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Top Talent Lies Within: How 4 Companies Are Embracing Career Mobility

Chris Stewart

VP of Global Client Success, Cornerstone

In an increasingly competitive talent market, organizations are not only struggling to keep their best and brightest employees—they're struggling to keep talent at all. An annual global survey from LinkedIn found that nearly one in three employees are actively looking for a new job and almost half of all employees would be "extremely and very interested" in hearing from a corporate recruiter—whether they're looking for a job or not.

But these changes don't have to occur with another company. Our recent Career Trends report found that employees are often more interested in growing with their current employers than leaving: 89 percent of employees would consider a lateral career move with no financial incentive and 77 percent would relocate if given the opportunity. So, while people may be looking for new opportunities, they're not necessarily looking for a new employer. The problem? Opportunities for internal career mobility are severely lacking. HR professionals hire externally for two-thirds of open positions and only 32 percent of organizations encourage cross-departmental movement.

But for companies that shift their thinking, the payoff promises to be great. Employees gain the new experiences and skill sets they seek, while employers groom engaged top talent. At our recent user conference, Convergence , four Cornerstone clients who chose to embrace career mobility shared their success stories, and encouraged attendees to follow suit. Here's a peek at what they had to say.

Hitachi Taps into Its Innovative Spirit

Founded in 1910 as a mining machinery repair shop in Hitachi City, Hitachi now has 330,000 employees worldwide serving nearly 15 industries. With such a large and diverse workforce, Hitachi feared they were losing sight of their founding innovative spirit.

When a company-wide employee survey revealed a lack of consistent reporting structures and performance tracking, CHRO Levent Arabaci saw an opportunity to break down company silos through learning and development. "If we want to be a global company, we need to make things cohesive," said Arabaci. "We were good at mobility within departments, but mobility should be based on talent [company-wide]."

Since launching Hitachi's learning management system, "Hitachi University," last year, the company has engaged more than 250,000 employees in a streamlined learning, development and performance program. As Arabaci shared, "Every employee should have the opportunity to be CEO one day."

Kohler Helps Employees Reach Their Goals

Kohler serves four industries, 30,000 employees and 50 manufacturing locations across 6 continents. Similar to Hitachi, the company faced a challenge in providing a cohesive employee experience, and ensuring that workers had opportunities across business units.

In response, Kohler decided to revamp its recruiting process—instead of each business unit and region having separate recruiting strategies (some manual, some automated), the company began on a journey to implement Cornerstone company-wide. Since launching in the U.S. and the U.K., Kohler has seen a 15 percent increase in talent sharing across business units. "Career mobility is about much more than visibility into opportunities available," said Marcy Keuler, senior manager of HR process and technology, "It's about tying learning and development to those opportunities."

VCA Creates a Welcoming, Supportive Culture

VCA is a 30-year-old organization with more than 700 veterinary hospitals and 20,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada. As the company has grown through acquisition, VCA faces the unique challenge of infusing their culture into new hospitals and making new employees—from admins to technicians to vets—feel like part of the family.

With this in mind, VCA invested in a unified suite of learning ("Woof University"), performance tracking ("Purrformance") and employee collaboration ("Dog Park") to foster a stronger organizational culture and better career mobility. "Employees with career opportunity are more productive because they know performance matters," shared Diana Nguyen, senior director of knowledge development and learning. Since launching, VCA has seen a three percent decrease in turnover, a five percent increase in employee engagement and higher client satisfaction.

United Empowers Employees on the Frontline

United Airlines aims to be the preferred airline for their customers, employees and shareholders—and they see employee satisfaction and growth as key to achieving this goal. But with multiple talent management systems and processes for their 86,000 employees, insight into employee performance and engagement data was fragmented and limited.

In 2015, United decided to invest in unified talent management and reconfigure their leadership programs. They rolled out a mobile program, deploying 45,000 devices so employees can focus on helping customers from multiple locations (instead of just from behind a counter), and have begun reviewing holistic data to make smarter workforce decisions and identify top talent. "We want transparency for our employees," said Deb Woldman, director of learning technology and development, "I've had a number of careers in the same company and I want that for our United employees."

Photo: Twenty20

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