The tactical challenge of
Internal Mobility

Apec estimates that 18% of executives change jobs internally each year. These movements, which take several forms, are to be distinguished from internal promotions. If it has a positive character, internal mobility can sometimes be imposed on the employee and, deteriorate the working relationship.
‍How tocapitalize on this opportunity from an internal mobility policy that combines individual aspirations and collective performance?
The Talent Management Cycle

Internal mobility is an HR management tool whose virtues relate as much to the development of the employee's career path as to the company's more global approach to forward-looking employment management skills.

Considered as an immediate response to the need to transform certain professions, it is now a strategic axis for 81% of HRDs. An internal mobility policy must be adapted to the needs of the organization as well as to the expectations of employees. As a result, the current challenge for human resources teams is to define its contours and to implement it on a daily basis with concrete examples.

Define internal mobility

Internal mobility is defined as all movements of an employee within a company or group of companies. As far as executives are concerned, Apec estimates that 8.4% of executives have made a formal change of position, and 13.7% have seen their role content or assignment change. This represents nearly one executive out of five whose job scope varies each year.

Professional mobility is either desired or "suffered". In France, in one case out of two it is linked to a restructuring or reorganization, and it takes several forms that should be described in detail. You will find all the advantages to put forward to your Management Committee and reinforce this approach that you are convinced of: "Why bet on internal mobility?

Identify the different types of internal mobility

What are the different types of internal mobility?

We can list 4 types of internal mobility:

  • Vertical mobility aims to offer a move to a higher hierarchical level,
  • Cross-functional mobility consists of providing access to a different role in a new profession, regardless of hierarchical level
  • Horizontal mobility helps to offer similar responsibilities within a similar profession
  • Geographical mobility is based on the transfer of the employee to another site.

The company is becoming more horizontal and, consequently, more oriented towards participative management. These changes are challenging managers, who must adopt the posture of manager-coach. They also bring to the forefront the plurality of responsibilities and qualifications as well as the identification of possible bridges between professions. In this context, the notion of proximity of skills is at the heart of the mobility approach. The challenge is to re-mobilize employees to perceive the possible changes in jobs: this is what is offered by the"Galaxy of jobs" that Carole Menguy, Head of Innovation, presents on the BFM program B Smart.

Establish the objectives of internal mobility

What is your initial HR diagnosis?

Before defining objectives, the assessment of your talents covers several dimensions, here are 3 main ones: 

1. Attrition of talents

Attrition is calculated by dividing the number of employees who have left the company over a given period by the number of employees at the beginning of the period. 

  • What are the sources of this attrition? Are these talents leaving the company because of disagreements with their managers? For reasons of compensation? Poor integration? Lack of progression? Poor life balance? ....
Attrition figures in France
Attrition Benchmarks in France

2. Efficiency

Efficiency encompasses the notion of performance and the time, means, devoted to the achievement of objectives.

  • What is the average level of attainment of EAD objectives? What is the real impact of the development plans put in place?

3. The wage bill

The payroll corresponds to all salaries, bonuses, wages, thirteenth month, ....

  • How does this wage bill evolve in relation to sales? How does the weight of managers' salaries evolve in relation to the average salary?

Formalize the priorities of your HRM orientation.

On the basis of this diagnosis, we need to define the objective(s) for your internal trajectory policy.

  • Retaining talent is the most obvious goal of this strategy. Offering a wide range of career prospects enables employees to plan for the long term. Experimenting with different positions, developing one's skills skills and feeling valued by one's employer are just some of the benefits of internal mobility.
  • Attracting talent. As a tool for modernizing recruitment levers, promoting internal movements can also be a good way of enhancing the"career management" aspect of the employer brand. Indeed, the latter has much to appeal to future candidates, by emphasizing professional fulfillment. Internal mobility is therefore an excellent way of developing your employer brand, making your employees your best ambassadors and attracting future talent.
  • Develop employability. The adaptation of skills in a constantly changing world is indeed a competitive lever for the company. Continuously updating skills to keep pace with the needs of the sector allows the company to remain agile and therefore competitive.

Key success factors for internal recruitment

The gap between HR's ambitions and the reality of internal career paths demonstrates the need to bring together the main HR players in order to create a real culture of mobility within the company. Changing mindsets requires formalizing the advantages and disadvantages of the 2 staffing methods: internal and external recruitment.

76% of people who aspire to a different job look for it outside the company because of a lack of concrete prospects.

First of all, it is a question of applying an adequate system for measuring aptitudes and aspirations and thus attesting to the objectivity of the changes. Secondly, it is a matter of educating managers to limit their resistance and to demonstrate to them the opportunity of employee movements. Finally, the employees themselves must have the tools to make projections within their company while being aware of the formal framework.

