Organizational Wellness

Five Great Ways to Foster Internal Mobility at Your Company

Jun 30, 2023
Last Updated May 10, 2024

‘Where do you see yourself in five years’ is a common interview question, but have you ever posed it to your current employees? If you did, it’s likely you’d hope their answer includes being employed with your company. After all, your valued team members have valuable skills and institutional knowledge you want to keep in-house!

Internal mobility is an important part of staying a part of your employees’ long-term career plans. After all, few people want to do the same job for the entirety of their careers. Especially if you’ve hired go-getters eager to learn and grow, it’s a good idea to build programs that facilitate internal movement so they have no reason to look elsewhere for their next career move.

Here are several steps you can take to bolster your talent retention by keeping employees engaged even as their skill sets and goals evolve. 


What is Internal Mobility?

Internal mobility refers to the ability of employees to move within their organization — either vertically or laterally — into new roles. It’s how employees can learn about and transition to new roles in their existing departments or a new team, or get promoted to a higher position within the organization. For example, a customer service specialist could move to a sales specialist role (horizontally) or be promoted to your company’s Head of Customer Service (vertically).

This allows employees to try different roles that suit their skill sets and find new roles that fit their career goals, even as they evolve. It delivers a variety of benefits for both employers and employees alike—enhancing engagement, creating growth opportunities, and promoting a productive working environment.

Why is Internal Mobility Important?

People you can rely on are tricky to find, and this is especially true in today’s tight labor market, where it seems every industry is struggling to attract and retain talent. However, companies that invest in internal mobility provide employees with a solid foundation to pursue career goals, increasing how attractive it is to work for that organization. 

Effective internal mobility programs can also:

  • Boost employee engagement: Organizations have noticed a 30% increase in employee engagement when they add internal mobility programs, a study by Deloitte found.
  • Improve employee retention: Implementing internal mobility practices can double employee retention, according to LinkedIn research.
  • Accelerate the hiring process: Sixty-three percent of hiring managers agree that moving qualified internal candidates to open roles accelerates the recruitment process, a LinkedIn study found.

Five Best Practices for Internal Mobility Programs

HR professionals play a major role in facilitating internal mobility opportunities for employees. This is because HR has knowledge of an employee’s competences from overseeing performance management, as well as delivering learning and development initiatives. The department also has first-hand knowledge of ‌employee interests and company needs, as well as succession-planning responsibilities. Internal mobility relies on and can further all of these organizational functions.

Here are five practices HR leaders can consider to support their employees:

  1. Set Up Regular Meetings to Discuss Performance and Development

Open discussions and planning around professional development can show employees you have the right structures and systems in place to help your workforce reach their career goals. In turn, over 94% of employees agree they'd remain in a company longer if it invested in their careers, a study by LinkedIn found.

Managers benefit from meeting regularly about career goals because they get an understanding of what their employees are interested in pursuing when it comes to their professional future. Meanwhile, employees see their manager supports their aspirations and that there is room to grow with the company.

Consider scheduling meetings with employees once a quarter to discuss development. You can include KPIs for each quarter to work towards skill development goals that bring them closer to the next level of their career.

  1. Encourage Cross-Department Collaboration

Create new opportunities for employees from different departments to collaborate on projects together. This lets employees curious about alternative career paths use their skills to work on projects outside of their standard scope and understand how their strengths could be applied elsewhere within the organization.

For example, imagine an accounting employee who has an interest in finance. You could add them to a project within the finance department so they build relationships with that team and use their skills in a new setting that still addresses the company’s current needs. Not only does this improve cross-departmental collaboration, but it also allows employees to get a better understanding of what a position in finance would look like to test if it is where they want to develop.

  1. Create Development Frameworks That Guide Employees

Development frameworks are an important internal mobility tool that provide employees with a clear roadmap to achieve their professional goals. These frameworks outline the specific skills and performance expectations needed for advancement, helping employees ‌progress in their careers.

With set frameworks in place, employees understand what they must achieve to grow within a company. This encourages employees to be proactive, take ownership of their career growth, and apply for positions they're qualified for.

Make sure the development framework is easily accessible and shared with every employee in the company. It's also good practice to include relevant KPIs within the framework. This helps managers and employees track skills and goals monthly, which can be discussed in quarterly meetings.

  1. Offer Resources Geared Towards Personal Development

Learning and development go hand-in-hand with career progression. For employees to move around within an organization, it's important they feel supported with the right resources and goals to chase.

Identifying skill gaps is a great way to start crafting training programs to increase internal mobility. You can then direct employees toward the right L&D tools and content that will strategically further their professional development. This could include online learning programs, mentorship programs, financial aid for education or certification training, internal opportunities like job shadowing or department rotations, and external seminars and webinars.

  1. Look Internally When Filling Job Openings

When looking to fill a position, it's good practice to consider the internal talent pool. You want to show employees that the frameworks around talent mobility, promotion, and succession planning are in play when opportunities arise within the company.

The benefit of internal recruitment is that employees already know the company and partake in the culture. This means the onboarding experience is accelerated and less time-consuming. Because of this, internal hires often outperform new hires, according to research conducted by Wharton.

In practice, internal recruitment strategy includes notifying your team about the job opening, providing a detailed explanation of the responsibilities and required skills, and encouraging interested employees who possess the necessary skills to apply.

Supporting Employees’ Holistic Development

Internal mobility is an important aspect of professional development, but it isn’t enough on its own to retain top talent. Today’s workers consider the personal impact of work to be as vital as its professional benefits — 93% of workers believe their wellbeing is just as important as their salary. To meet the needs of your staff, you have to support their personal development as well as their professional growth. 

A wellbeing program can be an effective way to meet your employee’s personal needs and further their goals. Whether a team member is aiming for personal bests in the gym, a refreshed state of mental wellbeing, or an improved financial approach, a wellbeing initiative demonstrates your company is dedicated to helping them grow in every way they desire.  

Interested in strengthening your employee retention with a wellness program? Speak to a Wellbeing Specialist today!

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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