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Depending on which survey you read, somewhere between 26% and 40% of workers want to change jobs this year. Those figures have certainly served as a wakeup call to executives and Human Resources teams who may be faced with a mass employee exodus, which is being dubbed as the Great Resignation.

While a desire for ongoing flexibility is one of the primary reasons that employees are looking for new opportunities, it is certainly not the only one. A survey from Prudential Financial found that of those individuals who are interested in leaving their current positions:

  • 80% are worried about career advancement
  • 72% reported that the pandemic caused them to rethink their skillsets

As companies seek to mitigate turnover, Learning & Development can play a powerful role in addressing these fears by prioritizing internal mobility.

Why Is Internal Mobility So Important?

Internal mobility benefits both organizations and individuals. It allows companies to retain great team members and limit the direct and indirect costs associated with turnover. It also gives staff a chance to learn new skills and grow their careers in meaningful ways.

The most traditional form of mobility comes from vertical moves where employees advance up the corporate ladder or take on new responsibilities to further their careers in a particular field. You can also engage staff, particularly those who are rethinking their skillsets, by offering horizontal mobility between job functions.

In the past, some companies have struggled with lateral mobility because leaders often do not want their team members to be recruited by other groups. From the broader perspective of the organization, it is better to move high-performing or high-potential employees to new roles than lose them entirely. Moreover, as job responsibilities continue to evolve and automation displaces certain positions, employers are finding that it is less expensive to retrain staff than hire team members as they expand internal functions.

By creating Learning & Development initiatives that help individuals advance or change their career paths within your organization, you are more likely to hold onto valued team members while also positively impacting your bottom line. If internal mobility is a priority for your company, I recommend that you consider the following.

5 Ways Learning & Development Teams Can Champion Internal Mobility

1. Conduct a skills audit.

Take time to evaluate the existing talent in your organization. Assess current job roles, the positions you expect to fill in the next 12 months and long-term functions you plan to add in-house. Next, determine the capabilities needed to successfully fulfill these roles. Using employee surveys, interviews and performance evaluations, you can identify skills gaps to close, underutilized capacities and staff members who may be well-suited to take on other responsibilities.

2. Establish upskilling and reskilling programs.

With an understanding of the talents needed in your organization, you can identify initiatives to help team members develop the capabilities to advance in their careers or make a leap to a different position. Determine what supporting trainings you wish to lead in-house, where there are opportunities to outsource as well as free content that you can share to empower employees to take ownership of their own learning. Make sure to promote the programs you have available so that your staff sees options to continue moving their careers forward at your company.

Support retention with a reskilling strategy.

3. Co-create career paths.

Inspire your employees to build an engaging future at your organization by supporting them with career pathing. You may have some team members who will be interested in a traditional vertical career path, and you may have others who want to explore lateral moves. Partner with employees and their managers to help individuals recognize how they can grow within your company, what steps they will need to take to advance or adapt their careers, what learning opportunities you offer to support their journeys and which milestones will need to be met to achieve their goals.

4. Promote cross-functional collaboration.

Being part of a cross-functional team allows staff to partner with colleagues in different job roles and levels. The exposure can help individuals investigate other functions and gain new skills as they learn from others. It also allows leaders to get to know employees from across the company who may possess the talents their teams will need in the future. Learning & Development professionals can help build cross-functional teams based on the career paths and skills audits they have conducted. As you assemble your groups, I also recommend that you consider the Emergenetics® Profiles of the members when possible, so you can assemble cognitively diverse teams.

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5. Offer job shadowing or rotational programs.

Through virtual or in-person job shadowing, employees can learn more about the departments and functions within your organization as they consider alternative directions. Rotational programs can also be beneficial by allowing staff members to join other teams for a specified period of time or on a project basis. The rotations then give employees and managers an opportunity to assess if an individual may be well suited to that department.

By prioritizing internal mobility, Learning & Development leaders can create win-win strategies for their employees and their company. After all, when your staff members feel like they are learning new skills and have opportunities to continually grow – whether through lateral or vertical advancement – you can boost engagement, which supports employee retention and ultimately creates a more productive, positive workplace.

Learn more about how Emergenetics can help your organization create an engaged workforce. Explore our website or fill out the form below to speak with one of our team members today!

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