In the current talent marketplace, training and development are more than just perks. They are business necessities. Candidates can be more selective about the companies they work for, and easily move on to another company if their needs aren’t being met. In order to retain this next-generation workforce and remain competitive in any industry, HR leaders must focus on talent mobility as a part of their workplace planning and retention strategies.  Talent mobility is about organizations understanding how to optimize their organizations for growth, productivity and success, while keeping employees engaged in their future and current career.

In order to retain this next-generation workforce and remain competitive in any industry, HR leaders must focus on talent mobility as a part of their workplace planning and retention strategies. @jmillermerrell #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart

Rather than upward mobility, employees look for "internal mobility," which Bersin by Deloitte defines as a dynamic process for moving talent from role to role at every level, from top executives to operational staff. This take on performance management plays a key part in successful talent acquisition, employee retention, and overall business success.

What Are the Components of a Talent Mobility Program?

Talent mobility allows you to create a strong leadership pipeline while improving engagement and retention. According to a report by Global Human Capital Trends, 53% of younger workers want to take on leadership roles, but only 6% of organizations have strong leadership programs in place. Having a talent mobility program in place means you are able to see how employees perform in a variety of roles, and use data from learning and performance activities to identify leadership candidates. Engagement and retention are improved because employees have ongoing potential to achieve new goals and meet new challenges, create meaningful connections, and build new skills.

Having a talent mobility program in place means you are able to see how employees perform in a variety of roles, and use data from learning and performance activities to identify leadership candidates. @jmillermerrell #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart

Related content: How to Move Your Talent Development Strategy to the Fast Lane

Consider Farm Bureau Financial Services, where the talent process was once highly reactive; recruiters scrambled to find candidates when jobs came open. While a new approach was needed, the company’s talent acquisition team looked beyond merely setting up internal job boards to seek to foster a culture that encouraged employees to drive their career journeys through advancement opportunities. It pushed workers to reflect on their performance, image, and exposure throughout the organization with the goal of developing a professional brand to open internal doors of opportunity. The result has been a far richer talent pipeline of internal candidates. (Source: Six key insights to put talent acquisition at the center of business strategy and execution, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting, 2018).

Another example is Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, where employees are encouraged to be lifelong learners and build career paths anchored by exploration and growth. Managers work with employees to explore ways to build capabilities and new experiences, and they are required to be familiar with career resources the company offers so they can promote those programs to employees. Mayo Clinic’s turnover rate is well below similar-sized organizations in health care, and it’s common for employees with 30-year tenures to have held multiple jobs (Source: The career management framework, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting, 2016).

Four Key Talent Mobility Trends

When developing or making changes to your talent mobility programs, consider the following four key areas:


In order to establish an internal culture of mobility, companies should consider redeployment as a standard workforce management program. As a talent retention strategy, redeployment is a great way to keep your most skilled team members ready for new roles within an organization. When you enable valuable employees to discover new opportunities within your organization, you not only retain your company’s best talent, you reinforce a culture that your company doesn’t see its employees as a commodity to be acquired and let go at will.

Related content: 5 Reasons to Invest in Outplacement and Redeployment Solutions

In order to support your HR leadership efforts for redeployment, whether ongoing or during/after a reorganization, a vendor can be your best partner. For example, RiseSmart Redeployment facilitates the movement of talent from one role or business area to a different, suitable position within the organization. It combines advanced, proprietary job search and career management software with services from a dedicated team of experts in coaching, branding and job sourcing for every participant. When used on its own, or in conjunction with other RiseSmart career transition services, organizations can effectively manage their workforce during periods of transition surrounding restructuring, mergers and acquisitions or layoff.

Career Development and Career Pathing

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 apply. Adding career pathing/mapping to your HRIS can solidify your company’s talent mobility strategy by informing employees and putting in charge of their careers, encouraging them to look beyond their current role.

Related content: 5 Steps to Launching a Scalable Career Coaching Program

Offering development resources via HR technology via a learning management system or LMS means that your employees can uncover 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. It’s an excellent resource for mapping out your company growth strategy; 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 who want to be prepared to move into other areas, laterally or into a management role.


Outplacement is a key component of talent mobility. When workforce restructuring is inevitable, organizations concerned with doing the right thing for employees, protecting the employer brand, and ensuring future business success require an outplacement solution different from the outdated models offered by many providers today. For your company’s talent mobility strategy, having data and access to outplacement support can be a game-changer. Data like RiseSmart Insight’s allows HR leaders to gauge immediate insights from your impacted employee population, impacted employee landing rates, BLS data comparisons, and employee engagement metrics, all in real time.

Global Mobility

Global Mobility is an HR function that refers to a multinational company’s ability to move its workforce to offices in different countries. Companies with operations across a number of countries can benefit from encouraging employees to work in other geographies, as it allows your company to close skills gaps. Additionally, offering the option to experience new cultures as well as the chance to advance their careers through international experience can create loyalty and gives your employees a valuable opportunity to expand their experience and skill set.

Ensuring employees feel that they have a future within your organization is crucial for maximizing productivity and employee engagement. Providing these opportunities for employees to progress in their careers and to grow and enhance their knowledge, skills and experience is critical for job satisfaction, performance, recruiting and retention. And while economic growth is slowing, the economy is still growing. Talent retention and mobility are critical for organizations to continue to thrive in this economy no matter what type of economy. Great talent is the key for weathering economies whether bull, bear, or something in between.

25 April 2019

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