What is internal mobility?

Internal mobility is the movement of employees within a company to new roles or positions. This can include promotions (vertical mobility), as well as transfers and role changes (lateral mobility).  

Many businesses are now using an internal mobility strategy to address the increasing rates of turnover. Good internal mobility develops employees’ skills, increases their job satisfaction, and can even save an organization time and money.

Why is internal mobility important?

With the current trend of high turnover, internal mobility can be a powerful tool for boosting the retention rate for employees.

By giving employees opportunities to grow with new experiences, it can increase overall job satisfaction—reducing the likelihood of them leaving for a new job elsewhere. 

Besides increasing job satisfaction, internal mobility makes the most of what employees have to offer. Giving employees experience in different roles or departments helps them develop new skills that can make your company more self-sufficient. 

By promoting internal mobility, you’ll have a talented, highly skilled team that can fill in most of the skills gaps that may appear—so you won’t have to regularly look outside the company for talent acquisition, saving you time and money. 

Examples of internal mobility

  • Role-to-role mobility – When an employee moves to a new role at the same level of seniority within the company. 
  • Transfer – When an employee continues their same role for the organization, but at a different location. 
  • Promotion – When a team member is promoted to a higher-level position in the company. 
  • Project-based mobility – When a team of employees, with different kinds of expertise, is put together for a specific project. 
  • Job rotations – When an employee moves temporarily between different roles or departments to gain new experiences and learn new skills.
  • Development programs – When an organization provides training or development programs to help employees acquire new skills and prepare them for different roles within the company.

Benefits of internal mobility

  • Reduced costs – Hiring new people can be expensive. Businesses can reduce costs by filling open positions with internal candidates who already understand the organization’s culture and processes.
  • Improved employee retention rates – When employees feel that they have opportunities to grow and advance, they’re more likely to stay with the company long-term.
  • Increased engagement – With opportunities to learn, grow and take on new challenges within a company, employees feel more engaged and motivated.
  • Improved productivity – Internal mobility exposes employees to new people, processes, and ways of thinking. This gives team members valuable knowledge that they can apply to their work.

How do you promote internal mobility?

You can start by establishing an internal mobility program. Share new opportunities for promotions or job rotations with employees from every department, making it clear that everyone is welcome to apply. 

You can also offer training, online courses, and conferences to help employees gain new skills and knowledge. 

Make sure that all teams are aware of these opportunities through job postings, internal newsletters, and regular one-on-one check-ins—and inspire your people to go for them. Give them the time and support they need to pursue their development goals.

Another way of promoting internal mobility is by encouraging collaboration between different departments and teams. This exposes employees to areas of the company they may be unfamiliar with, and helps them build relationships with people who can give them guidance on advancing their careers.

Employees want to learn and grow. If a company supports employee development and learning opportunities, then it will also end up helping internal mobility to become an established part of company culture. 

Internal mobility best practices

For internal mobility, it’s important to develop a clear career path for each role in your company. At the same time, keep opportunities open to all employees, so that they can try switching roles and transfer their skills.

When it comes to these opportunities, try putting together a recruitment team to find internal talent and promote from within.  

For that to be effective, start regular job rotations within the organization so that you cross-train employees—giving them experience in different roles so that they have the transferable skills needed to take those opportunities, should they wish to.

Internal mobility is a long-term investment. But the businesses that promote it in the long-run reap the benefits, creating a productive workplace with happier employees.