance of talent mobility in keeping talented employees in the organization cannot be overemphasized. This is important because, for long-term company growth, you need to ensure your workforce is made up of some of the most talented individuals in the rapidly expanding job market.  More importantly, you need to ensure you retain employees and not lose them. When it comes to achieving both options, talent mobility is the way to go.

Talent mobility offers an opportunity to use your current resources (in this case, your current workforce) to grow your organization. While working at an organization, employees develop and grow out of the roles they are usually given. Instead of keeping them tied to the role and giving them an excuse to want to seek out other professional green pastures that will offer them an opportunity for career advancement, talent mobility helps employees grow professionally. More importantly, it enables them to enjoy this growth without having to leave the organization.

By utilizing talent mobility as a strategy, organizations can show their employees that they are invested in their career advancement. This will prove to the employee that the company indeed cares about their professional development, thereby fostering loyalty. More importantly, the employee will feel safer in the company and will be more like to stay in the company, especially because they feel valued.

2. Attracting New Talent

There are numerous ways a company can become a talent magnet and easily attract talents, and utilizing talent mobility is one of them. Essentially, not only does talent mobility work for retaining talents but it also helps to attract new ones.

This is possible because talent mobility preaches a culture of professional development. It shows employees and potential employees that the organization is invested in seeing its employees grow and take on new challenges in the form of new roles.

Additionally, a solid talent mobility strategy shows the employees and potential employees that they will have unmatched experience. The organization offers the employees opportunity for growth and because of this has a positive reputation that attracts top talents, especially young talents just starting their professional journeys.

A company that practices talent mobility boasts of an effective talent management strategy. As a result, they also have a positive reputation that will have talents limiting up at their doorstep to get a chance to work with them.

3. Better Employee Engagement 

According to a Gallup survey, only about 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace. This indicated a problem in the workforce, not only within the country but also extending globally.

With only a small percentage of employees fully engaged in their roles, companies face a productivity challenge. However, several strategies offer a way to combat this engagement problem and help employees be more engaged at work. One of these is talent mobility.

Talent mobility is synonymous with career mobility. It shows employees that they have the opportunity to grow in their careers if they invest their time and energy into performing their duties and responsibilities very well.

The promise of professional growth acts as a motivation to get employees to be more engaged. This ensures they are more committed to their roles, thereby solving the engagement problem that the company might have.

Engagement offers numerous benefits, including increasing productivity and even company revenue in the long run. As a result, it is easy to see that talent mobility will play a significant role in a company’s success story in the long run.

4. Less Time Onboarding: Streamlining with Talent Mobility Processes

Onboarding is one of the most challenging processes when it comes to hiring a new employee. Integrating the employee into the company and introducing them to the operations that take place within the company is challenging, especially because the employee is new to all the processes. 

However, with talent mobility, employees are already familiar with the company’s operations. As a result, the onboarding process does not require as much time and resources as a new hire’s onboarding will require.

Admittedly, moving candidates around to new internal positions still requires a level of training and onboarding. However, because internal hires are already familiar with company processes, policies, and culture, they can hit the floor running and save time, energy, and resources that would otherwise be dedicated to onboarding processes.

5. Future-Proof 

Talent mobility is becoming a widely popular trend in the business world. This talent management strategy is used as a long-term strategy to keep a company relevant even in the future.

Companies with adequate talented employees boast of the ability to weather the storm of any challenge that the rapidly shifting and changing business world might bring with it. By using talent mobility, employers can establish a robust pipeline of efficient employees for an extremely skilled workforce.

With talent mobility, employees are motivated to take on new roles, duties, and responsibilities outside their traditional job descriptions. This builds their professional ability; they adapt their focus based on business needs and drive workforce agility as a result.

 6. Supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are hot topics that have been pushed to the forefront of discussions in the business world. This has been a long time coming, especially since studies have found that corporations that identified as more diverse and inclusive are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are concepts that all aim to eliminate or reduce bias in the workplace. These concepts focus on creating a gender-inclusive work environment where all employees feel safe regardless of their gender, beliefs, opinions, race, or culture. Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become top priorities and have been proven to play key roles in employee retention, satisfaction, engagement, and overall productivity.

One major way talent mobility helps reign in bias in the workplace is by solving the problem of job loss among women. When talented female employees experience job loss (voluntarily or not), it is often difficult for them to get back into the workforce and continue developing their careers and skills. As a result, talent mobility ensures a continued female labor force, enabling them to build their skill sets and remain relevant in the workforce.

