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How to reduce employee turnover through an internal mobility program

Jul 12, 2021
Industry Region Resource Type

This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for stats and relevancy.

Here's the good news: 77% of companies focus on employee experience (EX) to increase retention according to LinkedIn's Global Talent Trends 2020 report. The not so good news? Only 52% say their company provides a positive employee experience. These 50/50 odds mean employees are receptive toward other job offers that may come along. And what happens if the company that your employees are considering joining offers more than your organization can? In today’s workplace, it has become apparent that all job seekers are “active” (even the passive ones) in the sense that should a recruiter reach out or a new opportunity present itself, people are more willing to take the time to learn more about it. 

The issue here isn’t that their current employer isn't giving them everything they need and more. They may be trading up, fulfilling their needs quicker by accepting a job elsewhere or just ready for something different.

By implementing an internal mobility program, you’ll reduce employee turnover and be able to use this program as an attractive recruiting solution. 

Read more: What are the benefits of an internal mobility program?

The power of internal mobility to reduce employee turnover

In today's candidate-driven market, hiring has become increasingly centered around what employers can offer job seekers and not the other way around. A way to retain top talent is through internal mobility programs, which help employees move careers and continue learning from within a single organization rather than jumping to the next place to get what they couldn't at their current job.

While the needs of every organization vary, internal mobility programs entail the following -- and by doing so, reduce employee turnover:

  • Encouraging employees to take ownership of their workday: Giving employees the ability to plan their career goals gives a strong sense of ownership in everyday work. This incentivizes them to work diligently toward achieving their career dreams.
  • Providing trust and emotional intelligence from leadership: The opportunity for leaders to communicate their confidence in employees and their abilities empowers them to exceed performance. It also helps employees feel comfortable stretching outside their normal job function and participating in other projects to expand their skill set -- ultimately rewarding the company and its business development as well.
  • Prioritizing the nurturing of top talent: Growth and variety are essential for current employees just as much as they are for job seekers. As an employer, be sure you're reassuring with action behind additional learning opportunities and advancement so you keep top talent engaged.
  • Redeploying employees to different parts of the business based on their career goals: One of the largest barriers to internal recruiting is managers don't want to let go of good talent (70% according to LinkedIn data). Change starts with leadership, and managers need to be more comfortable losing their top talent, at the risk of losing them to the business entirely. 
  • Increasing access to employee training for higher satisfaction: If a company is shown to invest in an employee, they will feel their contribution matters. While it doesn't completely rule out someone leaving, you can ensure they stay engaged and interested in projects this way. By creating a culture of learning and development, you'll continue attracting and retaining great talent.
  • Incorporating individual development plans (IDPs) for employee experience (EX): Providing employees the freedom to take ownership of their career paths will inspire great results. Discussing IDPs during quarterly check-ins are a way managers can collaborate with employees to craft new areas of the business and explore bigger realms of responsibility. Not only that, but doing so in a way that will benefit growth, innovation and business outcomes. This gives people the opportunity to either progress a traditional career path, make a lateral move or take a road less traveled -- it's a choose your own adventure, and who doesn't love that?
  • Gathering data from exit interviews to see common themes and rooms for improvement: Part of internal mobility is understanding why people are leaving and taking steps to correct it. The best thing you can do as a talent acquisition leader or employer is pinpoint these common pain points and act on them accordingly -- or else you'll continue losing more of your top performers.
  • Encouraging a culture where employees position your company as an employer of choice: Equally important to retaining top talent is your employment brand. By motivating your employees to be their authentic selves, they'll be willing to broadcast their experience and refer great talent to you. Like attracts like, after all.

Internal mobility has been shown to lower employee attrition and keep people invested and fulfilled in the work they do.  Invest in your culture, and it will invest back in the business with innovation and results.

Guide on internal mobility

Timothy Hobb

By Timothy Hobb

Timothy Hobb is the Director of Sales Operations at WilsonHCG. He graduated with a degree in marketing from the University of Tampa. Originally from Syracuse (and an avid SU basketball fan), Timothy is now based in New York. When he’s not finding the best talent for WIlsonHCG, he can be found exploring with his puppy Rowley, who he rescued from The Humane Society.