internal talent mobility

If you're looking at implementing an internal mobility strategy you have probably found a variety of platforms that can support this. In this post, we'll decode how a learning experience platform differs from a talent marketplace and whether it can be used successfully as an internal mobility tool.

the building blocks of internal mobility

HR leaders at companies that want to master internal mobility, first need to establish supply and demand for skills. They need to know what work needs to be done - in the form of jobs, projects, gigs and secondments - and what skills are required. They then need to assess the internal supply of those skills and deploy a mechanism to marry this market together.

There are other factors to consider too - such as the appetite employees have to move and the willingness of their managers to let them.

establishing the supply of skills

Lew Platt, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard allegedly said, "If only HP knew what HP knows, we'd be three times more productive!" In any large organisation, keeping on top of the constantly evolving skills the workforce possesses might seem like an impossible task. Classifying them into a skills taxonomy or skills ontology is even more overwhelming. This is where AI is the only possible solution.

One of the great benefits of a learning platform is its ability to assess, quantify and track the skills within an organisation. Some can even predict what skills need to be developed to meet upcoming demand.

Some platforms are intelligent enough to infer skills that employees have, even if they're not explicitly stated in a LinkedIn profile, training record or performance review. But reliance on technology alone is not enough.

internal mobility

skills adjacencies can be misleading

Some learning experience and talent intelligence platforms highlight their ability to recognise "skills adjacencies" - skills that are similar that can suggest who might be the best fit to move from one role to another.

Surprisingly, LinkedIn’s data science team found that many employees who moved into in-demand digital roles over the past five years came from completely different backgrounds.

For example, half the employees who moved into data science and AI roles came from unrelated industries and had the largest variation in skill profiles. Unrelated moves are even more common in other disciplines: engineering roles (67%), content roles (72%), and sales (75%).

As LinkedIn conclude, "The most inspiring takeaway from these insights is that people are much more capable of learning new skills and moving into higher-priority positions than traditionally thought."

the unpredictability of human career journeys

At Randstad RiseSmart, we're not surprised to learn how people have been successful at moving between seemingly unrelated fields. We have coached hundreds of thousands of people to make successful career transitions - and we've seen everything you could imagine. To name just a few: we've seen a city trader become a llama farmer, a healthcare worker become a park ranger, a former marine become a pest controller and a geophysicist join the secret service.

It's why we think it's important to always include a human element when encouraging more internal mobility. A well trained career coach or learning adviser will get to know someone and uncover their dreams, career goals and aspirations. Importantly, they'll also take into account the skills and experience they've developed outside work, and use all of that information to let the technology take a more holistic view of possible career paths, and which new roles might be the best fit for them.

establishing the demand for skills

Clearly, there are benefits for internal mobility in combining a human and technology element to capturing all the skills that reside in your workforce. Next, HR leaders need to establish where and when those skills are in demand within the company.

This needs to be more than just an internal job board. The dynamics of today's workplace mean that people are required for short-term work assignments, projects and gigs as well as secondments and longer-term roles.

While managers have to be responsible for posting the work assignments they have available, AI can again be deployed to match available internal candidates based on their skills profile and career goals. The marketplace model works well to perform this function and, when linked to learning, it can help your employees identify the ideal new job or project that aligns with their growth and development goals, and it drives greater internal talent mobility.

Creating a culture where internal mobility is seen as the norm and the movement of employees and talent is not just accepted but is encouraged, should be on the agenda of any HR transformation programme.

creating a talent marketplace

so what is the difference between an LXP and a talent marketplace?

There are many different approaches to internal mobility being promoted at present, and the learning experience platform and talent - or opportunity - marketplace are two of the main ones. Essentially, they both meet the demands of the internal talent market by coming at it from opposite sides of the equation: the LXP provides a rich and engaging way for employees to identify learning that helps them fill any skills gaps, and then surfaces future roles or gigs that could be a good fit; the talent marketplace shows employees what's available internally and signposts any learning that might be required to improve their fit for current or future assignments.

One important difference between the two is often how the learning options are hosted. In an LXP, everything sits inside the platform and there is usually a 'Netflix-like' interface showing recommendations, featured content creators and reviews. In a typical marketplace, the learning is usually made available through third parties like LinkedIn Learning or Udemy. These third parties also provide very intuitive and user-friendly interfaces and arguably have more diverse and dynamic content than a curated collection in an LXP.

Whichever way you approach the platform debate, effective internal job matching and personalised learning journeys are just component parts of an integrated talent mobility strategy. Rather than look for a platform, the most successful organisations create a culture of internal mobility. Deloitte found that the fastest-growing organisations were twice as likely to have excellent internal mobility programmes in place than companies that were not growing at all.

what's the best option to drive more internal career mobility?

Creating a culture of internal mobility requires more than just buying in a platform or tool. It requires investment from both the employer and employee. Our own research on skilling found that the majority of employees see responsibility for skilling and career development as a joint one, shared with their employer. Encouragingly, employees are also willing to invest some of their own time in skilling as they see the value in terms of their employability.

Both a talent marketplace and an LXP provide a mechanism to match the supply and demand for skills; but it is not simply a case of picking one type of platform over another. An internal market of some sort is essential, yes - as is some way of providing employees with easy access to relevant and timely learning. But real growth in an organisation's approach to internal mobility comes about when it permeates the workforce as an accepted part of their employment relationship with the company.

As a firm founded on providing career transition consulting enabled by smart technology, internal mobility solutions from Randstad RiseSmart offer something uniquely different to all of the other platforms: a person-to-person connection.

Through our career coaches and learning advisers, we build relationships with your employees and guide them to get the most out of the technology tools; rather than just leave them to figure it out for themselves. Our consultants, too, advise and guide HR leaders on implementing mobility strategies based on over 14 years' experience of delivering these solutions across over 100 countries and 40 industries.

To discuss how you could implement a successful internal mobility programme, or to arrange a demo of our platform, please contact us.

chris perkins.

head of marketing, UK

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