HR Defined: What Is Internal Mobility?

What is internal mobility?

What is internal mobility? 

Internal mobility is the movement of employees within an organization, either by moving vertically in their current career path or moving laterally to a different role or function. Common opportunities for full-time, long-term internal mobility include promotions, intradepartmental or interdepartmental transfers, and net-new roles.  

Mobilizing talent can also happen on a short-term basis, such as job swaps to develop skills in other roles. Another possibility is internal mobility on a partial basis, like supplementing an employee’s current responsibilities with a temporary project to grow their skills in different areas. 

Why is internal mobility so popular now? 

With ongoing effects of The Great Resignation and economic factors, organizations around the world are looking at an internal mobility strategy to cut costs while keeping productivity up. As such, many companies are shifting resources to talent management instead of solely relying on sparse external talent. In fact, more than 7 out of 10 executives agree that enabling employees to reskill and assume new roles is the path to navigating workforce disruptions, according to Deloitte.   

How does my organization benefit from internal mobility? 

One reason internal mobility is a top focus these days is because reskilling and upskilling employees has many benefits, including: 

Internal mobility improves retention. The “train to retain” approach to talent management aligns well with talent acquisition efforts. With fierce competition for external talent, you can develop existing talent to fill open roles instead. According to a study of 30 million LinkedIn users as seen in the line graph below, mobilizing talent has a profound impact on retaining talent, especially over time. 

Line chart showing average employee attrition decreases as employee tenure increases
Source: SHRM

Internal mobility streamlines hiring time and effort. These days, organizations doing more with less is a mandate, not a nice-to-have. Hiring from within via learning and development helps reduce recruiter workload, including screening, scheduling, reference checking, and other time-intensive efforts that are more pronounced when hiring externally. 

Internal mobility cuts hiring costs. Plus, adopting a build talent mindset vs a buy talent mindset impacts bottom line profitability. One study identifies a 20% cost savings. Providing growth opportunities for employees also improves morale and engagement, thereby further reducing attrition that otherwise requires additional hiring spend and effort. 

How can I take the next step with internal mobility? 

Like you, many HR leaders are exploring how to develop or expand their organization’s internal mobility capabilities. For instance, one popular solution for informing pre-hire decision support can also be used to enable better internal mobilization decisions post-hire: talent assessments.  

You can use objective and reliable assessments to predict a job seeker’s fit for any role, whether it’s a vertical or lateral move. Some solutions, like Harver’s behavioral and soft skills assessments, provide clear and actionable development reports that are easy-to-understand for both hiring managers and for internal candidates. 

Of course, if it’s worth doing, then it’s worth measuring. Download our free whitepaper Measuring the Effectiveness of Talent Assessments to learn how you can track performance.  

Keith Leong

Keith Leong

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