PwC predicts that by 2030, only 9% of the US workforce would hold permanent, full-time positions. With the work culture shifting constantly, many employers are actively trying to retain employees, knowing that highly skilled and engaged employees benefit the company. Facilitating internal mobility is one of the preferred retention techniques today.

The example at a leading cosmetics brand

Internal mobility refers to employees’ movement within an organization and allows for lateral or horizontal career growth. L’Oreal’s response to changing employee behavior best exemplifies its importance.

An employee survey helped L’Oreal gain significant insights into their employees’ attitudes towards internal mobility. They noted that 56% of former employees who regretted leaving the company cited a lack of internal mobility opportunities as the main reason for their exit. The company created a Positions Open Portal (POP) to address this gap, allowing employees to know where opportunities existed within the company. The portal proved successful, with a 40% increase in roles filled by internal candidates.

How to make internal mobility work for employers and employees

Initiatives like L’Oreal’s POP effectively promote a model for internal mobility, creating a centralized system for employees to access data about job openings within the company. It also highlights the several advantages internal mobility brings to employers and employees, such as:

  • Saving time and providing opportunities. Rather than undergoing lengthy hiring processes with external candidates, HR can look within the organization for talent – something L’Oreal’s HR department also found invaluable. The company brought together 38 HR experts to determine the ideal way to create a system for employees to learn about opportunities. With POP, the company now intimates existing employees about 81% of all internal mobility options before looking externally.
  • Increasing the talent pool with reskilling and upskilling programs. A 2020 McKinsey and Company survey discovered that skill gaps will be the foremost cause of disruption in various sectors by 2025. Reskilling and upskilling prevent this while simultaneously increasing the talent pool available within an organization. Thus, employers are offering employees options to grow their skill sets to meet these gaps, through on-the-job training, online learning, peer learning, job shadowing, etc. Establishing a reputation for reskilling and upskilling opportunities also helps an organization attract new talent, as many people entering the job market choose to work with organizations that offer avenues for career growth.
  • Preserving company culture. A large part of productivity is fueled by employees sharing a work ethic and belief in an organization’s values. Internal mobility helps strengthen the company culture, since employees continue growing professionally within the established framework of a company’s values and policies, and also see their career path’s progress, which increases their affinity towards the organization. L’Oreal also realized this, noting a reduced investment in onboarding and increased retention of people who already fit in with the company culture.

As L’Oreal and several other companies prove, employees no longer look at careers only as vertical climbs towards a higher position. Instead, they want to understand where they fit best within a company, and even explore multiple roles before finding their niche. Internal mobility is then a win-win for businesses and their people, as it enables lifelong learning for employees, and a wider talent pool for employers, so both continue growing and thriving with the changing times.

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