Organizations across industries have faced unimaginable challenges over the past year, with many making the difficult decision to implement furloughs, layoffs or reductions in force due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the labor market is showing gradual signs of recovery and hiring is expected to pick back up throughout 2021.
As business needs shift, many companies take a traditional approach to hiring that includes adding new roles and filling these roles with external talent. If this is the case with your organization, you might be overlooking your top source of talent – your current employees. By embracing internal talent mobility and moving your current employees to new roles, projects and gigs – rather than turning to outside hires – you can drive business agility and support employees’ long-term career growth, among other benefits. Below, we’ve outlined several ways your organization can benefit from making talent mobility a priority.
reduce recruitment time and costs as the labor market recovers
While the US unemployment rate peaked at 14.8% in April 2020, it has since decreased to 6% according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Additionally, US employers added 916,000 jobs in March 2021, far exceeding projections. On a global scale, the International Labour Organization predicts a significant rebound in economic activity and labor markets in the second half of 2021, as vaccines become more widely available and pandemic-related restrictions lift.
As hiring picks back up, so will competition for qualified job seekers. Instead of competing with other employers for outside talent, you can save time and reduce costs by making new open roles available to your current employees. According to data from Josh Bersin, it can cost up to six times as much to hire externally rather than build talent from within an organization. Between expenses related to job advertisements, background checks, assessments, onboarding and training, new hire costs can add up quickly.
By hiring from within, your organization can avoid many new hire-related costs and reduce the time that would have otherwise been spent reviewing countless resumes and scheduling several rounds of interviews. If an employee has shown success in one role at your organization, they’ll already understand your culture and company vision, which will help make the transition to a new role smoother. While there might be a learning curve as they adapt their skills – or learn new ones – to meet the requirements of a new role or project, the overall time and costs spent on training will likely be much lower than what it takes to get a new hire up to speed.
boost employee engagement and retention
As the economy recovers, not only are organizations increasing their hiring efforts, but employees are more open to seeking new career opportunities. According to study released in February by LinkedIn, 74% of employees surveyed indicated they have simply been ‘sheltering in job’ during the pandemic, meaning staying with their current employers to maintain a steady paycheck or waiting until there’s a more favorable job market. However, more recent data has found that many employees are eager to make career moves.
According to the latest Randstad Workmonitor research, 54% of employees globally are confident more job opportunities will be available later this year. Additionally, a new survey from Prudential Financial found that about one in four American workers (26%) plan to look for job with a new employer once the threat of the pandemic has decreased. The same survey found that 25% of workers who are planning to look for new jobs rank ‘mobility opportunities’ as a top factor that would encourage them to stay with their current employer.
Top employees at any organization have a growth mindset and understand the importance of continuously developing their skills and taking on new responsibilities as the world of work evolves. If these employees notice their careers are growing stagnant, they likely won’t hesitate to look for job opportunities elsewhere. In fact, according to the Prudential Financial survey referenced above, 80% of employees that plan to look for new jobs indicate that they feel ‘concerned about their career growth’ with their current employer. Conversely, data from a 2020 LinkedIn study shows that employees who were promoted within three years of being hired have a 70 percent chance of staying with their company, and those who made a lateral move have a 62 percent chance of staying. Those who were not promoted and who did not change jobs internally have only a 45 percent chance of remaining, based on this data. Additionally, data from our RiseSmart career development program found that employees who participate in career development opportunities are 74% more likely to stay at their current company for the next two years.
support diversity, equity and inclusion
Focusing on diversity and inclusion is a top priority that companies plan to address in 2021 and the coming years. According to a CEO survey from Fortune and Deloitte, 96% of CEOs agree diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a strategic priority and focus for them in 2021. Additionally, 90% of CEOs indicated they will support DEI efforts through investment in talent recruitment, development, advancement and retention over the next 12 months.
The past year brought to light many of the challenges that organizations face with DEI, one of which is women’s equity in the workplace. Due to the pandemic’s impact, the World Economic Forum predicts that the time it will take to close the global gender gap has been pushed back by a generation – increasing from 99.5 to 136.6 years. Women’s labor force participation has dropped to the lowest level since 1988, due to a combination of women being disproportionately impacted by layoffs and voluntarily leaving the workforce to focus on family and personal obligations. Additionally, women of color have been among the hardest hit by pandemic-related layoffs and drops in labor force participation and are experiencing slower signs of recovery.
related content: women in the workplace: how managers and leaders can encourage retention and career growth.
When women exit the workforce, either due to job loss or voluntarily, they have limited opportunities to continue developing their careers and face the risk of their skills becoming outdated. When the time comes to return to the workforce, these women will be even further behind from a skills and career growth standpoint. To encourage continued female labor force participation, many organizations are embracing talent mobility to offer flexible scheduling or the opportunity to take on longer term projects and stretch assignments – which enable these employees to build their skill sets and remain relevant in the workforce.
While addressing diversity and inclusion is complex, a small yet impactful step you can take is to provide all employees with equal opportunities to adapt their skills and grow in their careers – whether by taking on entirely new roles, joining project teams or completing formal reskilling and upskilling coursework. By offering talent mobility opportunities across the organization, companies can support employees’ long-term career goals, drive inclusivity and help address inequality in the workplace. Doing so also empowers all employees – and your broader organization – to solve problems in new ways and enables individuals to build relationships and gain visibility across the organization.
future-proof your workforce
According to the 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report, 76% of C-suite executives rated internal talent mobility as important, with 20% ranking it as one of their organization’s three most urgent issues. Over the past year, talent mobility has only become more critical due to the widespread disruption wrought by the global pandemic.
Organizations with an intentional approach to talent mobility are better positioned to weather the storm of unexpected business changes. Effective talent mobility helps businesses uncover untapped skills across their workforce and establish a robust pipeline of skilled employees. Employees are encouraged to take on responsibilities outside their traditional job descriptions, helping them adapt their focus based on business needs and driving workforce agility as a result.