Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire
Transform Your Approach To Internal Mobility

4 Tips That Will Transform Your Approach to Internal Mobility

Talent acquisition is costly, especially when you make bad hires. Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, has spoken out on the negative impact bad hires make. He mentioned they cost his company “well over $100 million” over the course of its existence.

How can you avoid making costly talent acquisition mistakes? Look internally.

Futurestep’s November 2015 survey found that 87 percent of the 1,189 executives surveyed said that having a strong internal mobility program would help with attraction and retention efforts. Internal mobility programs are perfect for encouraging employees to apply for new roles within their organization.

This helps because employees want opportunities to learn and grow with you. When you don’t offer this, employees start looking for greener pastures.

A 2015 LinkedIn report found that 45 percent of the 10,536 people surveyed who changed companies between late 2014 and early 2015 say they left because they were concerned about a lack of advancement opportunities. Fifty-nine percent say they started a new job for a stronger career path and more opportunity.

Start an internal mobility strategy that is efficient and effective. This helps retain your top talent and improve your talent acquisition process. We spoke to a couple of hiring experts to get their insights on internal mobility.

Here are four simple tips to help you improve your internal mobility strategy:

1. Start at the Beginning

New hires will be enthusiastic and excited to grow with you, which is why it’s important to give them a chance to learn about your company from the start. Bring them on in an entry-level role, where they can learn the ins and outs of the business. Use this as an opportunity to assess cultural fit and company alignment and try to determine what path would best suit them.

“Many people come to us looking for a start in a good company,” said Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, a leading provider of online document filing services for clients who wish to form a corporation or limited liability company.

“We start them in a ‘beginner’ customer service role, where they can learn the ropes in a business that can be complicated,” she said. “We want team players and self-starters who fit. Once we find them, we work with our team members to identify roles for growth.”

2. Prepare to Be Surprised

Stay open minded and let your new hires surprise you. They may succeed in areas you didn’t think they would. As Sweeney points out, communication is vital to a successful internal mobility strategy.

“We often have a sense of who the employees are when they start, but it definitely evolves over team, as do our team members.” she said.  “Some have held multiple roles; some are fit for one particular role, and they never want to move.  We listen and we provide feedback. We inquire and we encourage.

“I think that this is what makes the difference. We are engaged in their development within the company and the employees feel that. I would say that one of the best pieces of advice for improving internal mobility is to engage and discuss the opportunities with employees and get their feedback. For internal mobility to be successful, both the company and the employee have to be on the same page.”

3. Stay Objective

Your talent acquisition process should never involve hiring from the gut. You want to make informed decisions about who you are hiring and why they’re qualified.

Rex Conner is the co-founder and lead partner of Mager Consortium, an institution offering human performance improvement services. He emphasizes the importance of staying objective in hiring, even in your internal mobility strategy.

“Identify the prerequisite skills required to learn and to perform the job,” he said. “These are not all of the skills that the job requires if you are going to train the person. Prerequisite skills are those needed before they receive training, or before performing on the job if the skills will not be trained.”

You are able to make more informed decisions when you set criteria. “The problem with internal mobility programs today is that too much of the decision is subjective and not enough of the decision is objective,” he said. “If the decision is based on the person having the prerequisite skills, we get the right person in the position.”

When your internal talent has these skills, they are likely a strong fit for the role.

4. Consider Morale

Consider how your staff will feel when your talent acquisition process brings in external hires. You don’t want to hurt morale and cause conflict in the office by making external hires who don’t fit in with your culture.

“I would rather work with employees from within because it boosts morale and gives internal, committed team members an opportunity,” Sweeney said.

You make your team happier when you give them more opportunity. The 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 47 percent of employees say career advancement opportunities within the organization are very important to their satisfaction.

“When you hire from outside, you never know,” she said. “We’ve had some great hires who have evolved and grown within the company. Similarly, we have hired externally for some management roles and it has been a non-fit – and the team in our office was upset by it. So, we try to incentivize great performance with the opportunity for growth.”

How are you improving your internal mobility strategy?

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.