Employee Career Mobility

April 28, 2023
Season 4, Episode 16

In this episode of the Business Excelleration® Podcast, why is it critical for companies to focus on employee mobility in today’s business environment? What’s the payoff? What are some critical success factors? A discussion with The Hackett Group Senior Research Director Anthony DiRomualdo and North American HR Executive Advisory Practice Leader Franco Girimonte.

Welcome to The Hackett Group’s “Business Excelleration Podcast,” where week after week we hear from experts on how to avoid obstacles, manage detours and celebrate milestones on the journey to world-class performance. This episode is hosted by Franco Girimonte, North American Executive Advisory practice leader at The Hackett Group. Today’s episode will discuss the best way for companies to offer their employees new opportunities, greater challenges and different ways to further their careers. His guest is Tony DiRomualdo, senior research director at The Hackett Group.

Kicking off the conversation, Tony explains that employee career mobility refers to the movement of people to gain experience and skills. This often involves changing roles, transfers and traditional types of promotions. Now, companies are seeing this as an area to improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Recently, we are seeing more project-based mobility, which exposes employees to new people and ideas within their organization. Lastly is what The Hackett Group has termed “capacity-based mobility,” which has companies looking at the overall workload and the people available to work on certain projects. This offers the employees an opportunity to broaden their experience and manage capacity utilization companywide. 

Employee career mobility has become more and more important because over the last several years the rise in turnover has played a major role. We have also seen a major difficulty attracting younger workers. Many organizations now have tried to emphasize these kinds of opportunities for mobility to attract more candidates. Delivering mobility will ultimately help to retain people once they have been hired. The primary focus of mobility is taking on new challenges and learning new things to develop your career. So much of this comes from on-the-job experience. With the amount of uncertainty we have seen in the last several years, organizations face an increased need to demonstrate agility and resilience of themselves and their workforce. Employee career mobility is thus not something which gets imposed on employees. Rather, companies provide support and information to help their employees successfully move and work through these changes.

The Hackett Group looked at four different indicators to see how the various approaches to employee career mobility influenced organizations. They isolated the organizations who had the very best outcomes. The first measure was internal hire placement rates – a metric that increased by over twice as many of the most successful employee career enablement organizations increased. Second, they analyzed lateral mobility. Here, over 2.3 of the most successful organizations increased their internal lateral mobility rate. They also looked at the impacts on employee engagement and voluntary turnover.

One of the best practices that The Hackett Group observed across many respondent organizations was internal job posting systems. They also saw stretch assignments in which individuals were given an opportunity to push their comfort levels and skills, and enable them to perform better. There is also more and more traction with the tool internal talent marketplaces, or specific software systems designed to facilitate mobility and give visibility to open positions. Similarly, social media is being leveraged to spread success stories. Top performers are showing their ability to leverage these tools and practices to their advantage compared to the typical organizations in this space.

However, if these tools are introduced in isolation, an organization will likely not get employee career mobility. Other factors are critically important for achieving successful outcomes, including having an employee career mobility strategy that is explicit and integrated into the organization’s broader talent strategy. This all comes back to having a culture where people are comfortable with the idea of movement and learning experiences. Having agility built into your talent strategy provides structural support for mobility. Secondly, having a dedicated person or team responsible for employee career mobility is crucial. You should be offering the right incentives and support for both employees and managers. Finally is the constant measurement of performance and outcomes.

Time stamps:

  • 1:09 – Welcome to this episode hosted by Franco Girimonte.
  • 1:45 – What is employee career mobility?
  • 7:05 – Why is employee career mobility so important?
  • 10:14 – How important is employee career mobility today?
  • 12:55 – The Hackett Group’s study on this topic.
  • 17:50 – The best practices to increase employee career mobility.
  • 24:44 – Other important factors for employing career mobility.