New Research: The New Era of Internal Mobility

The past three years accelerated the demand for internal mobility solutions. The movement of talent into new positions is not a new trend. Companies have been hyper-focused on internal mobility and career progression at various times periods of uncertainty. For many companies, internal mobility offers the perfect panacea to challenges facing both recruitment and retention by bridging the candidate and employee experiences and reducing turnover.

We launched a new study on internal mobility this year. And, despite this increased focus on internal mobility over the past few years, only one in four companies are confident with their strategies moving forward and 77% have lost talent due to a lack of career development opportunities. Many organizations have adopted a superficial approach to internal mobility by promoting jobs through internal career sites without offering individuals opportunities and development. For other companies, lack of ownership creates barriers for implementing programs and technology.

Fortunately, some companies are turning to skills-based internal mobility and prioritizing how they reskill and upskill their workforce to adapt to the future of work. They are empowering employees, leveraging technology, and encouraging collaboration across multiple stakeholders. A skills-based approach to internal mobility can help connect talent to the right opportunities, personalize the experience, and continuously update with every interaction. It transforms internal mobility from an employer-led initiative to a talent-first strategy.

As companies look to 2023, internal mobility needs to be more than a rally cry. It needs to be a clearly defined strategic investment that is less about moving an individual from job A to job B and more about driving value for the employee.

Here are some of the key findings from our latest study in partnership with Workday.

Metrics that matter: Companies need to consider a new set of metrics for measuring the success of internal mobility. Metrics should incentivize managers and recruiters to provide growth and opportunities for employees while supporting broader DEI and company objectives.

Internal mobility needs to be talent first: Current internal mobility strategies require employees to do most of the work to find their next opportunities for development. Companies promote jobs and employees are left on their own to find what might be next. The next era of internal mobility must make it simple for employees to understand their opportunities and develop the skills they need to be successful.

Internal mobility must empower hiring teams: One in two recruiters are feeling burned out this year and hiring teams are feeling additional pressure to find quality talent quickly. Internal mobility must be talent first, but it also must empower hiring teams by lifting the administrative burden and making it easier to find talent.

Internal mobility must provide personalization: Most companies are not personalizing internal mobility. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of internal candidates go through the same process as external candidates. Internal candidates are treated like strangers to their employer and often do not receive a response.

Internal mobility is most successful when it involves multiple stakeholders: Nearly 50% of companies stated that leadership and CHROs are either owning or directly responsible for internal mobility efforts. They are driving these initiatives and looking to work closely with key stakeholders and creating opportunities for employees.

Skills are a priority: According to this study, 82% of companies identified skills as a priority. Companies are increasing their investment in skills this year and the number one driver is to provide more career development opportunities for talent.


Key Takeaways from Eightfold’s Cultivate Event

Last week I attended Eightfold’s Cultivate event in San Francisco. It was an impressive two days focused on the trends impacting HR Technology and the future of work, including skills, AI, and talent intelligence. One theme that stood out was the need to embrace change. With the shifts in the labor market and economic uncertainty, companies need to innovate and rethink traditional processes and technology. Companies at this event were asking the tough questions, finding a better way, and creating agile workforce strategies that harness skills and the power of AI.

Eightfold has set the pace for change and transformation in HR Tech. Its skills-based approach gives companies a complete view of talent while empowering individuals to control their career paths. Its platform includes solutions across talent acquisition, talent management, and contingent workforce management (Flex). These pillars are built on a talent intelligence platform which includes a skills matrix, explainable AI, and talent insights. And last week, Eightfold launched its Skills-Based Talent Planning- allowing companies to stay prepared and agile in determining short and long-term talent needs.

With over 1B profiles, 1M skills, and 1M titles, Eightfold has access to more data and intelligence than most of its competitors. Here are my top takeaways from Cultivate.

A Skills-Based Approach to Talent is Not Optional: Every company attending this conference was focused on a skills-based approach to talent. Skills are not a passing trend. It is the number one conversation happening in HR Technology today, and organizations that adopt a skills-first approach will be included. CEO Ashutosh Garg kicked off the event by discussing how skills and the power of AI are changing the nature of work. A skills-based approach can help connect talent to the right opportunities, personalize the experience, and provide more visibility into the workforce’s capabilities. Employers benefit from improved efficiency and stronger talent pools, while individuals benefit from greater opportunities to control their career paths. Skills provide a roadmap for the future and a bridge between talent acquisition and talent management. Aptitude Research found that companies that invest in skills development are:

● Twice as likely to improve retention

● Twenty-eight percent (28%) more likely to improve DEI initiatives

Skill-Based Talent Planning: One of the most exciting takeaways from the event was the announcement of Eightfold’s Skills-Based Talent Planning. This product was heavily influenced by customer input and direction and aimed to give companies the data and action they needed to plan. Many companies do not have visibility into talent, and workforce planning uses Excel spreadsheets once a year. As a result, decisions are made rapidly without any data or insights, often resulting in losing quality talent, layoffs, and missed opportunities. A skills-based approach to strategic workforce planning allows business leaders to understand how macro trends impact the needs of their organization. Eightfold feeds this insight into its Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, and Talent Flex solutions, allowing organizations to execute skills-based talent strategies at scale. Our latest study on strategic workforce planning found that although 85% of companies are investing the same or increasing their investment, only 14% take a strategic, long-term approach to their workforce planning initiatives. A skills-based approach is a game changer. It goes beyond providing insights and gives companies an action plan. Some of the benefits and differentiators include:

  • Scenario planning for the time required for skills and proficiency to develop in existing and emerging areas;
  • Redesign roles for the future and plan for how organizations should evolve over time;
  • Capture progress and fully execute on a coordinated talent plan by integrating with Eightfold Talent Acquisition, Career Hub, and the entire Talent Intelligence Platform.