A reliable assessment of skills and motivations

Whether it is a question of succession plans, promotions or horizontal evolutions, the objectification of these movements remains an issue in France. While management no longer inspires the younger generation, there is still a strong appetite for creating unique careers based on the continuous development of know-how.  

How to objectively evaluate all these parameters for successful trajectories? Our page on the evaluation of skills and skills answers this question.

A search for employee buy-in

The terminology of "employee empowerment" often hides a transfer of responsibility from the HR department to the employees regarding actions to improve their employability. However, employees are becoming aware of the impact of the current transformations in their job: 58% of them are now afraid of losing their job due to lack of training(McLean&Company study).

How can you encourage employees to take initiative? Take the time to read our advice in the article "Empowering employees in the development of skills".

The imperative of managerial involvement

For fear of seeing one of their resources leave and of being affected by an overload of work, managers are often reluctant to make internal movements. The size of the structure necessarily conditions the scope of opportunities, and the approval of managers is the first obstacle to the development of the practice. This is why the HR will must be coupled with the visibility of new positions on the one hand, and of skills on the other hand, in order to respond quickly to the challenges of internal recruitment. 

Here are our recommendations for bringing about this cultural change among managers: "Involve your managers in your internal mobility process".

Cristel Guillain's account of how Neobrain facilitates career paths is enlightening:

Define the rules for implementing internal mobility

Transparency is a pillar of stakeholder engagement in the internal trajectory policy. 

Even today, 1 out of 2 employees admit to not knowing their company's internal development policy.

 For both managers and employees to be involved, rules and procedures must be clear to all, so how do we define this common framework?

This policy is embodied in an "internal mobility charter". 

What is an internal mobility charter?

The internal mobility charter sets out the broad outlines of possible career paths, the roles of each player involved, and the rules and stages to be followed, in a consistent message. This official document sets out the key moments at which employees can discuss this project, and also reassures them about the notion of confidentiality associated with any internal application. Indeed, there remains a perceived risk in applying internally: how will my manager react? Could this have a negative impact on my future development? We offer you a complete study of internal recruitment practices, thanks to the participation of 117 HR decision-makers.

On a more restrictive note: mobility agreements or clauses.

What is a Mobility Agreement?

This agreement is subject to collective bargaining, i.e. with the staff representative bodies. Consequently, it provides for the modalities according to which a professional, geographical or other type of transfer would take place. To be valid, this agreement must be restricted to a specific area, take into account the employee's personal life and include compensatory measures such asmobility assistance or training.

Internal mobility: instructions for use

Today, this HR tool is still aimed more at the "talent" population, which differs in some respects from the process used for the majority of employees. We dedicate a chapter to this in our page"The specificities of talent mobility". 

Yet, from both a global resource planning and an equity perspective, mobility is a powerful driver of diversity and inclusion.

What questions should be asked to define the internal mobility policy?

Here are some guidelines to formalize your orientations with 8 questions that we ask our partners:

The 8 questions to ask yourself when defining your internal mobility policy
Questions to ask yourself when defining your internal mobility policy

These questions are not exhaustive, and your company's specific needs must be taken into account. It's best to be prepared for your employees' questions. We have dedicated a full page to defining the guidelines of your internal career development strategy.

The internal mobility interview

Depending on the company, this HR process may or may not be necessary to validate the application. In 70% of the cases, employees are the ones who decide to move within the company. These wishes are formulated in different ways and must be formalized in the employee's history. Therefore, this moment not only allows employees to discuss their career aspirations with their employer, but also toenrich the knowledge of the employee. This meeting is a source of anxiety for the employee who wishes to evolve without denigrating his or her current role, and for the HR manager who will be keen to retain the talent and support it with the means available.

Here is the recipe to make this meeting a success: "Succeed in your mobility interview in 5 acts".

A structured system to minimize potential risks 

What are the risks of internal mobility?

Changes in employee assignments can have an impact on 3 dimensions: the transmission of skills, the generation of internal conflicts, and the difficulty of adapting to a new work environment. Let's take a closer look at these 3 risks and their solutions:

  1. The transmission of skills : when employees leave their current position, their former position may remain vacant and result in a one-time loss of skills. Solutions can be found in succession planning, permanent mentoring, the development of cross-functionalskills , the ability to mobilize a resource quickly in project mode, or to make mobility conditional on the staffing of a new resource.
  2. Conflicts of interest : internal movements can sometimes create conflicts of interest, especially if the position was coveted by several people. The solutions are to make the selection criteria transparent, to offer the applicants for the position components of the role in their daily life, to distribute the tasks differently.
  3. Fluidity in the taking up of the position : knowledge of the company does not necessarily imply an immediate adaptation of the employees, this can be minimized by the managers and the HR teams. Also, good onboarding orcross-boarding practices will facilitate the smooth integration of the employee.

