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  • Ingeborg van Harten

Internal Moveability = Grow Your Own

Internal Moveability? Yup, it’s not a spelling mistake. It’s our take on how internal mobility should be redefined. It’s how you grow your own talent, instead of hiring externally.

The definition of moveability: ‘Capable of being moved or re-arranged; not fixed in one place or position’.

Let’s create environments where employees can literally move around easily. And this is easier than you think. Internal mobility might sound a bit ‘heavy and traditional’ to some, but we believe it’s utterly underrated. Let’s make it more of a ‘23 thing, and redefine this as Internal Moveability.

V-Shaped Employees = ✅ It’s no longer about completely changing jobs within a company, applying ‘internally’ and hoping you’ll be selected. Executing on internal mobility initiatives has proven to be complicated. Mainly because employees lack the skills to move into a completely new job. They might express interest, only to be bypassed for external applicants who have more relevant experience. Often simply because managers don’t want to let their employees move into a new role or team. What you do see is employees being promoted into leadership roles, but this only gives perspective to a very limited number of people. What are the internal opportunities for the rest?

Employees who want to grow often don’t see any other option than becoming a senior specialist. And that is the opposite of what is needed in many cases. Because when times get tough, what we need is people who can easily move between roles and projects. V-shaped employees who are able to learn new skills quickly.

The 2023 case for Internal Moveability

1) A turning tide 🌊 - It’s like the perfect storm: a tight labour market, a focus on cost efficiency, and employees who are keen to learn. After many years of heavy hiring and fast growth, it feels like the tide is turning. Companies are focussing on profitability and efficiency, and recruitment is slowing down. This can be good news for employees. Why? Because it means that when something new needs to be done, it might have to be done by someone internal.

Not hiring a new person for every new task is a great idea. Because the best and easiest way to let your employees grow… is by allowing them to expand their scope and skills.

2) It’s cheap and efficient 🤑 - Yes! Internal moveability is much cheaper than external hiring. As it offers more day-to-day growth for employees in their current role, they won’t need to seek new growth opportunities elsewhere. Say hi 👋🏼 to a stronger EVP, and goodbye to annoying turnover rates! It saves recruitment costs and agency fees.

Maybe even more important… it ensures your precious company know-how and processes remain in-house, as no knowledge and experience disappears.

3) It’s GREAT for employees 💖 - They literally improve their worth by increasing their skills. You can’t take skills away from someone, and they’ll have them for life. It’s like the best gift you can give. No more being pigeonholed to a single ‘job’. Think of it as people who move from one project to another, do recruitment one day but help out the busy finance team the other.

People who work in customer support might also be able to help the sales team during quiet moments. There are always people who see what is needed for your organization to succeed, and who would love to jump in where needed. So, take a closer look at your own people. You’ll be amazed by the untapped talent that’s already present in your organization!

Getting started with Moveability

There are many ways to encourage and drive internal moveability (say it a few more times, you’ll get the hang of it). To get you started, we came up with 10 ideas:

  1. Job shadowing - a low-key way to give people a sneak peek of what another role entails. This can be a few hours or days and helps employees to understand what others do.

  2. Company project groups - there are always projects which really need people from multiple departments. Think of topics such as: organisational efficiency, data and tooling, project management, employee engagement, and events. Allow people to sign up for cross-departmental projects. This way they meet colleagues from other teams, learn new skills and have the option to make a broader impact.

  3. Internal internships - short-term assignments so people can learn new skills. Great if someone isn’t very busy, but keen to help out another team temporarily. This is less permanent vs. a job change and allows for testing the waters before making an actual move.

  4. Growth conversations - instead of traditional performance reviews. Find out what skills your employees would like to learn, and identify which strengths they could use more broadly.

  5. Reverse mentoring - match a senior with a junior (ideally from a different department) with the aim to teach each other new skills.

  6. Design a development framework - focused on behaviours and competencies. Visualise which competencies various teams and roles need, and allow people to map their own ideal ‘route’ on this framework.

  7. Support people in finding out what their strengths are - maybe Jacky the Content Marketeer is brilliant at organizing & planning – so she can organize your next company offsite! Everybody has superpowers that they might not use on a daily basis in their ‘regular’ job. Consider ‘Strengths finder sessions’ (we can help 😉)

  8. 🥪 Lunch & Learns 🥗 - organize moments during which teams explain what they do and what projects they’re working on. It makes it way easier to contribute your skills & efforts to a team when you understand what they do.

  9. Encourage continuous learning - promote taking time for learning new skills and setting aside a budget for non-job related skill building.

  10. Career Development as a core value - it’s one of the main reasons people join your company, and will be the key reason they stay. Make it more explicit from the start. They’ll be much more open to internal transition if it was one of the reasons they signed up in the 1st place!

We hope some of these ideas work for you, and enable you to get going with moveability 💖


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