Companies Need to Consider Providers with a Strong Commitment to Responsible AI: Companies invest in AI in talent acquisition and management, but not all AI providers are the same. Companies must consider ethical AI as they evaluate providers and understand if products operate transparently, are backed by explanations, describe the methodology, and frequently publish data. In addition, responsible AI builds confidence with employers and candidates who want to understand how their data is used. Scott Sumner with the Defense Innovation Unit under the Department of Defense (DoD) shared how responsible AI was an important consideration when evaluating Eightfold as the provider for its GigEagle program. GigEagle using Eightfold’s AI matching will increase DoD’s ability to effectively leverage its abundance of talent currently locked into supporting singular units. In addition, GigEagle will focus on staffing short-term “gig” project needs, ranging from four hours to several months, many of which can be staffed remotely.

Partnerships are Helping to Drive Change: Eightfold and its clients are not operating in a vacuum. They are part of a larger ecosystem that drives change and transformation in how companies recruit and retain talent. Partners that include Deloitte, EY, and Magnit are partnering with Eightfold to provide a skills strategy for clients to ensure they are changing their mindset and optimizing their technology investments.

It is an exciting time to be in HR Tech!


Countdown to the HR Technology Conference: Skills-Based Hiring

It is hard to believe that the HR Technology Conference is only 8 weeks away. I love this conference and the opportunity to reconnect with friends and learn about new (and old) technology providers. I am thrilled to be presenting new research at the event and I will be posting a series of blogs leading up to September on TA tech trends.

This first post will focus on a topic that is gaining momentum in talent acquisition… skills-based hiring. Every provider seems to be using skills in their marketing messaging, but few providers have invested in a robust skills ontology and capabilities to improve both the employer and candidate experiences.

Skills are quickly becoming the currency for the future of work. A skills-based approach can help connect talent to the right opportunities, personalize the experience, and provide more visibility into the capabilities of the workforce. Employers benefit from improved efficiency and stronger talent pools, while individuals benefit from greater opportunities to control their career paths. Skills provide a roadmap for the future and a bridge between talent acquisition and talent management.

We published a study (in partnership with Beamery) and found that companies that invest in skills development are:

  • Twice as likely to improve retention
  • Thirty-four percent (34%) more likely to improve quality of hire
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) more likely to improve DEI initiatives

Skills level the playing field for both internal and external talent. Evaluating skills means looking      beyond what is found on a resume or employee profile to get deeper insights about the individual. But, many companies are not always clear where to start with skills development. Lack of ownership and confusion around how technology fits in have added to this uncertainty. Talent marketplaces are gaining momentum as the vehicle to deliver a skills-based approach, yet not every company understands the impact of these solutions. For companies to compete for talent and provide fair and equitable experiences, skills must be part of the equation.

Here are some of the key findings from our research…

The Demand for Skills Is Being Driven From the Top: The focus on skills development is being driven by executives and CHROs. According to this study, 65% of CHROs say that upskilling and reskilling is the most important priority for 2022. CHROs are two times more likely to be involved in technology decisions that focus on skills than other areas of TA technology and 75% are interested in talent marketplaces to deliver on a skills strategy. CHROs are setting the course but oftentimes, talent acquisition and talent management must execute the strategy. Realistic expectations and clear communication will help these leaders achieve results and provide a more successful approach to skills.

Skills Unify a Talent Strategy: With equal pressure to recruit and retain, talent acquisition and talent management often still operate in silos with competing interests. A skills-based approach helps unify talent acquisition and talent management initiatives – providing consistency in data and experiences. Companies must empower their talent teams with a focus on skills. According to this study, companies with a skills-based approach see greater collaboration between talent acquisition and talent management.

Not All Providers Are Approaching Skills the Same Way: Technology allows companies to scale their approach to skills, provide opportunities and personalization to every individual, and leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to draw deeper insights. Most importantly, it provides context to skills by inferring insights about the individual and employer. Although several technology solutions are aiming to address skills today, not every solution provides value. A successful skills-based approach requires a commitment from a solution provider to build a skills ontology, invest in talent intelligence, and apply AI inference so that skills are dynamic and personalized. With companies increasing their investment in skills, they must carefully consider providers that demonstrate expertise.

A Skills-Based Approach Benefits Employers and Individuals: Skills are not just a benefit to an organization. They give employees the resources they need to manage their careers and provide more opportunities for personalization and inclusivity. To truly understand an individual, however, companies should not stop with skills. They should consider the qualities that will make someone successful and happy in the work they are doing.

Skills Can Greatly Impact Internal Mobility Efforts:  The most obvious use case for a skills-based approach is internal mobility. Companies are looking for better ways to promote and develop their workforce while supporting talent acquisition initiatives. With 70% of companies increasing their investment in internal mobility efforts, many are just promoting jobs or leveraging internal career sites. Skills offer a more substantial approach to internal mobility by providing employers with a deeper understanding of their workforce and empowering individuals with the tools they need to be successful.

Providers to watch (in alphabetical order): Beamery, Boostrs, Eightfold, HiredScore, Oracle, TaTio, TechWolf, Workday