Countdown to HRTech: Internal Mobility

Internal mobility is the next topic for my blog series in the Countdown to the HR Technology Conference. Internal mobility is a strategic priority for any company looking to recruit better, engage, and retain talent. According to Aptitude Research, 70% of companies have increased their investment in internal mobility compared to 58% of companies in 2020. And, 1 in 2 companies has increased the number of internal hires this year.

The movement of talent into different positions is not new. Companies have been hyper-focused on internal mobility and career progression during various periods of uncertainty. Internal mobility becomes the go-to strategy when hiring slows down or turnover spikes. But today, companies have adjusted their responsibilities, strategies, and technology. Internal mobility is no longer an isolated activity or a quick fix during a time of transition. It is a critical part of any talent strategy and the intersection between talent acquisition and employee experience.

But, most internal mobility programs fail before they begin. Many companies rely on traditional methods of moving employees across their organization without providing a fair, equitable, and personalized experience. So, internal candidates are treated like strangers. We found that:

  • Only 1 in 2 companies personalize feedback and learning opportunities for internal candidates
  • 55% of internal candidates go through the same interview process as external candidates
  • Only 26% of companies personalize communication with internal candidates

How is Technology Improving Internal Mobility?

Fortunately, the technology landscape to support internal mobility has improved over the past few years. Companies are thinking beyond internal career sites and finding meaningful ways to empower employees. And skills are driving this new approach. Every single provider in this industry seems to be talking about internal mobility. Here are a few providers I have been impressed with this year (in alphabetical order):

  • Beamery: Beamery’s acquisition of Flux earlier this year strengthens its internal mobility capabilities and provides a talent marketplace for internal, external, and contingent talent.
  • Clickboarding: Companies must consider cross-boarding and the intersection of internal mobility and onboarding. Clickboarding provides improved experiences for both new hires and career transitions.
  • Eightfold: Eightfold’s AI-driven talent intelligence platform and skills-based approach gives employees internal career paths to help them reach their goals.
  • Gloat: Gloat’s talent marketplace connects employers with internal and external talent.
  • HiredScore:  Hiredscore looks at all talent options from the ATS, CRM, employees, VMS, and connected external databases to find the fairest slate for each role.
  • PageUp People: PageUp provides capabilities for both promoting internal jobs and personalizing experiences as well as developing employees through skills profiles and communication.
  • Paradox: Paradox’s use cases are expanding to internal mobility and employee experience. It provides employees simple, friendly, and immediate opportunities to learn about career paths and develop the right skills.
  • Phenom: Phenom’s employee experience platform helps employees identify their unique career paths based on their experiences, skills, and goals
  • Worqdrive: Worqdrive is a stand-alone internal mobility provider designed to improve the experience for both employees and recruiting teams.
  • Workday: Workday’s skills-based approach and talent marketplace help companies find the best talent and empower employees to manage their careers.

What are the Key Findings of the Research?

  1. Companies Must Do the Work: Companies should start with their processes, culture, and communication before investing in technology. With both core HR systems and best-of-breed talent acquisition providers offering advanced capabilities, it is tempting for companies to turn to technology before evaluating their own strategies. However, nearly 50% of companies stated that managers make it difficult to support internal mobility. This frustration is a cultural and process-driven challenge rather than a technology challenge.
  2. Internal Candidates Are Treated Like Strangers: Most companies are not personalizing the experience for internal talent. As a result, internal candidates are treated like strangers to their employers and often do not receive a response. Only 26% of companies personalize communication to internal candidates, and 55% of internal candidates go through the same interview process as external candidates. Companies that do not provide a personalized experience for internal candidates risk losing them completely if they do not receive the job.
  1. Companies Have Better Technology Options Today: The technology landscape for internal mobility has become crowded and complex. Only one in two companies are satisfied with the technology they use to support internal mobility. Fortunately, companies have better options to engage internal talent and provide growth opportunities. Companies adopting a skills-based approach should consider providers with robust skill frameworks and AI capabilities that infer skills beyond what is found on a profile.
  1. Ownership Is a Challenge: One in four companies stated that talent acquisition does not want responsibility for internal mobility. It often feels like more work with less direction and reward. Companies must shift the narrative around internal mobility and empower TA leaders with the necessary resources while incentivizing recruiting teams to hire internal and external talent. One company that we interviewed created a role in TA (internal recruiter) and a role in HR (Internal Career Support) to collaborate on internal mobility from both perspectives.
  1. Internal Mobility impacts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Eighty-five percent (85%) of companies stated that DEI is impacted by internal mobility. Companies have an opportunity to provide fair and equitable experiences for all employees with a strategic internal mobility approach. Yet, for companies that do not have a diverse workforce, internal mobility will not improve DEI. When internal mobility is incorporated into talent acquisition efforts, companies have greater visibility of DEI initiatives. 

Internal mobility has been a big focus of our research over the past year. I am excited to share these findings next month at HR Tech!

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency.

Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).