Reejig's Work Ontology™ Awarded 2023 Top HR Tech Product of the Year Read more

Building a Talent Mobility Strategy for the Modern Workforce

What is the Importance of Talent Mobility?

Organizations with a talent mobility strategy do more than just create transitional roles and cross-functional opportunities for their employees, these organizations also have a vision where individuals can see themselves continuing to grow with the company, and the company responds by growing with them. So what does a true talent mobility strategy look like in a modern workplace and why is it so important?

Modern Talent Mobility

A forward-thinking talent mobility strategy is one where the talents, skills, and knowledge of the current employee pool are deeply considered and become a part of the strategic vision for the company. Second, this vision is not kept from employees, who understand that the organization respects their need for growth and wants to facilitate growth within the organization. In sum, a talent mobility strategy respects the talent of the organization’s employees and wants to ensure their talents remain within the company, and that often includes moving around and far-reaching growth opportunities. 

Talent Mobility for Retention

A talent mobility strategy is more important than ever for today’s employers as well as talented employees. This is largely because employees have moved away from seeing themselves as attached to one employer for their whole career, and are willing to leave their current positions in search of new work if their organization is not meeting their needs. In fact, 40% of employees who left their jobs in 2022 did so because they wanted new opportunities and felt their current employer lacked career advancement opportunities. 

Therefore, strategic talent mobility acts not just as a way to satisfy existing talent, but also as a talent retention strategy, especially in light of market competition and a “employee market” where top-tier employees know that there are numerous jobs available for them. This way, employees can stay within the organization, pursue new challenges and sources of growth, keep their relationship with their employer, and continue to reach their career goals while still bolstering the success of the organization. 

Now, all of this sounds like a win-win for both employers and their people, but the actual planning is where many organizations have difficulty. While the benefits of retaining and moving current employees around within the company seems logical, what does this process look like in practice, and how can employees be informed?

Creating Talent Mobility Opportunities

The first step in creating a true modern talent mobility strategy is creating a system where the talents and knowledge, as well as interests and passions, of employees within the organization can be easily utilized by leadership. For many workplaces, this means quite a heavy lift. While there may be a central digital repository with all staff CV’s, these are often out of date and not reflective of the full expanse of skills that employees may have. Additionally, employee interests change, and it’s reasonable to expect that ambitious employees have increased their education, certifications, and know-how through their tenure at the company. In order to fully harness these changes, employers need to know which skills are within the company, how employees are growing, and what their interests are long-term. Doing so requires access to live and dynamic skills ontology of your organization as well as a two-way communication feed between your employees and the business.

Additionally, actually practicing talent mobility requires a strong understanding of the skills and growth that is also needed for the future of the organization. A failure to match needs with interests is simply moving people around, but may be delaying or failing to move the organization forward. The perfect talent mobility culture, on the other hand, marries interests, passions, and skills with needed areas of growth and forward-looking perspective on the company long-term.

One way leadership can merge the interests of the organization with the knowledge and interests of their people is through a meeting of the minds that considers strategic directions that make the most of skills that employees already have, and the passions they hope to explore moving forward. For example, if several software engineers and data scientists express interest in training in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the organization can lean on those interests and create strategies that utilize those skills for market advantage.

Group 9499 (3)See how Reejig can help you proactively source internal talent for open opportunities

Learn more

Horizontal and Vertical Talent Mobility

In terms of the actual movements of employees within the organization, leadership has several options to consider. Individuals who are looking to make a near complete career change and wish to do so internally may make what is referred to as a lateral or horizontal move across the organization. Role-changes like this may occur if an employee is working in customer support but recently attained education in analytics, and is hoping to start in a junior position on the insights team.

Horizontal Talent Mobility

When organizations support horizontal movement they show that the organization is adaptable and that strong work ethic and culture fit are important. By retaining these employees they also retain their social relationships, their know-how of the organization, and prevent an overly long onboarding process, since the individual is familiar with the company’s “lay of the land.” All of this means they can help the employee grow and also mitigate the amount of time that person needs to start contributing meaningfully in their new role. 

Vertical Talent Mobility

Equally important, organizations must also consider vertical mobility, or the movement of employees into more senior leadership positions. Unlike traditional organizational structures where there was a linear path to the top position of a department, modern organizations are embracing a more flexible approach to vertical mobility. This means identifying employees with leadership potential and proactively training them for roles throughout the company, even if it is not the role directly above them in their department. 

For example, product managers may be identified as potential future customer support leaders, or other senior positions that utilize their skills but in a new way. Think of it this way: product managers can bring their deep understanding of product and help to inform and lead customer support through their specific knowledge and provide accurate and detailed information to individuals interacting with customers, thus improving customer satisfaction and external relationships. 

Vertical movement is a particularly important aspect of an organization’s talent mobility strategy because of the employee population the priority is most likely to benefit. Employees with leadership potential tend to be intellectually curious, emotionally mature, and high-achieving, and thus crave stimulation in their careers. These are exactly the type of individuals who are interested in new challenges or are willing to leave the organization if they feel they cannot continue to grow where they are. By retaining these employees you can increase their levels of engagement and commitment to the organization and provide them with paths to learn new skills. 

However your organization decides to implement a talent mobility strategy it’s imperative to consider the long-term positive outcomes. Specifically, leadership should consider how to retain high-value employees, allow for internal growth opportunities (whether vertical or horizontal), as well as keep people that bring about a positive culture and display good fit. To help you do this, your organization may consider vendors that help to digitize and streamline talent mobility processes, and even incorporate artificial intelligence to identify potential opportunities within your current employee population. In doing so, decision-makers can help create a transparent relationship with their workforce where individuals feel confident they can fully explore internal opportunities before looking elsewhere.

Group 9499 (3)See how Reejig can supercharge your internal mobility goals 

Learn more


Group 4253