A refreshing approach to retaining your best employees and improving employee engagement
Companies are turning to 'internal mobility advisors' who simplify the talent pool process by guiding employees to discover better opportunities within their own organization. This enables employees to explore and transition into roles that align with their skills and aspirations, ultimately enhancing retention and maximizing talent potential.
Feature with HYER
In principle, internal mobility seems like an excellent concept. It enhances employee retention, lowers recruitment expenditures, and capitalizes on staff members already familiar with the company culture and operational procedures, thus allowing for a quicker adaptation to a new position.
However, it could be more effective if a majority of employees were aware of where to locate internal opportunities, or if recruitment managers knew how to identify potential leaders within their own firms. Here is where the internal mobility advisor comes into play. Such roles are increasingly found in corporations like Charles Schwab, Meta, and Morgan Stanley, serving as a bridge for employees seeking roles and managers seeking talent within the company.
Though not a novel concept, this role has been introduced and phased out in many large consulting firms and some IT organizations in the past, according to Lori Niles-Hofmann, a senior learning strategist based in Toronto. Yet, it seems to be gaining traction once again.
Internal mobility advisors, occasionally referred to as "coaches", can address persistent issues for companies. As per LinkedIn's Workplace Learning Report, 93% of firms are worried about employee retention, which can be significantly improved by internal mobility. Even though top-level executives count "providing employees opportunities for internal role transitions" as a top priority, merely 15% of employees affirm they've been motivated to shift to a new internal position.
Internal mobility advisors can play an instrumental role in bridging this gap
To better understand their role and impact, we interacted with an internal mobility advisor from Bank of America and one from BAE Systems. Bank of America advisors offer personalized support to assist employees in professional development. Sarah Holmgren, based in Los Angeles, dedicates considerable time in her role as a talent mobility advisor to aid employees in strategizing their career progression.
She is part of an internal mobility program team initiated by BofA in 2020. The program, which extends to all of the bank's 171,000 full- and part-time U.S. employees, has seen its team grow from four to 12 advisors, largely due to its popularity.
Employees are keen to collaborate with the team, which provides workshops and critically, a personalized approach. As per Sarah, many employees express surprise and delight at the one-on-one guidance offered. Employee needs range from advice on future career plans, widening their network and options, initiating a discussion with their managers, to a more old-school request of needing assistance with their resumes.
As an ex-recruiter, Sarah guides employees on how to bridge skills gaps, enhance their personal brand, and gain visibility. Her individual sessions typically last between 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the employee's needs. While some employees may only need one session, others could require up to seven or eight.
An integral part of the team's work is conducting virtual presentations on various career development topics, open to all employees. This has allowed the team to impact a considerable number of employees. BAE Systems, on the other hand, employs advisors to help fill executive positions. With 90,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems applies a different strategy. Clifford Alsop, the London-based internal talent mobility lead, and his team of three advisors act much like in-house recruiters, focusing on populating executive roles with competent staff.
The company created its internal mobility team in 2020, with a focus on retaining talent. Employees can create LinkedIn-esque profiles on the company's SAP Success Factors page, expressing their interest in being considered for internal opportunities. When a new role needs to be filled, Cliff and his team conduct proactive talent searches to match employees to the roles.
Cliff estimates that his team dedicates about 70% of its time on internal recruitment work, with the rest divided between nurturing talent pools and coaching employees on their career paths. Despite differing methods, both BofA and BAE Systems highlight the growing importance of internal mobility. Companies seek to optimize their leaner workforces, while employees continuously seek growth. This makes the role of an internal mobility advisor not just vital but also rewarding. Sarah finds joy in seeing employees succeed in securing new opportunities, stating that their wins indeed make her day.