As talent scarcity rises around the world, talent management is increasingly focused on the full life cycle of workers — from candidate engagement through off boarding and beyond. This talent-centric approach is proving to be a win-win for all parties: workers benefit because they know employers are looking out for their needs, and employers because they have a better understanding of what motivates their workers. And one of the most beneficial aspects of having greater visibility of the workforce is more internal mobility of talent.
As critical talent becomes more difficult to acquire, one of the most effective ways to counter this challenge is to promote from within. The internal talent you promote in the organization is already a proven asset with a clear understanding of your business, culture and mission. Consider a 2015 study conducted by the Human Capital Institute and Oracle, which found that 60% of employers surveyed said internally promoted employees performed significantly better than talent recruited into similar positions. And 59% of respondents said they were more globally competitive as a result of their internal mobility programs.
With all the benefits that a robust internal mobility program offers, I’m always encouraging our clients to make this priority in their organization to retain important talent and critical business knowledge. What I found surprising is that LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report published last year found that employee retention is one of the top priorities for nearly 4,000 talent acquisition professionals surveyed, but fewer than one-quarter said their organization had a well-defined program for advancement opportunities; 12% had no programs at all, and 31% said their internal hiring process is mostly ad hoc.
Even among those who believe they have a strong program, they can do better. In a previous year of LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends Survey, around two-thirds of talent acquisition and HR professionals in the US, Australia, Canada, India and the UK said their companies had well-known internal mobility programs. However, in exit surveys conducted by LinkedIn, only around a quarter of workers in those countries said they were aware of their companies’ mobility program — clearly a disconnect between talent leaders and employees.
So how do you know if your internal mobility program is well-known and well-received by internal talent? More importantly, is it developing the kind of leadership talent your company will need to drive growth?
Start by asking some critical questions. If you can clearly answer these in the affirmative, you are likely in a strong position to promote from within.
Q: Do you have a dedicated program owner who has clearly defined the opportunities for advancement within your organization? As LinkedIn’s survey has shown, only 24% of companies have a well-defined program, and 43% have either no program at all or an ad hoc approach. Without a formal program that engages your internal talent, you risk losing them to the market.
Q: Does your talent acquisition effort weigh internal and external candidates equally? If your organization has a biased view toward external talent, you may be missing out on great performers. Matthew Bidwell, a professor at the Wharton School, published a paper entitled: “Paying More to Get Less,” in which he found that “workers promoted into jobs have significantly better performance for the first two years than workers hired into similar jobs and lower rates of voluntary and involuntary exit.”
Q: Do you offer training and coaching programs to encourage talent to stay? Are mentorships part of the offering also? If your answer is “yes” to both, you are headed in the right direction. Many workers leave their employers not only for higher salaries and career advancement but also to get new skills. By offering workers the ability to acquire new skills within your company, you are also affirming a forward-moving career path for them.
Q: How visible is your internal mobility program, and do you actively promote this to your employees? Organizations are moving beyond the traditional internal “post and pray” approach, whereby roles are advertised on a company intranet. Employers are investing time to create dedicated micro sites, and much like a careers site, these include “get to know you” introductions and videos against each business area. To further promote opportunities to employees, create internal brand ambassadors to host webinars and demonstrate the career paths available. This proactive approach not only breaks down any misconceptions but more importantly drives awareness of career paths within a business.
Q: Finally, do you regularly survey employees and ask how they rank your mobility program? Go straight to the source for feedback on whether your efforts are successful. Make sure you have a clear understanding of why your program isn’t working and how to get back on track.
By regularly assessing your mobility program with the above criteria, you can rest assured knowing that your workers will internally seek out opportunities before they turn to the market. It’s an effective way to both retain and engage talent.
To read more about the top 30 trends shaping the world of work, download our Randstad Sourceright 2016 Talent Trends Report.
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