In-house mobility programmes can ‘reduce competitive intelligence leaks’

Internal job moves have been recognised as a key attraction and retention tool by nearly 90 per cent of executives, but only a third say their companies have an internal mobility programme in place.

The survey of more than 1,000 executives, by recruitment specialists Futurestep, also found that 32 per cent of executive level employees said they had to keep their intentions to apply for new positions within their company a secret from current managers. 

Respondents whose employer did have an internal mobility programmes were asked how opportunities were promoted to potential internal candidates. The majority (40 per cent) said they were communicated via a dedicated internal mobility portal, while nine per cent said they used a dedicated email or newsletter. Both methods were used by 29 per cent.

David Marzo, Futurestep vice president and general manager, said having an internal mobility programme could increase employee retention and engagement while lessening time lost to decreased productivity and "reducing competitive intelligence leakage" from former employees moving to competitor companies.

“Successful internal mobility programmes help hiring managers learn about the skills, experiences and aspirations of internal candidates, while employees learn about new roles that will allow them contribute to the organisation in new and different ways," he added.

Jeanne MacDonald, president of global talent acquisition solutions at Futurestep, said: “In addition to solid external recruiting efforts, we see internal mobility as one of the keys to success in any recruitment initiative. In today’s “always-on” highly technical workplace, it’s increasingly difficult to find qualified talent. Giving current employees the opportunity and the mechanisms to reach for new positions will help ensure an effective workforce now and into the future.”

However, while having an internal mobility programme was recognised as useful for retention and recruitment, 55 per cent said conducting an external search was still the most effective way of finding qualified job candidates. The remainder, 45 per cent, said an internal search was most effective.

Marzo added that employers developing an internal recruitment programme should think about how it will work. "Employers should take into consideration the habits of their employees and think creatively about ways to build community and engagement."

He said this could include leveraging outbound content marketing techniques to deliver personalised content, promoting internal mobility programmes and continuously reminding employees of the opportunities to further their career. 

John Smith, manager at recruitment company Astbury Marsden, said the findings were in line with its own research which had indicated that strong internal mobility programmes can be a highly effective retention tool.

“Moving talented employees to different functions or offices within an organisation is preferable to losing them to a competitor. Hiring internally also cuts down the cost and time involved with bringing in an external candidate. An internal candidate will be familiar with an organisation’s culture and way of operating, meaning the transition is likely to be smoother.”

“There needs to be more support for formal, structured internal mobility programmes from line management and HR directors. The opportunities available need to be promoted to talented employees who might think that they need to look elsewhere for rapid career progression.”