Internal Mobility: 3 Ways to Support Promoting from Within

Internal Mobility

Over the last couple years, talent management leaders have been re-imagining the world of work. The decisions and investments made this year will shape the working world for years to come. And many HR teams are making transformative changes in the way they upskill, reskill, engage, and retain talent. However, these changes will require fundamental shifts in how companies support and manage internal mobility and advancement.


Here are three of the most important things you can do right now to start harnessing the power of your current workforce.

Foster a Culture of Continuous Feedback

To foster an environment of both personal and professional growth, people need to feel safe about giving and receiving feedback. A feedback culture is a fluid, two-way exchange between employees as well as employees and management. The end goal is a space in which employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns, suggestions, and advancement plans. At the same time, employers can express feedback constructively.


A healthy feedback culture is one where feedback is the norm rather than a signal that something is wrong. This means when improvements are needed, asking for change won’t come off as awkward or out of the blue. Instead, you’ll be able to enhance business processes while empowering employees to excel in their roles. Here are some quick tips for embedding continuous feedback into your workplace.


  1. Set and reinforce expectations during onboarding, performance reviews, and manager 1:1s for giving, receiving, and using constructive feedback.
  2. Create multiple channels for giving and receiving feedback. These can include newsletters, email inboxes, surveys, town halls, office hours and more. Some folks like to write it out, while others prefer vocalizing — be inclusive of how you solicit feedback.
  3. Couple feedback with recognition so that employees associate feedback with a positive form of reinforcement. It will help reinforce the kind of behaviors that are helping move the organization forward.

Upskill & Learning for Easier Internal Mobility

Successful upskilling programs require more than just tailored training and carefully selected partners. Companies with the best learning outcomes create a culture of learning that encourages and supports continuous learning for their employees. Plus, at the most basic level, it shows your organization’s commitment to current employees.


Even though upskilling initiatives have been a major focus for many companies even before the pandemic, we’ve seen a significant rise in investment in this area. For example, Mastercard has been upskilling their staff to compete with start-ups, encouraging them to develop new skills through the learning platform Degreed.

Upskilling at Work

Steve Boucher, VP of Global Talent Development at Mastercard, has said, “In order to remain competitive, we had to embrace new technologies and expand. To do this, Mastercard’s company culture would have to evolve to accelerate innovation and pivot product development towards developing digital technology offerings.”


They decided to use Degreed, offering personalized learning experiences, creating relevant pathways, and helping employees connect to the content pertinent to them. Ninety-six percent of Mastercard’s workforce now regularly engages in learning through Degreed. It’s a testament to how effective and aligned it is with both business and individual goals.


The attention to upskilling is happening very broadly, regardless of organizational size or industry. Just recently, Amazon announced a major investment of more than $700 million that aims to reskill a third of its U.S. workforce over the next six years.


While not every organization can address upskilling scale, most have taken the initial step of introducing new employee enablement technologies. That’s because there is clear consensus on employee enablement technology’s role in upskilling. In this digital age, it is essential to free up employees’ time to work on more strategic tasks, boost output and productivity, and ultimately increase revenue through improved experiences. For more on how to level up your learning and training programming, check out our article: 8 Considerations for Leveling Up Your L&D Program Right Now

Identify Internal Mobility Opportunities with Psychometrics

In volatile or uncertain times, companies often move away from static jobs in siloed departments and toward project-based cross-functional work, where employees will shift to new projects as business needs change. This is a great opportunity to see where current employees may be able to shift into new projects and responsibilities.


This is where psychometrics can come into play. To leverage the power of your internal workforce, you’ll need to prioritize or even change the way you assess internal candidates so you can best identify team members for roles. Prioritize your team members’ potential and transferable skills over their technical capacity to do specific tasks. And to do it, you can use psychometric assessments. You’ll get a fuller picture of your current employees’ potential.


Keep in mind that psychometrics measure preferences and tendencies (not skills or capabilities), which means this kind of assessment helps you quickly gain a deeper understanding of how a team member can contribute contribute to a team’s culture and perform in different roles. As Humantelligence CEO and executive search consultant Juan Betancourt shares,


“Resumes, LinkedIn, and educational backgrounds only tell some of the story. Besides being self reported, they are limited to only showing past experiences. Psychometrics more easily reveal a person’s fuller potential when it comes to situational behavior, actions, results, communication, and motivations — now and in the future.”


A team member’s psychometric profile can give you a multi-dimensional snapshot of a person, rather than a bulleted list of facts. It includes comprehensive data on a candidate’s critical behaviors, motivators, and work energizers. When you assess this kind of information alongside cognitive abilities, you’ll also find yourself removing unconscious biases and engaging in a more inclusive evaluation of team members. This approach allows you to identify their team fit as well, increasing potential for success.

Key Benefit: Promoting from Within Reduces Turnover

Increased engagement, lower costs, and a shorter time-to-hire and onboard are just a few of the benefits of the shift to internal mobility. The biggest benefit may be improved retention, said Mark Lobosco, Vice President of Talent Solutions at LinkedIn.


“Data show that employees stay 41 percent longer at companies that hire internally compared to those that don’t. As companies continue to experience the benefits of internal mobility, we’ll begin to see it shift from an ad hoc solution to an essential corporate strategy. This will lead to HR and L&D partnering closer than ever before to better understand existing skill sets, address skill gaps in their organization, and build more robust internal mobility programs.”


A Case for Internal Mobility: Better Retention

According to an article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, a study of 32 million profiles of active LinkedIn users who’ve worked at a larger company (one with more than 500 employees) since 2013 found the likelihood that an employee stays with a company decreases as the years pass. One year after being hired, there’s a 76 percent chance the worker will still be with the company. By year five, estimated retention is down to 38 percent. 


But employees who were promoted within three years of being hired have a 70 percent chance of staying onboard, and those who made a lateral move have a 62 percent chance of staying. Those who were not promoted and who did not change jobs internally have only a 45 percent chance of remaining.


Further, in research of North American and European workers, Lighthouse Research & Advisory found that 88% of employees would stay at a job if they had career and growth opportunities ahead, but more than 60% have left a job in the past because they didn’t see any way to advance. 


Building cultures focused on internal skill development and growth have now become of central importance. To do it, companies are bringing once siloed HR programs, like L&D and hiring, together with skills and technology as well as ongoing feedback in order to create a thriving internal marketplace for talent. And you can too!


Start harnessing the power of your current workforce by request your free team culture mapping.

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