However, job loss among women is one of many problems talent mobility plays a role in solving. It is also a key factor in solving other minor problems in the global job market.

7. Reduce Recruitment Costs

One of the highest importance of talent mobility is its ability to reduce recruitment costs. Recruitment costs are one of the most expensive financially, often reaching a benchmark value between $3000 and $5000. This value might also reach tens of thousands depending on factors such as the size of the company, vacant job positions, and external recruiting costs.

By hiring within the organization using talent mobility, a company can cut costs and save other fees associated with hiring a new employee. While the organization might still spend money training the employees, this will be little compared to the amount required to hire and integrate a new employee into the company.

People holding a meeting in a room.
Talent mobility aids diversity at work.

How To Create And Implement A Talent Mobility Strategy

It is no doubt that talent mobility is one of the best strategies a company can implement in their organization. However, as with any other business operation, a successful and efficient talent mobility process requires a working strategy. This strategy will involve every employee, from C-level executives to the HR managers and even the employees at the lower strata.

To create a talent mobility strategy:

  • Get your Executive Members On the Board

For a successful talent mobility program, it is essential to have the support of your executive team. Ensure your executives buy into the idea of implementing a talent mobility strategy. This will ensure everyone is on the same page, thereby increasing the chances of the strategy being successful. 

  • Create A Task Force

Create a talent mobility task force that will be in charge of developing and implementing your talent mobility strategy. This dedicated team will dedicate time, energy, and other resources to ensuring the strategy is successful. Key players in this task force should include hiring managers, HR leaders, and other HR professionals. You may also choose to assign employees, stakeholders, and other strategic thinkers to this task force depending on your organization.

  • Create A Clear Talent Mobility Strategy

Talent mobility is more than simple guesswork. It requires a plan that is unique to the organization, its culture, and its team of employees. This will dismiss the possibility of fear of the unknown among employees and managers.

Talent mobility strategies vary from company to company. However, there are several key factors any organization will want to build its strategy around. Some of these include:

1. What are your short and long-term goals? 

2. What does a successful talent mobility process look like to you?

3. What’s your hiring process for internal candidates?

4. How are you going to invest in growing your current employees? What training are you going to offer?

5. Are you going to combine not the internal and external talent pipelines?

  • Set Your Guidelines

For a successful talent mobility strategy, you need to set clear guidelines for procedures, processes, and policies. These guidelines will be your organization’s guiding light to achieving successful talent mobility. 

Some processes that should have guidelines include:

1. Application processes: Should show employees how they should apply for an internal role

2. Interviewing processes: Should guide what the employee interview process should be like

3. Time guidelines: Should cover restrictions on the duration of the talent mobility process. This might include how often employees can change roles or how long an employee needs to work in a role before being mobilized.

4. Promotion policies: This should outline the requirements employees need to pass before being considered for vertical talent mobility.

  • Create Detailed Job Descriptions

Talent mobility helps to address employee skill gaps. It also plays a significant role in maximizing employees’ skills, talents, and experience. However, to do this, you need to know what these skill gaps are by providing detailed job descriptions.

By creating a detailed job description, it is easier to list the skills necessary for a role and match them with your existing employees’ skill sets. This will make it easier to find an internal employee fit for the job and maximize human capital.

  • Map Out Employee Skill Sets

Knowing where to mobilize your current employees is not possible without knowing what their current capacities and skills are. As a result, it is important to map out where they are now within the company, as well as where they’d like to be in their careers.

Do this by listing out their current skills and identifying skills they want to develop. Also, list out their long-term goals and the opportunities they hope to get. Use this list as a guideline to map out a plan on how to leverage employee talent for both their professional and the company’s growth.

  • Ask For Feedback

How do you know your talent mobility strategy is working? Well, the best way will be to hear it from the horse’s mouth by conducting a performance review.

Before implementing a talent mobility program, as your employees what kind of internal mobility opportunities they are interested in seeing in the company. When you implement the program, ask them for their opinions on things that can be done differently. Always seek feedback- especially from employees who are moved vertically or horizontally in the organization.

More importantly, use this feedback to improve your talent mobility process continually. This will not only help your employees feel valued but ensure the continual success of your talent mobility strategy.

Leveraging The Power Of Talent Mobility

Talent mobility has emerged as a critical aspect of the modern workforce, enabling organizations to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape. By embracing talent mobility, employers can harness the full potential of their workforce, foster employee development, and achieve a competitive advantage in the market.

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