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Career Pathways and Internal Mobility

A strategic response to the ever-tightening labor market

January 21, 2022 by Cassondra Martinez

Filling open postings in today’s labor market is tough, but career pathways and internal mobility efforts can help! If you’re on a hiring team, chances are you are experiencing difficulty in filling open roles. The hiring process is time-consuming and exhausting, not to mention expensive. As businesses face a shortage of people in the workforce, many are turning to a new strategy: internal recruiting.

Using skills data to fuel your internal recruiting strategy

If your existing internal recruiting strategy looks like an internal job posting and an email blast to current employees, it’s time to level up. Organizations of any size can use skills data to target recruiting efforts. Creating strategic career pathways maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of your internal recruiting efforts. 

graphic using skills data to fuel an internal mobility strategy

How does this work? Start by normalizing roles across the company. Then, build skill profiles for each of the roles in your organization. Finally, target recruiting to people whose skill profiles fit the position you are trying to fill.

  1. Normalize roles
  2. Build skill profiles
  3. Target internal recruiting

1. Normalize roles

First, normalize roles. The same role may have different titles across various industries and companies. It’s hard to compare apples to oranges, so normalizing roles helps to compare across industry benchmarks and track skills. Normalizing roles also enables organizations to simplify job titles and be more competitive in recruitment.

2. Build skill profiles

Then, gather the current skills of the roles in your workforce. Many companies start by trying to survey their employees for what skills they have. However, this approach can be inaccurate, unreliable, and becomes outdated quickly. To combat this, employers can start by building skill profiles of roles first. By first identifying what skills are needed for each role, employers can ensure skill profiles are built around the role, not the employee. 

Creating skill profiles for the roles in your company allows you to assess if the existing employees’ skills in a specific role accurately match the skills needed for the role. In addition, you now know who has what skills, and how those skills can transfer to other roles.

3. Target internal recruiting

Now that you’ve created your skill profiles and normalized your roles, you are equipped with the data needed to make informed decisions about the next steps. You have a few options: (1) contract labor or freelancers, (2) borrowing and long-term solutions such as (3) career pathways and internal mobility.

Contract laborers or freelancers. Contract laborers or freelancers are great resources to tap into when you need to fill a skill gap temporarily. These employees are typically cheaper in the long run than full-time employees, as they can be hired by the task or a specific time commitment, and you aren’t responsible for their benefits.

In addition, they may possess skills that internal employees do not have. Ultimately, an organization has to weigh out options and decide if this route is the best fit for filling an open position. 

Borrowing. You can also temporarily “borrow” an employee by shifting them from their typical job duties to fill in for the urgent needs of an open role. For example, if the office manager has project management skills, that person may be borrowed to help manage a project in another department.

However, when pulling people from their regular responsibilities, it is important to remove the same, if not more, responsibilities from their plate before adding new ones. This route may be more cost-effective, but it disrupts the regular workflow. Keep in mind the interests of your employees, and make sure you have a long-term solution, if needed. 

Career pathways and internal mobility. If there’s a position that requires a long-term solution, review your skill profile data to find transferable skills in other roles.  With this information, you can craft a career pathway that upskills or reskills an existing employee for the position you need.

Crafting career paths for employees with objective skills data has several benefits. For one, it helps eliminate bias in recruiting for positions, identifying promotion opportunities, and salary adjustments. Because role skill profiles are filtered by objective skills, no demographic data is tied to employees in those roles.  In addition, assessing the history of how people move can uncover unique routes employees have taken to get to the position they are in. 

Looking ahead

The future of work and recruiting is artificial intelligence working in the background. All employees and roles will have skill profiles built before they walk in the door. Then, when it is time to hire, software will formulate suggestions based on objective data regarding new hires or internal transfers. Organizations can prepare for this shift by implementing skill profile data now. 

Overall, you have to weigh the most cost- and time-effective strategy for your organization. Typically, entry-level positions are easier for a company to hire out for. So that open role that is left after a few employees shift to fill other positions? It feels a lot less daunting to fill when it now is an entry-level position that can be hired or contracted out to a freelancer. In addition, other employees are being pushed forward in their career pathways, gaining skills within the company and feeling a greater sense of belonging and appreciation (and don’t have to be retrained on countless things like company software or IT logins). It truly is a win-win for everyone!

Want to learn more about how to use data to drive your internal recruiting strategy? Fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch!

 

Cassondra Martinez

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