No matter what the current situation is in today’s market for talent, it is important to ensure that employees can pursue career opportunities. Pew Research found that 63% of employees quit their jobs in 2021 due to a lack of advancement opportunities.

Both employees and employers benefit from career opportunities. Employees want to be able to see a pathway to their career goals. Employees want to know that the company is investing in their future. Employers benefit from having available employees to fill openings as they arise. These employees are familiar with the company and its systems. Things related to customers and products, as well as daily operations, are things most people learn over time. Current employees already know them.

There are 4 types of internal mobility.

Internal mobility is the movement of employees within an organization. We think about internal mobility in terms of promotions, laterals and demotions.

  1. Promotions occur when an employee accepts a role with more responsibilities. This usually comes with additional compensation, benefits, or perks.
  2. Laterals occur when an employee is promoted to a role with similar responsibilities. The pay and benefits are roughly the same.
  3. Not only are demotions for low-performing employees. An employee could accept a demotion even though it appears that it is a one. However, the employee will get the work experience they wouldn’t otherwise have. Employees may also be able to get help with their personal needs, such as caregiving or parenting, by being demoted.
  4. A promotion, lateral or demotion could be considered. This is when an employee moves to another department or location within the company.

Each of these activities achieves a goal for both the employee and the company. Internal mobility must be part of the company’s talent strategy. However, it takes trust and time to cultivate a culture that encourages internal mobility.

TIME: Internal mobility involves creating effective processes

The good news is that there are already internal mobility processes. These include job posting, job bidding and replacement planning.

  • Job posting allows employees to post open jobs and express their interests.
  • You can either informally or formally bid for a job. This is when employees can express their interest in future opportunities. This is something I have seen a lot in sales departments. A sales representative requests to be considered for a position as a sales manager.
  • Replacement Planning is identifying people who could fill a role if it is needed immediately. If the vice president for human resources leaves tomorrow, who will take over that position? With minimal training, the individual should be able and willing to assume the responsibility.
  • Succession Planning is identifying people for future roles and then developing them to take on that role when it becomes available. This is different from replacement planning because it allows for the development of an employee.
  • Talent pools consist of high-performing and high-potential employees trained for future roles. However, the roles may not be defined. A group of call centre employees might attend a management development course, but they aren’t sure which call centre they will be assigned to in the future.

As I said, it takes time and effort to create and make these programs work within an organization. Some of these programs, such as job bidding, could be relatively easy to implement. However, other processes, such as succession planning, can be very intense.

TRUST: Employees must trust internal mobility processes

Trust is more important than the time required to implement and manage these internal mobility activities. Employees must trust these processes, or they will not be used.

  • Transparency. Before they express an interest in a job, employees will want to understand the process. For example, How do I apply? Do I need first to speak with my manager? What are my options for asking questions?
  • Fairness. If employees want to be considered for a job, they want to know that the process will be fair and that they will be treated fairly. Employees also want to know that their new salary and benefits will be fair if they get the job.
  • Support. Although an employee might not be able to request support at the right time, they want to know that the organization will not hold them back – during and after the operation.
  • Honesty. It is the responsibility of HR to discuss with the employee the reasons why they were not selected or qualified. Employee success is a commitment by the organization. These are learning opportunities.


By Vicki

‘HR Shopper’ has a 10 years of experience in management and HR in top 2 global MNC’s. Understanding the employee needs as well as organization productivity she adopts the techniques that create perfect balance satisfying the needs of both.

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