Outsourcing mobility: What if your next great hire already works for you?
by Neil Dixon, Head of Client Services, Alexander Mann Solutions
Identifying, engaging and hiring great talent can be challenging in the best of times. If we have a gap in our team, our first thought is often towards exploring the external market and how to successfully attract new talent. While we might well post the roles internally, this can often be seen as a tick-box activity rather than an authentic enquiry. Not seeing your internal talent as your first route to market is a missed opportunity.
A Deloitte study from 2018 found that organizations that promoted internally were 32% more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their hire and that it can take up to 2 years for performance reviews of external hires to reach those of their internal counterparts.
At Alexander Mann Solutions, we have always recognised internal mobility as a strategic priority for successful talent acquisition programmes and we have helped clients build a variety of internal hiring models – all designed to champion internal talent. One of my first assignments with AMS, over 15 years ago was as part of an internal mobility solution for a global engineering business. The organisation had multiple different business lines that were all run as separate entities and AMS provided the link between them, identifying transferable skills and plugging gaps to fill live roles.
The focus of our team was very much on enabling talent to cross-over business boundaries and in so doing, ensuring hiring managers view talent and skills as transferable commodities.
Fast forward 15 years and the importance internal mobility hasn’t gone away. Indeed, given the changes in traditional careers and the shorter tenure individuals now expect to spend with organisations, hiring great talent into the organisation but then also developing and moving this talent around is more important than ever. Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott explore this idea in their book, The 100 Year Life, as individuals enjoy multiple careers over a 60-70 year working life making frequent pivots and shorter stints the norm.
So, there is a substantial competitive advantage for the organisation that gets employee mobility right. If you can create opportunities for talent to pivot and try new things, you’ll keep that talent engaged and likely employed with you for longer. We’ve already seen an acceleration of this activity in the era of Covid-19, with organisations rapidly transitioning current employees to cover skill gaps, avoiding redundancies and saving on hiring external hiring costs in the process.
As companies look beyond Covid-19, a more agile approach to job architecture and employee mobility may – and should – become the rule. Companies will need to develop strategies and implement programmes that allow talent to more easily move through the organisation, with TA teams likely adopting an internal ‘headhunting’ approach for key skills and capabilities.
The onus will also be on hiring managers to invest in internal talent and work with peers to create opportunities for on-the-job skills transfers. Longer term, the lessons of Covid-19 are likely to fast-track the view of job-architecture and how traits like openness to change are as important as hard skills when assessing talent. Evaluating these capabilities in your existing employees, who are already on the journey with you, will be a lot easier than looking for it externally.
Whatever the future holds, I think now more than ever it warrants more critical thinking about your approach to internal talent.