Talent Mobility: What it is and best practices

4 minute read
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Darshil Dhandh
April 28, 2024 at 03:48 AM
What is talent mobility

Do you know what is common between Doug McMillon, Mary Barra, and Bob Iger? They all started their careers in entry-level positions at the companies they currently lead.

Doug McMillion used to load trucks at the Walmart distribution center, and today he’s the company's CEO. Mary Barra, the CEO at General Motors, used to work on the assembly line when she was 18. Whereas, Bob Iger began his career as a weatherman on a local ABC news station (owned by Walt Disney Company), and guess who’s the CEO of Walt Disney? Yup, it’s Bob.

All these talented individuals might not have reached their current position if their companies lacked talent mobility. Let’s dive deeper into talent mobility and understand why it is so crucial. 

What is talent mobility?

Talent mobility is the practice of moving your existing talent to new roles and departments within your organization when needed. Higher talent mobility is an indicator of more opportunities for your existing employees to flourish in their careers. Whereas it also helps in faster fulfillment of vacancies internally whenever they arise.

Talent mobility helps in aligning the skills of your workforce with the requirements of your organization. A talent mobility program can not only help your workforce in polishing their skills but also save your hiring costs.

Talent Mobility Illustration.jpg

Difference between talent mobility and internal mobility?

People often use talent mobility and internal mobility (aka internal talent mobility) interchangeably. They are not entirely incorrect, as both involve shifting the talent internally. However, there is a very fine line of difference.

While internal mobility deals with an organization’s ability to transfer its talent internally, talent mobility is an organization’s ability to internally transfer the talent when the need arises (i.e., during a vacancy)

Types of talent mobility

Talent mobility can be of 2 types, namely:

1. Vertical talent mobility

Vertical mobility deals with rising to the top of the corporate ladder. In essence, it involves shifting the talent to a superior position than their current one. Promoting a content writer to a content manager role is an example of vertical talent mobility.

Vertical talent mobility often comes with a change in authority and pay.

2. Horizontal talent mobility

While vertical mobility deals with promoting talent to a higher position, horizontal mobility involves shifting the talent to a new position at the functional level.

Suppose you are about to launch a new product, and you relocate your existing product’s UI/UX designer to the new product’s team. This is an example of horizontal mobility, as, despite the transition, the role remains the same (UI/UX designer.) Horizontal mobility is also known as lateral mobility.  

How talent mobility is beneficial for your business

Let’s check the benefits of talent mobility for enterprises.

1. Helps in retaining talent

It is no rocket science that employees switch organizations in the pursuit of better pay and position. Talent mobility helps in reducing the odds of the latter as it increases the possibilities of better career opportunities for employees within the organization.

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that talent mobility increases the likelihood of employees staying longer at their companies. The graph illustrates how the possibility of retention changes over time.

Talent Mobility Statistics

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2. Saves time and resources

Filling vacancies internally from qualified candidates can save a lot of your time and effort. For starters, your employees are already familiar with your organization’s culture and policy which leads to a shorter learning curve. This way, they can get to work faster. 

It is a wise choice to promote your valuable talent internally rather than lose them to a competitor. 

Speaking of numbers, hiring external talent can be up to six times more expensive than finding and grooming the talent internally. 

Best practices for talent mobility

Here are some of the best practices that you should follow while implementing a talent mobility program.

1. Getting leadership on board

Your organization’s leadership should be convinced by the idea and benefits of having talent mobility. To ensure the successful implementation of a talent mobility program, it is crucial to bring all the parties — like team leaders and subordinates —  on the same page.

There can be times when leaders are reluctant to let go of their stellar performers to another department. To avoid such talent hoarding situations, you can analyze departments with the lowest promotional levels, get in touch with the concerned leaders, and convince them to encourage talent mobility. You can also assign dedicated internal talent mobility specialists to actively monitor the internal talent, to fill the vacancies whenever they arise.

2. Creating an internal mobility policy

Once everyone is on the same page, it is crucial to lay out a clear internal mobility policy to ensure that all your employees and the HR team are clear with it.  Your internal mobility policy should be drafted in such a way that supports these points:

  • Making your employees aware of the internal mobility options available to them and how they can pursue them. The policy should also outline the criteria to make employees eligible for the promotion.
  • Encouraging and incentivizing the managers to discuss and promote internal mobility options with their team members
  • Offering training to the employees to prepare them for internal career opportunities.

3. Using a talent marketplace

Mapping out your talent’s skillsets is crucial to plan their growth. But it can be daunting to do this for a large magnitude of talent. In such scenarios, talent marketplaces can be of great help. 

talent marketplace is a platform that helps you collect and organize useful information about your talent — like their skillset, work history, past and present projects, etc. With all the talent information at your disposal, you can analyze the talent’s potential and carve out their growth paths within your organization.

Talent marketplaces boost your talent pool’s transparency, which ensures that all the internal talent mobility decisions are backed by data instead of personal bias.

Conversely, talent marketplaces also aid employees in gauging their performance against their peers. It can provide vital insights about their areas of expertise as well as improvement. 

Give SkillDB a shot if you are looking for a talent marketplace platform to elevate your talent mobility. It has all the necessary features to take your talent mobility to the next level.

Try SkillDB now for free

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AUTHORDarshil Dhandh

Simplifying complexity using words is my superpower. Being a Philomath, I love reading everything that I get my hands on and use writing to share my learnings. For me, writing is such a novel activity — it lets you experience the joy of being a student and teacher at the same time. Passionate about Marketing, Psychology, Philosophy, and binging TV shows.

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