Since the beginning of The Great Resignation in April 2021, nearly 33 million employees have quit their jobs, leaving businesses scrambling to attract, select, engage, and retain talent. Now, talent mobility may be the solution.
In November alone, we saw record levels of resignation letters submitted. New research of more than 1,400 working Americans shows that turnover remains a significant risk over the next year, as only 44% intend to stay at their company. But there’s a great defense against this next wave of resignations: a well-informed talent mobility strategy.
Over the past year, there have been several factors driving the mass reshuffle, including the shifting attributes about what makes a good company, burnout from the seemingly never-ending pandemic, and new factors driving the employee experience. Many employees are finding it easier than ever to move into new roles at different companies.
Key drivers for engagement, loyalty
But employees don’t always have to look externally for the next opportunity. Consistently, career mobility, growth, and development are ranked among the key drivers of both employee engagement and retention. In fact, one in three employees applied for another job within their current company in the past year.
Encouraging talent mobility – an employee’s ability to move between roles within their company – is a cornerstone of strategic talent management.
Research from Josh Bersin Academy found that quickly redeploying talent is the most significant driver of financial performance for 53 practices studied during the pandemic. Organizations that managed talent mobility well were 4.4 times more likely to meet or exceed financial targets and 5.3 times more likely to provide meaningful work to the workforce.
While talent mobility might be the answer to help curb the Great Resignation, there are a few things organizations, and specifically HR teams, should keep in mind:
Fast track internal applicants
Internal applicants are also looking externally for their next opportunity. Research from Perceptyx shows that employees who applied for another job within their current company are 13 times more likely to also apply for an external opportunity compared to the two-thirds of employees who did not apply internally.
Internal applicants tend to be highly engaged – after all, they are looking for an opportunity to stay with their current company. This is in stark contrast to employees who only apply for external jobs, where only four out of 10 are highly engaged.
Losing a highly engaged employee can have dramatic effects on productivity and financial performance for companies. It’s essential to pay close attention to internal applicants and ensure their status is being closely tracked.
There’s intense competition for top talent, so some may go as far as fast-tracking and streamlining the hiring process for internal applicants. In today’s competitive job market, hiring speed is essential to win the war for your internal talent.
Prepare for the growing mass of “the overlooked and disappointed.” More than half of internal applicants were offered a job. Regardless of whether they accepted or declined the offer, 75% are highly engaged and 60% intend to stay at the organization for at least the next year, the Perceptyx study found.
The results were strikingly different for internal applicants who were not offered the job. Of those, only half are highly engaged and less than 30% intend to stay at the organization. Although internal applicants are a highly engaged group, those who fail to get the job are the most disengaged and likely to leave the organization in the coming months.
Nobody likes to receive negative feedback, and for many internal applicants, that’s where the message stops. Companies need to go beyond the “we regret to inform you” letters. You can sit with current employees to provide developmental feedback on why they weren’t offered this position and where they might go from here. This candid conversation may still send them to their next role outside of the organization. But the care shown will send employees on to their next job with a different impression of the manager, team and company.
Remember those who’ve left
Gone should not mean forgotten. Employees would consider returning to 72% of the employers they left over the past five years, if given the opportunity. Half said they have regretted leaving a former employer, according to the Perceptyx study.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Another consideration is that top talent, even when poached, is a great source of future talent. While employees may accept jobs outside of the organization, they might recommend their former organization, representing a win for companies.
Company alumni may be temporarily gone from the organization. But you can include them in continuous listening strategy to send a powerful message that:
- they are not forgotten
- their feedback is valuable, and
- you are open to “boomerang” alumni when the opportunity is right for the individual and the organization.
Re-engaging with past employees to fill hard-to-source positions is a great strategy for success. This talent has been previously vetted. These candidates can hit the ground running because they already know how to navigate the culture and be successful.
Focus on the experience
With more employees voluntarily quitting their jobs each month, employers are rightly concerned about how to fill their open positions. But there is a silver lining. Organizations must be willing to examine the employee experience through the lens of talent mobility.
That means tracking them through employee the life cycle – from attraction and application to employment, performance management and exit. The next great hire could already be down the hall (or in your Zoom meeting). Connecting the dots between the moments that matter in the employee experience will uncover barriers that inhibit success.