People Management
5 min.

Internal Mobility Helps Promote Employee Retention

Véronique Forest
Last updated on 22 Dec. 2023
Published on 16 Mar. 2023
Homme qui marche vers un sentient flottant et qui laisse tomber son dossard et son casque

Internal mobility is a solution that managers should be aware of—especially managers struggling with recruitment or retention.

Table of contents

So, what is a company’s internal mobility? Internal mobility refers to any change, promotion or evolution in an employee’s position at a given organization.

A 2019 study by Hays mentioned that for nearly 70% of the companies they surveyed, internal mobility accounted for only 5% of their hires.

Yet some experts estimate that an internal hire is 20–50% less expensive than hiring an external candidate. So why do so few companies promote internal mobility?

In this post, you’ll learn:

A portrait of internal mobility in companies

Internal mobility at a company can take several forms. It can be voluntary, meaning that the employee expresses a desire to change positions. It can also be driven by a manager offering a promotion or encouraging an employee to apply for a given position.

There are 3 types of internal mobility:

  • Vertical mobility: when an employee is promoted or given greater responsibility (e.g., a clerk becoming a manager)
  • Horizontal mobility: when an employee changes positions but stays at a similar level of hierarchy (e.g., a manager becoming the supervisor of a new team)
  • Geographic mobility: when an employee fills a similar position in another region (e.g., an employee moving to another branch)

According to a study by Deloitte, 76% of companies believe that internal mobility is important, yet only 6% believe that they do enough to make it easy to change jobs within their organization.

Companies that actively work to promote internal mobility reap many benefits, including higher employee satisfaction, an improved employer brand, a better work atmosphere, talent retention, easier onboarding, and lower recruitment costs.

💡 Your company’s internal mobility is an indicator worth adding to your HR dashboard.

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An example of internal mobility

Maxime is a university student in accounting who works at a renovation centre part-time. As part of her studies, she does an internship at the company’s head office.

The internship goes well and her internship supervisor even encourages her to apply for a permanent position upon completing her studies. In the meantime, Maxime resumes her student job.

After graduating, Maxime applies for an accounting position and is hired. Maxime’s onboarding is much easier since she already knows the organization very well and is even familiar with her new department.

Internal mobility as a way to retain employees

According to a survey piloted by Microsoft in 2021, 41% of employees expected to leave their jobs in the course of the year. And employee disengagement is not likely to improve unless companies make a special effort to retain their workers.

Internal mobility is a great way to build employee loyalty and increase your company’s retention rate. Importantly, the best employees are often attracted by the advancement opportunities that an organization offers.

Did you know that employees stay 41% longer at companies that make internal recruitment a priority, according to a LinkedIn study? And that employees who change jobs within the same organization are 3.5 times more likely to be committed to the company than employees who stay in their current job?

Promoting internal mobility at your company sends a message to your employees that you value their skills and expertise. It also encourages employees to do more training. This means you benefit from more competent employees, which helps you offer better services and products.

So, don’t hesitate to identify employees who show strong potential and ask them about their career plans during your performance evaluations. As a result, you’ll be able to better support them in their professional development.

Internal mobility and skill development

When coupled with employee training strategies, internal mobility becomes an incredibly powerful tool for employee retention. It helps you cope with the labor shortage, and is especially effective in the case of skilled jobs for which qualified employees are hard to recruit.

Don’t be afraid to hire employees even if they have less experience than you would have liked. To bridge this gap, you can offer them upgrading training. They will become more and more efficient and there is a good chance that they will decide to continue their career with your organization if you offer opportunities for advancement.

Did you know that developing employees’ skills is 6 times less expensive for a company than recruiting new talent? What’s more, employees who have skill development opportunities tend to stay at a given organization twice as long.

In short, if you’re looking for solutions to hang on to your employees, look no further. Offer them more training and more career development opportunities!

A few tips to encourage internal mobility at your company

Now that you know more about internal mobility, here are some tips for implementing it at your organization:

  • Work on your company culture: Set up clear procedures to promote internal mobility and discuss career plans with your employees as soon as they are onboarded.
  • Promote skill development: Establish relevant training plans for each employee and encourage them to update their knowledge on a regular basis.
  • Open a dialogue with your employees: Be proactive by discussing mobility with your employees during one-on-one meetings and performance evaluations.
  • Actively share your new job offers: Make sure your employees have easy access to your job postings, and be available to answer any questions they might have.

Think to recruit internally first

The first step in promoting internal mobility at your company is simply to try to recruit in-house first. You may already have an employee on your team who is ready to take on a new challenge and would be an ideal candidate.

You’d be crazy to pass up such a golden opportunity! 🤯

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