What Does It Take to Create a Successful Talent Mobility Program?
To remain competitive in the current talent marketplace, HR leaders must focus on talent mobility as a part of workplace planning and retention strategies. Talent mobility is about understanding how to position a company’s human capital for growth, productivity, and success, while keeping employees engaged in their future and current careers.
A dynamic approach to talent mobility moves talent into, within, and out of organizations to generate greater growth, increased productivity, and profitability. At a basic level, the three pillars of successful internal talent mobility programs are career development, redeployment, and outplacement.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TALENT MOBILITY
The market for talent is competitive and organizations must learn how to be more strategic in retaining their workforce.
There is a difference between having a relatively flat organizational structure in which key employees leave your company and you replace them, and a dynamic structure where key employees have opportunities within your organization for training, development, and mobility. Without capacity for movement, your top talent will look outside of your company for growth opportunities. If you create a structure that focuses on employee development and learning that is continuous, this becomes a tool for retention.
This dynamism also broadens your talent pool, as recruiting efforts can focus on filling entry-level positions while senior or manager positions requiring experience and a more specific skill set are filled from within your company. As HR leaders, we know that training and development improves employee engagement, and therefore retention. As the challenges demand more resources and result in greater talent costs, the C-suite is beginning to take notice and seriously consider solutions that will help them realize greater return on the talent investment.
The Predictive Index’s 2019 Annual CEO Benchmarking Report finds that talent optimization has moved into the top spot for CEOs when asked about their primary concerns about their company. The majority of their top challenges map back to people strategy and talent management; and their number one challenge is finding the right talent to fill the right positions at the right time.
The report indicates that four out of the top five biggest challenges CEOs face relate to talent optimization. In order of ranking, they are:
- Finding the right talent
- Aligning employees with strategy
- Getting the most out of people
- Creating a great work environment
Nearly 70 percent of CEOs report needing help with talent strategy and execution. The top three activities they need the most help with are leadership development, employee performance, and pre-hire selection. Additionally, 64 percent of CEOs report having employee-related costs that constitute at least half of their overall costs.
HOW HR LEADERSHIP CAN DRIVE TALENT MOBILITY
This is where HR as a workplace leader and change agent comes in. Employers who want to retain their experienced and productive workers must find ways to not only engage them, but also to support them in their personal and professional aspirations, wherever they may lead.
Your employees have little idea what job opportunities exist outside of their own departments. Most only become aware once a job is posted, leaving them little time to understand the job requirements and to apply. Adding career pathing or mapping to your HRIS can solidify your company’s talent mobility strategy by informing employees and putting them in charge of their careers by encouraging them to look beyond their current role.
Offering development resources enables your employees to discover individual positions and career paths within your organization and learn about the skills, experiences, and competencies required to make the move. This insight also helps managers provide guidance to employees and teams. When you can gather data on skills and interests from your current workforce, your training and development programs can hyper-focus on the needs of your employees and prepare them to move into other areas, laterally or into a management role.
CREATE A MOBILE WORKFORCE
Redeployment and career development also feed into the overall succession plan for your company. As talent acquisition professionals, we’re looking down the barrel of a huge future skills gap—in some industries more than others—that we’re going to need to address. Talent mobility can drive your succession plan and ensure that top-tier director and management positions will be filled. Once an employee is identified as high potential, we must make sure that the employee’s career goals and path is in alignment with the larger organizational goals. Working together, the company and individual employees can plan out training, skill building, and other experiences that will prepare employees for new roles.
BEYOND TALENT HOARDING
It’s also important to bring your company team leaders and hiring managers into conversations about talent mobility. When a team leader has a great employee, discussing a growth track that will eventually lead that employee out of a team and into another area of the company isn’t always a topic of conversation managers want to have. Suggesting that an employee join another team isn’t often what managers will bring up during performance reviews or one-on-ones. In fact, managers and team leaders often fall into the category of “talent hoarders”—trying to keep the best talent in their team to ensure they reach team goals. To make redeployment effective, every hiring manager at your company should understand how a talent mobility program impacts the bottom line of the company and contributes to more than team goals.
Your hiring managers should also feel confident that your training and development opportunities for employees mean that there are employees ready to move into key positions as others move onward and upward. Talent mobility programs don’t create a skills gap; they plan for the gap and also fill them. Effective talent mobility programs anticipate the talent gaps and develop proactive strategies and processes to develop the talent with the skills and abilities they need before they need them.
When retention is up, so is performance, productivity, and engagement. A great talent mobility program has a ripple effect that impacts all areas of the business as well as makes your employees happier and more engaged. Your organization’s talent mobility program should be customized to suit the specific needs of your organization and your organization alone. Such creativity can push your business beyond profitability goals and expectations.