This change for the individual will also be facilitated by the quality of their experience within their HR application. For example, the synchronization of this information must be automated, his support and his new objectives centralized.

Paradoxes to overcome

Apart from these risks, mobility suffers from several paradoxes:

  • Managers are encouraged to promote a variety of employee paths, yet when employees apply for positions, a high level of expertise is required that prevents them from landing the role. This limits the scope of managerial initiatives.
  • The boundary between, on the one hand, the freedom to create unique pathways and, on the other hand, the organizational priorities decided in the framework of Jobs & Skills Management, affects the desired pathways and requires making compromises.
  • There is still a great deal of uncertainty and the good will to build coherent paths often turns into opportunism in the face of circumstances.

The stages of setting in motion the internal trajectories

Forging a culture of internal mobility is an integral part of HR planning, which is becoming essential in order to effectively manage company investments.

Internal mobility is the meeting of a rich set of information, this sum must be available in real time:

  • The assets and skills of employees
  • Anticipating the key skills of the future
  • The immediate projects and priorities of the company and its managers
  • The Strategic Workforce Planning.

We are convinced that an implementation methodology adapted to the company's culture is a guarantee of success. Natixis developed its internal mobility in less than 6 months with a total retention to date, based on a formula that we describe below, here is the Natixis success story.

  1. Step 1: Identify and formalize the needs resulting from the Jobs & Skills Management
  2. Step 2: Gather all the mobility wishes and the skills that can be mobilized
  3. Step 3: Manage each of the internal recruitment processes, taking care of replacements and coaching.
  4. Step 4 : Measure the success of internal recruitments by evaluating performance and development of skills. Then enrich career paths based on the new developments that have taken place.

All of these steps are described in detail in our "Steps to successful internal recruitment" page.

The classic tools of internal mobility 

The movements of skills of the company are the conclusion of many tools of which here is an outline: 

As you can see, these tools are scattered throughout your HRIS. It is now essential to create a common thread for HR and managerial action, and to capitalize on the data collected. All this information is now available on an intelligent, collaborative platform called Talent Marketplace

A revolution for internal mobility: the Talent Marketplace

As software deployment projects evolve, HR teams have become increasingly aware of its key success factors. Offering users the best possible experience not only contributes to the return on their investment through excellent adoption, but is also a strong lever for engagement. A good experience means bringing all the intelligence together in one place, which finds its legitimacy in a harmonious interaction between the software's different functionalities. Neobrain's"talent engagement platform" is used by many companies, including LVMH, Natixis, Safran and SNCF.

Are you curious about how it works? We've devoted a whole page to it:"Internal Talent Marketplace" as well as a complete Guide


How to choose between external recruitment and internal mobility?

There are several criteria to consider when making a decision about different recruitment methods:

  1. The skills required: if the position to be filled requires specific skills , it may be more appropriate to recruit externally.
  2. Cost: internal mobility is generally less expensive than external recruitment. However, you will have to include all the expenses (training, onboarding, etc...)
  3. Corporate culture: an internal employee is already familiar with the company's culture and values. It may therefore be easier to train them on the specifics of the new position

How to measure the impact of internal mobility on employee retention?

Several indicators can be taken into account to measure the impact of internal mobility on employee retention:

  1. Employee retention rate: this involves monitoring the departure rate of employees who have benefited from internal mobility compared to those who have not been involved in internal mobility.
  2. Employee satisfaction: it is important to measure the satisfaction of employees who have benefited from internal mobility. Indeed, a successful mobility can increase their motivation and their commitment to the company.
  3. Cost of recruitment: by comparing the costs of external recruitment with those of internal mobility, it is possible to measure the financial impact of internal mobility.

What are the current trends in internal mobility in companies?

In order to meet the transformation needs of their market, the trend is to invest in project-based resource allocation programs. Sage, for example, operates on a Squad basis, which benefits the organization in 3 ways:

  1. This organization is an opportunity to strengthen knowledge sharing
  2. This operation mobilizes the skills in a short time.
  3. Recruiting costs are reduced and talent identification is enhanced

See the Sage use case.

How to support employees during their transition to a new position?

The practice of "cross-boarding" is growing, and it allows employees to be supported during their transition to a new position within the company. This involves organizing an integration period during which the employee will discover his or her new position and work environment, while continuing to work in his or her old position. To make this transition period a success, it is important to set up personalized support for each employee, to communicate regularly with employees to inform them of the progress of their transition and to give them feedback on their work.

Do you still have questions?

Please feel free to contact us for more information 😃

You may also like
See all articles