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How talent mobility will benefit your business in a skill short market

by wrich

By:  Kirstin Schulz Head of Consulting, EMEA at AMS

The sharp, unexpected rise in demand for talent has caught many organisations unprepared. And they are having to fight a battle on two fronts: Filling new ‘growth-related’ roles, as well as backfilling vacancies created by the infamous Great Resignation,meaningTalent functions are once again having to fundamentally re-think the way they operate. 

As employees re-consider and re-evaluate their working lives as a by-product of the pandemic, organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to balance the needs of their employees with the shifting demands of the business for different, new or enhanced skills.  From investing into better, optimized external sourcing capability, making improvements to the tech stack, or engaging in significant (re-) branding initiatives to appeal to those sought-after skills – the list of actions is long.  And whilst research from LinkedIn suggests thatinternal appointments have increased by 20% since the onset of the pandemic, in late 2021, only 32% of global HR professionals say that there is considerable mobility within their organization.1

Yet the view from the top would suggest that organisations need to make this a key 2022 priority: According to a recent Deloitte survey (2),72% of executives think that the ability of their people to adapt, reskill and assume new roles is the second most important factor to navigate future disruptions, yet only 17% believed their employees are ready for it.  

So why this gap?

The benefits of internal mobility are well researched and documented. Amongst these benefits, current employees already have valuable culture and institutional knowledge, can be up to x6 cheaper to recruit, are up to x3 less likely to leave, and typically have a higher speed-to-competency(3)

That said, going after external talent – and harnessing the opennessof many employees to move jobs – whilst re-vamping your approach to talent mobility seems a difficult balance to strike, and requires organisations to re-imagine mobility on a number of levels:

  • What do we want to achieve from a mobility programme? Increate retention? ‘Build’ critical skills? Feed succession plans?
  • How is our tech ecosystem set up to support the strategic objectives and operational processes? Do we have tools to identify people to move into roles or staff temporary projects, especially if they don’t actively ‘apply’?
  • How are responsibilities and remits between talent management, line management, HR and talent acquisition designed? Who owns what element of talent mobility?
  • Are our internal ‘policies’ still relevant and do they strike the right balance between ‘formal processes’ while allowing space for agile, unbureaucratic movement of talent, given how quickly roles or projects change?
  • Do we have the right data and insights that help us understand how careers evolve in our businesses, for example, are true cross-functional moves the norm or the exception?
  • How well are the business, talent acquisition, talent management, and learning & development aligned on not only the strategic view of the critical skills & capabilities the organisation needs, but also on the exact skills that are needed to support Individual A move into Role B? And how these skills gaps are best closed?
  • Is our organisation culturally ready to ‘re-define careers’ and the multitude of twists and turns they can take within a working life? Does this require a mindset shift on ‘what makes create talent’?
  • Are we rewarding our line managers to be ‘talent hoarders’ rather than facilitate moves?
  • How do we create equity in our talent mobility?

The many pandemic-related success stories of organisations who have been able to redeploy talent at speed have highlighted this imperative. Those firms that embrace a similar proactive strategy and make this a sustainable model for the future, will bypass their competition in what is an increasingly tough hiring landscape. 


1 – HR.ResearchInsititute, The State of Internal Mobility, Succession, and Career Development 2021-22

2 – Deloitte Global Mobility Trends, 2021

3 – I have taken this from various sources inclLinkedIn, Gartner, University of Pennsylvania; need to dig out which ones from which source exactly

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