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Are You Giving Current Employees Room to Move?


Wed Jul 19 2023

Are You Giving Current Employees Room to Move?

According to hiring platform provider HireVue, 50 percent of companies are placing a greater emphasis on internal mobility to address hiring challenges resulting from current events.

In Upskilling for Talent Mobility, Preethi Anand explains the advantages to organizations having internal mobility programs—that is, programs that allow employees to move across organizations, either horizontally or vertically, for growth opportunities—including to provide business continuity, as a career proposition, or to create future readiness. Internal mobility is a win for organizations and their talent.


After determining whether your organization currently has an intentional means for employees to move within the company and, if so, who is in charge of it, talent development leaders can take an active role in the existing program or create one. Anand suggests a four-step framework that includes prepare, design, implement, and sustain.

1. Prepare

As you prepare for creating your internal mobility program, two factors are important, notes Anand: roles and skills. “Studying roles will answer the question, ‘Who has to do a different job and how?’ But studying skills will answer the question, ‘What will it take to do a different job?’”

In terms of roles, the TD team should look at the roles that aspiring employees currently have and the roles they’re looking to move into. Study the core responsibilities and expectations of these roles, along with their importance to the business.

When analyzing the skills, consider the capabilities that are required for the aspirational roles, including complexity of those skills, as that will help you determine the length of time and effort it will take as part of the mobility program. Will new skills be required for the hoped-for roles due to digital transformation or changes in business strategy or vision?

2. Design

In terms of your program, what will success look like? What skills should you prioritize developing in employees? Those are two key questions for the design phase. “A strong upskilling program,” writes Anand, “will have three important elements: education, exposure, and experience.”


So, a most-effective program will consist not only of training in which, for example, employees learn core concepts and knowledge, but also networking and connection with experts, leaders, peers, and others and experiential components such as a simulation or role play.

A design component that Anand stresses is to ensure your program is inclusive, taking into account employees who might be new to the work world, come from a disadvantaged background, or have a disability. Provide resources that may be helpful to these (and other) employees, such as office hours, online resources, and flexibility for work-life balance.

3. Implement

An internal mobility program means change—for employees learning new skills and moving to new teams, managers supporting employees, recruitment teams, and others. Build a system to prepare stakeholders for that change. Anand highlights the ADKAR method as one way to do this: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. Stakeholders must be aware of the program, understand how it would benefit them, comprehend how to make the most of the program and be ready to act on it, and be motivated to keep going (nudges and small celebrations can help on this front). A strong communication plan is critical to your internal mobility program.

4. Sustain

The mobility program isn’t finished once implemented_;_ rather, TD professionals should revisit it to see what needs to be modified as the workplace changes. Maybe new skills need to be added. Perhaps new roles are more important due to an organizational shift. But once you create a framework, you have a blueprint for future programs.

Internal mobility programs, concludes Anand, “are tangible, have clear outcomes, and incorporate a direct value proposition for employees. Taking a collaborative and a structured approach will bring the L&D function closer to the business and talent strategy.”


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