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Talent management
Talent Mobility

Everything you need to know about talent mobility

Talent management
Talent Mobility

In the era of great resignation, employee retention should be the highest priority. Not only is it cheaper and less time-consuming to retain employees but they also possess valuable insider knowledge that external talent will need time to gain. To ensure employees do not go seeking opportunities elsewhere by investing in talent mobility.

This article will cover the following:

  • What is talent mobility?
  • Examples of talent mobility
  • Talent mobility benefits
  • How to leverage digital skills management software to increase talent mobility?

What is talent mobility?

Talent mobility refers to the employee’s progression within a company to open positions where they can be most successful. The progression path is either lateral or upward; lateral refers to internal mobility within the same job level, and upward mobility refers to progression into leadership roles.

The main aim of talent mobility is to ensure employees progress into the right roles, gaining new skills and improving existing through new responsibilities. It is about creating career paths where the right talent can progress into better-suited positions at the right time, meeting strategic business needs and delivering successful business outcomes.


A successful talent mobility strategy will retain talent within the company by aligning the employee’s skills, motivations, and interests with the broader company needs. If done well, it helps retain top talent, reduce hiring costs and gain a competitive advantage (we will explore in depth the benefits of internal talent mobility below).

If your company is big enough, operating within different countries and continents, you can explore the idea of global talent mobility. Global talent mobility is where employers create opportunities for employees to not only progress but also seamlessly move from one country to another.

Examples of talent mobility

So your company invested in talent acquisition, and recruited, onboarded, and trained new hires. On average, you have spent $4,100 per new hire before they can start earning you money. It does not matter if you are a big or small company; $4,100 is a significant investment that you surely want to see a return.

One of the easiest ways is creating a talent mobility strategy, clearly defining how employees can progress within your organization.

Upward talent mobility example

Upward talent mobility is probably the more traditional progression route. Here the career pathing takes the employee on an upward trajectory. Imagine recruiting a recent graduate for a junior tester role. Once they gain relevant experience, they will seek new challenges. In upward talent mobility, the junior tester can progress into a senior tester role, QA Analyst, or test manager. In the upward trajectory, it is important to remember that employees’ career pathing should be aligned with the broader strategic business plan.

Lateral talent mobility example

Lateral talent mobility is only now becoming a popular career pathing route. Here employers are moving talent across different departments to support cross-functional projects. In this example, you have an employee with the key skills to excel in their role, but, the employee has clearly stated they do not wish to become a manager. Instead of moving upwards, as an employer, you create a career pathing route enabling them to apply these skills in a different role or project, usually within the same job level.

Think of a sales representative seeking new challenges who does not want to progress into a managerial role. Instead, the sales representative can move into marketing. However, they should only be allowed to do so once the employee demonstrates they possess transferable skills.

5 benefits of introducing a talent mobility program

Increasing talent mobility might seem like a lot of work, but trust us when we tell you that introducing a talent management strategy within your company will be worth it. If you do not believe us, here are the 5 key benefits:

Turnover cost reduction (retention)

According to the Work Institute, for the last 10 years, career development was the number 1 motive for employees’ resignation. The data speaks for itself, one out of every five employees who resigned and accepted a new role with a different company noted career development as a concern.

But career aspirations are not the only driving force behind the mass resignation; financial incentives also play a part. The average annual pay raise for employees who stays with one company is about 3 percent. But when an employee accepts a new job offer, it often comes with a salary bump of 10 to 20 percent. Throughout a career, it adds up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars lost.

A talent mobility program that clearly outlines career paths can help companies address the above. By hiring from within, you are reducing the overall recruitment costs, freeing up HR professionals to focus on what matters, and improving the workplace.

Furthermore, when employees quit, especially your best talent, the employees who understand the company and its processes, you are losing valuable knowledge that takes time to learn. It is not often new hires can deliver results from the get-go, on average a new hire needs at least 3 months to be fully onboarded.

What we are saying here is, as an employer, you invest a lot of money into hiring a new employee and it takes at least 3 months before they start earning you money. Therefore, it should be your priority to retain employees for as long as possible.


