A career lattice (not ladder) drives talent mobility
June 28, 2018
Career growth used to have one direction: Up. An employee would start out as an intern and work his or her way up the ladder, seeking promotions at one company, or applying for a higher level position at another.
In the past, the ladder model reigned because companies were under the assumption that all employees wanted to move up and eventually become leaders. But as modern corporate structures are flatten, there are more opportunities to move omnidirectionally. Today, work is more collaborative and there is an emphasis on increased, continuous learning to enable lateral talent mobility. In other words, instead of rising in the corporate ranks, employees are pursuing omnidirectional career progression— they are making lateral moves and enhancing their careers by pursuing personal growth in different directions.
Up doesn't necessarily equal success for today's workforce. Increasingly, they're climbing a lattice rather than a ladder.
The Appeal of Talent Mobility
Talent mobility gives workers the opportunity to change positions within a company so that they can learn and practice new skills, as well as take on additional responsibilities. If workers remain in one position for too long, especially when their talent is underutilized, they become bored—this is a critical time for retention efforts. If organizations fail to give workers an opportunity to grow, they'll move on to a different organization. By doubling down on omnidirectional career progression and talent mobility strategy, organizations can retain employees who are tempted to leave.
Talent mobility strategy may look like this: A human resources employee is not feeling fulfilled simply staying in the HR department, doing employee paperwork. So, she requests to work on legal and accounting projects as well so she can increase her skillset. She gains the knowledge, and one day, after years of hard work, does transition to a different position, which pays off for both her and her employer. She feels more fulfilled, while the employer gains an employee who has a broader, more experienced view of the company. Plus, the company doesn’t lose money or jeopardize its productivity while working to fill a vacant role.
Why a Talent Mobility Strategy Is Critical
Talent mobility should be in the back of every company's mind because workers are always trying to find new opportunities. Employees, especially millennials, expect companies to provide them with talent mobility programs, or they will go elsewhere to find them.
In one Gallup study, 51 percent of workers said they were seeking out new jobs because they craved the opportunity to utilize their strengths as well as increase their knowledge. It's a competitive market at the moment—unemployment is at its lowest rate since 2000—so employees are not afraid of trying to find new jobs elsewhere.
Plus, millennials, who are the largest generation in today's workforce, are not hesitant to switch jobs. One survey found that 45 percent of newly hired college graduates plan to remain with an organization for less than two years, and 25 percent of employees work up to five jobs by the time they are 35.
As a result of this inclination among younger employees to job hop, employers are developing internal career mobility programs to decrease the job turnover rate and encourage employees to add skills to their resumes. According to 49 percent of the HR professionals surveyed in the Gallup poll, offering career mobility to employees improves engagement, and according to 39 percent or responders, it helps productivity and increases teamwork, as well.
Start a Talent Mobility Program at Your Organization
Understanding the importance of talent mobility is one thing, but how do you implement a program to make employees more upwardly and laterally mobile?
Your organization can provide workers with talent and career mobility opportunities through a performance suite that enables workers to get a better understanding of career paths and opportunities available to them, and enables managers to be more conscious of their internal talent pools’ career goals.
A performance suite is an online tool that shows workers all of the available jobs within an organization, adds transparency to their possible career paths and connects them to career center resources. It also gives employees a way to identify the skills gaps they have, work to close those gaps using an e-learning platform and track their career mobility by taking assessments to test their skills. Managers, in turn, gain visibility into their workers’ career growth ambitions, empowering them to better serve their development needs.
By investing in this type of e-platform, your employees will be more engaged and motivated. For the company, omnidirectional career progression not only means a happier workforce, but also a more productive one.
Are you looking to cultivate your organization's talent pools through career centers and succession planning? Contact Cornerstone today to find out how.