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9 Internal Mobility Best Practices

9 Internal Mobility Best Practices


As a Life Science recruiter or hiring manager, internal mobility is something you should be paying attention to in 2022. According to LinkedIn, companies that excel at internal mobility are able to retain employees almost 2x longer than companies who don’t (5.4 years compared to 2.9 years).
  • Author Company: PharmiWeb.Jobs
  • Author Name: Lucy Walters
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Editor: Lucy Walters Last Updated: 11-Nov-2022

As a Life Science recruiter or hiring manager, internal mobility is something you should be paying attention to in 2022. According to LinkedIn, companies that excel at internal mobility are able to retain employees almost 2x longer than companies who don’t (5.4 years compared to 2.9 years). Internal mobility has also been found to be the third biggest motivator for employees planning to stay in their current position, with 65% of employees agreeing that they would leave their organisation if internal mobility wasn’t allowed.

Despite this, 33% of employees say they aren’t being encouraged to pursue new roles internally, and 54% of workers actively looking for a new job haven’t looked at their current company for a new position.

To help you develop your internal mobility strategy, we’ve put together this list of 9 internal mobility best practices to help you retain top Life Science talent

Think Long-Term

Don’t approach internal mobility as a short-term fix to filling hard-to-fill roles. Making it a permanent part of your company culture can help with your future talent attraction activities, so it’s worth taking the time to form a long-term strategy.

Develop Your Internal Taskforce

Before you begin work on your strategy, ensure you’ve got the resources to make internal mobility a permanent part of your organisation’s culture. Depending on budgets, you may want to either build a full internal recruiting team, appoint one or two individuals to manage internal hiring, or retrain existing hiring staff on the benefits of internal mobility.

Your line managers should also be treated as part of your internal taskforce, as they’ll be the ones having conversations with their employees about their career goals, and the paths available to them. Managers may be reluctant to let their top talent go to another team/department, so ensure they’re aware of the benefits of internal mobility for the entire organisation.

Consider All the Different Types of Internal Mobility

It’s not just about giving employees promotions or encouraging them to transfer from one job function to another. It can also mean:

  • Creating new roles
  • Job rotations
  • Mentoring and shadowing
  • Cross-training employees

Consider both vertical and lateral mobility and create these opportunities at all levels of your organisation.

Consider Internal Mobility at Every Stage of the Employee Journey

Before an employee joins your organisation, ensure you’ve got a full list of all of their key skills, not just those required for the role. Use this to create an internal skills database to help you identify where movement could occur. You should also include internal mobility in the onboarding process; outlining the key benefits, how to find and apply for internal opportunities, and which types of opportunities are available.

During employment, use 1:1 meetings to understand what your employees need, and to open up conversations around internal mobility. Take the time to understand how you can develop your employees, and how you can help them achieve their goals.

If an employee wants to leave your organisation to transition into a new job function, remind them of internal opportunities and show genuine support for their career goals. Don’t try to make them stay in their current role with promises of a pay rise or other benefit, as this is a short-term fix and will only make your employees unhappy and unproductive in the long run.

Make the Most of Technology

You may want to consider creating an internal job board that connects your employees with internal positions. You could also make the most of AI and interactive technology that allows employees to map out their skills, click through the different career paths available to them, and identify any areas they need to work on to meet their goals.

You can also use technology to showcase internal mobility for talent attraction purposes. On their website, Johnson & Johnson use interactive timelines to highlight career growth within their organisation, using real case studies from their employees. The timelines are colour coded to clearly show how employees can move between divisions, and also show where the employees have moved geographically.

Communicate Your Policies Clearly

Don’t make internal opportunities something your employees have to hunt down in the depths of your staff intranet. Instead, make employees aware of the latest opportunities by communicating them via email, posting them on a physical or virtual pinboard, and ensuring all line managers are kept informed of what types of opportunities are coming up.

Make your policies consistent across all levels of your organisation, and when changes are made to these policies, ensure all staff are made aware.

Offer Autonomy Over Learning and Development

When it comes to training your employees, don’t just pick out one course that everyone on your team must complete. Instead, also understand the areas your employees want to develop, and give them autonomy over their learning by allowing them to find courses, etc., to complete themselves. As with any training, ensure you have a way of measuring knowledge acquisition, and that you’re keeping track of your employees’ growing skillsets.

Stay Competitive

Especially in today’s competitive job market, employers are offering candidates highly competitive packages to bring them into the company. 79% of L&D professionals agree that it’s less expensive to reskill a current employee than to hire a new one, but this doesn’t mean you should be offering your employees the bare minimum to stay. Keep track of what’s on offer in the market and offer your internal hires a fair package that won’t leave them tempted to move elsewhere.

Measure Your Success

Prove that internal mobility works by tracking the impact on your retention rates and using successful internal hires as case studies for future investment in these policies. Use employee feedback to understand what does and doesn’t work with your strategy, and continuously look for new ways to retain your top talent.