Developing an Effective Internal Mobility Strategy

March 27, 2023 – Internal mobility is an important aspect of any organization’s human resources strategy. Also known as “career mobility” or “career progression,” it refers to the ability of employees to move within their organization to different roles or departments. This can include promotions, lateral moves, or even rotational assignments.

‍The benefits of internal mobility extend to both employees and the organization as a whole, says Kinsley|Sarn Executive Search in a new report. “For employees, the opportunity for continued career growth and development increases their engagement and commitment to the culture and organization,” said the search firm. “For the organization, internal mobility can lead to the retention of top talent, increased productivity, reduced turnover, and a stronger culture –– all of which contribute to a stronger bottom-line. Long-term, it can differentiate a company as an employer of choice and in the marketplace based on the products/services delivered and the results achieved.”

‍In its study, Kinsley|Sarn breaks down how you can create and implement an effective strategy for your key employees, so they stay with your company, using their skills and abilities to help you achieve your goals: 

1. Determine Your Current Skills Gaps

Before we develop a plan, it is important to take time and assess your current business operations and determine any skills gaps that may be present. “Begin by assessing the skills and knowledge of your current workforce compared to the skills and knowledge needed for your business to meet its goals and objectives,” said Kinsley|Sarn. “Performance evaluations, employee interviews, and surveys are all ways you can determine your needs.”

‍It is also important to remain informed and adapt to the changing market landscape in order to stay ahead and competitive. To do so, the business should look at industry trends and forecast changes to determine what skills will likely be needed in the future, along with key customer behaviors and emerging technologies. “Identifying these factors can help leaders better anticipate industry trends and prepare for them,” said the search firm. “Once any skills gaps have been identified, the business can develop a plan to address them through training, hiring, internal mobility opportunities, and other strategies.”

2. Outline Career Development Paths

In order to promote internal mobility, it is vital to clearly define how employees will be able to achieve goals in their current career paths. Start by identifying key roles and responsibilities, determining the skills and experience required for each role, and developing a clear progression plan that includes training and development opportunities. “To maintain relevance and effectiveness, the career development plan should be regularly reviewed and updated,” said Kinsley|Sarn. “This supports both the employees’ growth and the company’s success.”

‍One way to help broaden the capabilities of workers is by offering cross training opportunities, allowing them to learn skills and knowledge that are outside of their primary job responsibilities.

‍Additionally, organizations should also have a process in place for identifying and developing high-potential employees capable of excelling in higher positions. “This can include targeted development programs, mentoring and coaching, and stretch assignments,” said the report. “In addition to succession planning, it is important to think more broadly about an organization’s talent and how they can progress – not only vertically, but laterally as well.”

3. Determine Key Performance Indicators 

Once your employees start down a new career path or begin a new developmental position, it is important to establish performance metrics. They can be used later on to measure progress and success in their new roles. “This helps your company better understand what is working well as you implement this new internal mobility plan, along with the areas you need to continue to develop,” said Kinsley|Sarn. “It can also serve as a motivational tool so employees can see how far they have come –– improving engagement and long-term retention across the board.”

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4. Regularly Assess Employee Performance

The only way to ensure that your development initiatives are successful is through assessments and interviews with your employees. “By implementing this strategy, an organization will have a clear and transparent process for evaluating and promoting employees,” said the report. “This can include regular performance evaluations and feedback, as well as clear criteria for promotions and advancement.”

5. Offer Open Communication 

Authentic communication is key when implementing an internal mobility program. Employees should feel comfortable discussing their career aspirations with their managers, and managers should be open to exploring potential opportunities for their employees. 

‍“It is also important for organizations to have a clear understanding of their employee’s skills and capabilities so that they can better match them with the appropriate roles and positions,” said the report. “If you create an environment of open communication and trust, you can make the best decision for both parties when considering internal mobility.”

Hiring for the Long-Term

“Growing and moving between different roles and departments can help your leaders gain valuable skills, experiences, and perspectives that can help them lead more effectively and make better decisions,” said Kinsley|Sarn

Related: How to Onboard Senior Executives

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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