concept for talent mobility
ATD Blog

Training for Internal Mobility

Monday, December 12, 2022

Talent acquisition is critical for any organization. A company purchases talent from its employees the same way it purchases any other input from its suppliers. Recognizing that relationship and partnering with employees as partners is crucial.

Internal mobility strategies are one way of engaging with employees to develop talent and fill roles quickly. Developing an internal mobility strategy, however, requires visibility and an agile training strategy that many businesses lack.

Downsides of the Labor Market

The labor market has recently been uncomfortably hot. For years, there have been shortages of workers in industries like transportation and healthcare. The postpandemic recovery pushed an already-strained labor market to its limit. Fundamentally, there’s a disconnect between the demand for and supply of talent.

Additionally, universities aren’t producing enough technically skilled graduates needed to meet corporate demand. That factor alone means current shortages are likely to continue for years. Businesses will either adjust their talent management practices accordingly or continue competing in a scarce market.

Continuously bringing in new talent will always be important. But using existing talent efficiently can reduce the expense and difficulty of filling skilled roles.


Developing a Skills Inventory

Most employees have skills that can be applied outside of their current roles. They might have picked up these skills during their education, while working in a previous role within your organization, or from a previous job. These skills are an untapped resource that can be redeployed to meet internal talent needs. But first, your organization must know they exist.

Developing a skills inventory is crucial to creating internal mobility. By assessing employees’ capabilities, business leaders gain visibility into their full capacities, not just their current roles. Through a combination of self-reporting, assessments, and training and certification reviews, it’s possible to see a clear picture of the capacities your current workforce has.


Redeploying Talent Internally

Once visibility of available workforce skills is achieved, redeploying talent to best meet your organization’s needs is possible. It isn’t likely an existing employee will have the full skill set required to move into a new role, so reskilling and upskilling will be necessary.

By developing a highly modular and flexible training program capable of targeting individual skills, your organization can close skills gaps and prepare employees to be redeployed.

When flexible internal mobility is available within an organization, employees believe that they are valued assets the company is willing to invest in, and that can boost retention rates. It will also be easier to develop employees into well-rounded professionals over time, meaning that your company can reduce its dependence on the labor market for specific skill sets.

Internal mobility can be a key element of a business’s broader talent management strategy. In the difficult years of tight labor markets that lie ahead, it could be an important competitive advantage for companies willing to make the investment.

About the Author

Wendy Sly is a training technology sales consultant who works with leading enterprise training teams across North America to solve complex training operations problems. She currently consults with clients for Administrate, a training operations platform provider.

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