Shorter time to hire (internal vs. external)

Recruitment processes are time-consuming, especially when focusing on hiring external candidates. You must:

  • Advertise the position
  • Consider all applications
  • Schedule at least a two-stage interview. Some companies, like in the IT industry, add skills assessment to the mix.

Depending on the number of applicants, demand for the position, location, and skills required, it can take around one to three months to hire externally. Do not forget that once hired, the new employee will need further 3 months to onboard, meaning half a year will pass before they can start bringing in money.

Internal recruitment processes, on the other hand, are much quicker and cheaper. On average, internal recruiting can take two to three weeks as you already know the employee and how they perform their role. In addition, as the employee already possesses inside knowledge and experience, the onboarding time is also minimized. According to Deloitte, it can take up to two years for a new hire to reach the level of an internal hire.

It is worth mentioning that relying on internal talent pipelines can limit the talent pool, and you may miss out on highly qualified external candidates.

However, by prioritizing hiring from within the company, you are keeping employees with valuable knowledge and skills, and it’s for this reason internal hires routinely outperform external hires.

Better project-people fit

Interviews help hr professionals get to know the interviewees, who they are, and what skills they possess. However, you can never get to know someone until you see their work. Thus, you may think an external candidate is a great fit, but once they join, it may become apparent that they do not fit, or cannot fully understand what is needed of them, especially when assigned to individual projects.

But you know your existing employees. You know their skills, strong suits, and weaknesses. Not to mention current employees understand the company, its goals, and its mission. They have a clear understanding of projects and what said projects need to achieve.

So it is easier to identify which existing employees will be best suited for specific cross-functional projects, guaranteeing the project’s success.

You can use TalentBoost to quickly and effectively map out employees’ skills, interests, interests, and experiences along with the jobs, tasks, and projects your organization needs to perform.

Employee development

Introducing a talent mobility strategy with visible career paths will help existing employees understand progression routes. Employees can choose what career path they wish to pursue within the company, understand the skills and knowledge required, and work towards reaching those goals.

As an employer, you can support their journey through learning and development programs, showing employees you are as invested in their development as they are. Remember, investing in your employee’s development will help boost employee engagement, and as a result, help you future-proof your business.

Employees value professional development, so by investing in it, as an employer, you can guarantee their loyalty. According to the latest research, 45% of surveyed employees agreed that they were more likely to stay with their current employer if offered more training and development opportunities.

More flexibility

Encouraging employees to dynamically develop within a company gives them and the company more flexibility.

As employees understand the company and how the organization works, allowing them to move from project to project, they are making the most of this knowledge, driving innovation and creating growth.

By addressing the skill gaps within your organization by hiring from within, which as previously mentioned is a much quicker process you are freeing up HR managers to focus their recruitment efforts on finding more specialized talent and difficult-to-fill positions.


How to leverage digital skills management software to increase talent mobility?

A recent study on talent mobility found 67% of HR managers and leaders to agree that a talent mobility program has a positive impact on their company. Not only does it give employees a clear understanding of how they can progress within the company, but it also cuts recruitment costs and time.

But for talent mobility to be successful, you must first understand what skill set you to need your employees to possess, and the skills gaps needed to be addressed. This is where digital skills management software like TalentBoost can help you.

TalentBoost can help identify skilled talent and employees’ key skills, mapping them to the tasks, roles, and projects needed to be completed to achieve business goals. By combining digital skills management software with an internal talent marketplace, companies optimize internal talent mobility and cultivate an environment that encourages employee growth.

Here are the 3 basic steps to follow for successful talent mobility:

  1. Identify, map and measure employees’ digital skills.
  2. Create an internal “job marketplace” where employees can view all of the new and existing opportunities.
  3. Regularly update your skills management data to ensure relevance and guarantee employee fit.

Concluding thoughts

If you want to establish yourself as a strategic business leader, stay ahead of the competition and retain top talent, introducing talent mobility is the answer. A successful talent mobility program begins with identifying your employees’ skills, mapping them against broader company needs, and addressing skills gaps. TalentBoost can help you empower your employees and utilize their experience to drive growth and future-proof your business.

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