coaching for mobility

We are working through one of the tightest global labor markets in memory and its effects are being felt from San Francisco to Sydney. As businesses observe their attrition rates increase at an alarming rate, attracting and retaining top talent is now more critical than ever.

As employers, there is a golden opportunity to attract and retain talent by offering them what they want within their current organization, before they feel a need to look for it outside. Alongside the bigger question of ‘how can we work with you to deliver a worklife that meets expectations’, organizations are also asking ‘how easy is it for an existing employee to find a new job internally?’ The answer to the latter is, it may well be easier for them to source one externally. 

According to our recently launched worklife coaching report, 43% of the businesses we spoke with do not have an internal mobility program in place. And around half had only implemented a program in the past three years. Organizations in the US, India, and UK were most likely to have an internal mobility program in place and stand more geared towards offering ways of encouraging existing employees to find new jobs internally. 

Given the labor market compression, simply hiring new talent from outside the organization in response to internal demand doesn’t work like it used to. HR teams need to work with management to discover what lies within an organization first.

Make mobility your goal.

Talent mobility has many benefits. Firstly, it enables your employees to move around your organization to a different role or department that encourages them to stay, which satisfies a likely retention goal. It also means the employee's productivity 'ramp' time should be less steep than an external candidate, and you'll likely already know if they are a good fit for the business's brand, mission, and values. You'll also probably see them have a high employee engagement rate and loyalty to the brand by enabling such a move. And, not to mention savings on recruitment. Finally, employees that move roles internally can also serve as a powerful example of progression and career development for others looking at their options and considering leaving the business. 

Solving visibility and access to internal roles. 

Most employees will self-direct to an internal opportunity if they can see it. That last part is crucial. Our research polled employees and HR leaders and revealed that, on average, 58% of employees expect there to be potential to move within their current organization - especially Gen Z (75%) and younger millennials (69%). And it is just as common for exiting employees to cite they were unaware of roles in their employer, hence looking externally.

The reality is that your employees are being approached by external recruiters directly, all the time. If they aren't happy in their current job, they will look at one of these approaches seriously one day soon. 

It really should be easier for an individual to change course in their current organization, but for many, it is not. There can be a variety of reasons for this. Let's discuss some of the common ones. 

Firstly, the actual visibility of roles can be an issue. An employee can view it negatively if they have to discover roles in the same way an external candidate would (i.e., through a job board or LinkedIn), but this is often the case. Make internal mobility an accepted and encouraged focus and have your internal recruiters share roles internally before external posting. 

Secondly, sometimes as a manager, you have to accept that an employee's next best step is outside your team. But it's also far better for them to stay in the same organization than go to a rival. So take a big picture view about this and encourage development internally. 

Doing this creates a positive culture around mobility that people will lean into as they see examples of this being more commonplace. 

Getting managers more comfortable with hiring within.

Part of the challenge with hiring from within is truly understanding what is required to do the job. Now assuming a skill or technical training isn't an issue, does the person recruiting or interviewing know what to look for from an internal candidate? 

Existing employees may not have a resume that automatically ticks the box, but they could have adjacent experience and soft skills that mean they are well-positioned to take the role. It is critical to know how someone has done something and how they approach situations versus simply having a suitable job title. Taking the time to understand this creates a positive culture for enabling more internal candidates.

Another common challenge with internal hiring is that unless the communication is ongoing about an employee's desires, it can be a reactive issue for the team the candidate is leaving. If you can facilitate open dialogue about employees' wishes for development, you can factor in an internal move and proactively have a backfill organized for their exit. 

Once the rest of the organization sees that internal hires can be successful, other hiring managers will be more comfortable with the approach, and it will likely become more accepted and more commonplace.

Coaching for internal mobility.

At Randstad Risesmart, we believe you need to look beyond titles; instead, look at what people are capable of. Internal mobility paired with democratized coaching unleashes your organization's employees. It allows them to design the worklife they desire and develop their skills and expertise differently within the business. 

We're seeing forward-thinking businesses using coaching with certified external coaches to uncover the hidden talents in their organizations and understand all employees' hopes and wants.

Coaching with an external coach creates a safe space for open and honest discussions, which can help you fuel a unique opportunity to find talent hidden within an organization that perhaps lies in the wrong role to shine. In addition, you're also giving employees a voice and a chance to have control over their development. Using a coach can help them understand their needs and wants, position themselves for a change, build new skills and improve competencies that enhance their underlying capabilities for a different role.

Understanding what your employees desire in terms of development and exploring these possibilities not only supports a culture of internal mobility, it increases the likelihood of their happiness at work, better engagement, and boosts retention.

lindsay witcher.

senior vice president of sales and customer success

07 June 2022
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