Inside Total Talent | New Year, new job: why Internal Mobility is key to retaining workers beyond the January blues

Louise Anderson

The start of a new year often prompts time for a change. This could be numerous things but for many employees, time to reflect over the holiday break means returning to their employers with fresh ambitions – and perhaps a bit of discontent. This rings especially true this year at the start of a new decade holding many workplace changes in the forms of greater automation, artificial intelligence, market volatility, political uncertainty, and widespread job shifts.

The time is ripe, therefore, for employers to prioritise their Internal Mobility models. Because, when your workers demand a new career challenge, you can either offer it to them internally or see them leave to work for the competition.

Time for change

There are more job searches in January than at any other time of the year. It’s the most popular month for workers to make a career move, many due to boredom in a current role or a lack of progression.

This is where Internal Mobility can really make a difference to your retention (and, ultimately, your bottom line). It costs anywhere from 33 to 150% of an employee’s salary to replace them. By moving your talent into different roles or work styles, you can retain valuable employees and provide them with fresh challenges that further grow their skills and provide value to your organisation.

Lateral job moves

Indeed, improving your Internal Mobility doesn’t always equate to promotion. Workers can be moved laterally into other departments and mobilised onto alternative projects. This approach works exceptionally well with workers who have interests in other business areas. Someone within marketing can complete a stretch assignment in customer success, for instance. An admin worker with a longstanding interest in coding can be seconded to the development team. 

By offering such opportunities, workers are incentivised to remain with your organisation. Plus, your organisation will benefit from their learning on the job. Having a diverse and adaptable workforce is critical to futureproofing for emerging technology and market changes.

Alternative work styles

Conversely, you can take Internal Mobility a step further by offering alternative work styles. Combining Internal mobility with a Total Talent approach will increase the opportunities that you can offer your workers, increasing the amount of experience and learning they can gain. 

It can also retain employees who may be considering more flexible work options to meet family or lifestyle commitments. Someone who needs to care for a family member can remain with your organisation on flexible working options. Another employee who wants to retire can be kept as part of the workforce for ad-hoc consulting and mentoring opportunities. 

Understanding all skills and goals

To achieve this level of mobility, you must first understand your workers and their skills. What are their career goals? What skills have they developed in their current role and externally?

This will allow you to use every worker to their full potential. Keeping them utilised, motivated, learning and engaged with your organisation. Continuously tracking their career aspirations and skills will help you adapt their career journey as those goals and abilities change. Ensuring every worker feels constantly challenged and fulfilled by their work. 

Having this understanding and visibility of skills will inform all Internal Mobility and Total Talent efforts, plus your L&D programme and workforce planning. 

A continuous cycle

This is a continuous cycle. Once someone is moved into a new role, they can work on improving or learning certain skills to reach the next stage in their career journey. They can then be moved again once their skill requirements are met. Of course, this process can be seamless when using a Total Talent platform that helps workers update and track their skills, experience and opportunities. Creating a single source of truth for all Total Talent and Internal Mobility efforts. 

Vital for the future

Make no mistake, Internal Mobility coupled with Total Talent will become all-the-more vital as the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace. All organisations will soon notice the need for an accurate record of all previous skills and experience, facilitating relevant job transitions and opportunities. therefore enabling organisations to retain top skills in a highly competitive market.

It’s a new decade. Time for a new approach to talent.

To learn more about Internal Mobility from a Total Talent perspective, plus how to practically achieve this, download our whitepaper now.


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