Internal communication tools like Slack, Google drive, Sharepoint etc. did not remain mere tools for HR to disseminate information during the past year and a half. Companies saw some real collaboration happening around these virtual water coolers.
Notable among these was the exchange of Internal Talent when Project Managers were faced with increased demand. Reaching out to ask for skills and resources became easier – whereas earlier their message would have had to pass through organisational hierarchy, now it reached all employees in a flash. They were able to post talent requirements related to critical projects and employees from across departments who had matching skill sets could offer their services – thus forming entirely new short-term teams that collaborated and completed the project while meeting the deadline without needing to ask for more hands externally.
The case for Internal Career Mobility
Often overlooked, internal career mobility is a highly rewarding recruitment option. Here’s what Diane Gayeski, founder of Gayeski Analytics said, “Leveraging the internal labor market allows organizations to get the most out of the talent they already have, minimizing the impact of constrained hiring and potential layoffs…Using internal talent to fill skill gaps is both more cost-effective and speeds the time to productivity.”1
Advantages of Collaboration for Internal Talent
- Cost Effective
External hires are as much as 60 percent more costly than internal transfers. 2
The replacement cost for hiring external talent includes a mix of the following main heads:
- Anywhere from 20 to 100% hike over existing pay-packets
- Sourcing costs paid to third party recruiters
- HR department processing costs (for screening and assessing candidates)
- Billable hours spent by hiring managers interviewing candidates
- Travel and relocation expenses
- Signing bonuses especially when hiring for competitive role
- Orientation program expenses
- Training costs
2. Rapid access to the right skills
Given the time that a regular recruitment process for hiring external talent takes, it can be anywhere between 45 days to 3 months before the services of the new hire can be effectively utilised. There’s the time taken toward searching for the right set of candidates, interview process, making/acceptance of offer, notice period, onboarding process, training, etc.
In the case of an internal hire, this whole process is avoided and the resource can join effectively in a matter of days.
3. Brand Loyalty
A company that promotes the culture of internal growth nurtures loyalty among employees. Effective internal mobility programs foster a culture where employees are more likely to engage with and stay in a company. The feeling of job security is higher, and employees feel they will always have work to do.
4. Increase in productivity
When companies demonstrate a commitment towards fostering the growth of their talent pool, it generates a real increase in employee productivity. Such policies make workers feel worthy, they can see that they are considered valuable by the company – this boosts employee morale, there’s an increase in creative solutions to existing problems, innovative thinking and breakthroughs.
Interestingly, when employees are hired/promoted from within the company they tend to outperform external hires. Matthew Bidwell, a Wharton management professor, says 3 that external hires performed significantly lower on performance evaluations during the first two years on the job than internal employees, who were promoted into similar roles.
5. Increase in Retention
One of the key reasons employees look for better options outside the existing role is that they feel stifled in the current role. Instead when they feel appreciated in their current role and are offered ways to learn, evolve, upskill and grow into better roles – there’s an increase in the feeling of job satisfaction.
According to a report by Gartner4, “Employee willingness to go above and beyond at work is 27% higher and employee intent to stay is 33% higher at organizations with a more vibrant internal labor market”
6. Increased internal resource utilisation
Job insecurity is a key issue that most employees feel threatened by. They are stressed about whether their role will be continued or made redundant if enough projects related to their skill sets don’t come in. Sitting on the bench is a nightmare for most resources. Internal mobility allows them to be utilised temporarily in cross-functional projects demands.
Roadblocks to Internal Mobility
Undoubtedly, the case of Internal Mobility is rock-solid. However, for this to be implemented effectively on a long-term basis, companies do face resistance from within.
Due to the way roles and departments are structured there is considerable siloing which makes it difficult to see what resources, skill sets are available in other functions.
There must be a way to make these talent pools visible and accessible. For this to work practically, the culture of collaboration is important. Managers need to be able to trust each other to “share” their team resources.
HR processes may need some restructuring to align with fluid movement of resources and reward them for their creative contribution.
There have been some ground-breaking innovations in the area – chief among these is a platform called Skill Beyond Boundaries. It enables companies to borrow resources from each other to meet their short and long term project requirements, without needing to add more employees to their payroll. Once a company signs up to this platform, it also gets access to the Internal Talent Management Tool which makes it easy to spot the right skills and competencies available within the company, across functions, to meet critical project demands.
Jack Demeo, a Harvard Business School graduate and seasoned CEO shared his point of view on internal promotion and how it works for his company: “The effect of an internal promotion is immediately tangible: my entire staff becomes a little more meticulous regarding my customers’ concerns, they work a little bit longer and stay with the company much, much longer. They know by staying they can potentially grow to a position that might otherwise take them a decade of employment moves. Internal promotions render them stakeholders in the company’s future.”
Going forward, Internal Mobility will be a key strategy that when implemented well, will help both businesses and employees evolve and thrive in the rapidly changing economic conditions.