How to ensure internal mobility

Sarah, a dedicated employee with several years of successful current experience, was facing a career decision. While she had grown professionally in her current role she was feeling bored. She wondered if internal mobility into a new job that aligned with her strengths was a possibility.

She discovered a cross-functional team training opportunity within the organization launched by the VP of Operations who was charged with transitioning the organization from being hierarchical to more collaborative. Sarah saw it as a chance to pursue her interest in project management, a field she had always been drawn to but hadn’t yet explored in-depth. The thought of being part of cross-functional teams, facilitating collaboration, and participating in complex initiatives, however,  excited her.

Upon acceptance into the program, Sarah quickly immersed herself in training. She found that her innate organizational skills that she successfully used to pull off volunteer projects in the past and meticulous attention to detail were tremendous assets for placement on cross-functional teams. Her ability to communicate effectively and build rapport with team members supported a collaborative work environment that encouraged innovation and creative problem-solving.

Over time, Sarah’s decision to stay with the organization and embrace cross-functional team projects proved to be a wise one. She not only acquired skills and honed her strengths but also contributed significantly to the success of cross-functional operations. The VP of Operations recognized her dedication and later encouraged her to sit for her project management exam.

Sarah’s journey is a testament to the power of internal mobility. It demonstrates that with the right opportunities and alignment with one’s strengths, employees can find renewed purpose and fulfillment within the same organization.  Internal mobility nurtures talent, encourages personal and professional growth, and fosters a culture of continuous learning and development.

What is required to put internal mobility onto cross-functional teams into practice?

Implementing internal mobility effectively within an organization requires careful change planning and commitment and accountability for plan execution. It also involves a well-structured framework that includes training in successful group processes when cross-functional team inclusion is the goal.

Here are the key elements and steps required to put internal mobility into practice broken down by Legal, Executive, and Human Resource and Operations cross-functional collaborations.

Legal and Compliance requirements for internal mobility:

Ensure that internal mobility practices comply with employment laws and regulations. Address any legal and compliance requirements related to transfers, promotions, or job changes. Be able to communicate this succinctly and convincingly throughout the organization, during culture behavior onboarding and in your employee handbook.

Executive Team requirements for internal mobility:

  • Leadership Buy-In: Leadership support is crucial for successful internal mobility programs. Senior leaders must actively champion and participate in the program to set an example for the rest of the organization.
  • Clear Organizational Culture and Values: A strong organizational culture that values learning, growth, and internal talent development is foundational. The Executive team must communicate the importance of internal mobility in alignment with the company’s values.
  • Supportive Managers: Train and educate managers on the benefits of internal mobility and their role in facilitating employee transitions and cross-training. Managers should actively support employees in their career development journeys. Mentorship and group coaching programs designed for training transfer such as Learning Circles are beneficial.
  • Communication and Transparency: Communication is key to the success of internal mobility programs. Clearly communicate the program’s benefits, eligibility criteria, and available opportunities to all employees. Transparency in the selection process is essential to maintain trust and the spirit of interdependence.
  • Executive Appointment:  Appoint a member from the Executive Team with a change and project background to work with the Director of Human resources to set into place key practices that also track return on the investment going forward. Make this a part of this individual’s annual goals and measured performance  as with all members of the executive team.

Human Resource and Operations partnership:

  • Internal Mobility Policies: Develop clear and transparent internal mobility policies that outline the process, eligibility criteria, and expectations for employees interested in exploring new roles or departments.
  • Skills Assessment: Implement a skills assessment process to identify employees’ strengths, competencies, and areas for development. This assessment helps match employees with suitable internal opportunities.
  • Talent Development Plans: Create individualized talent development plans for employees interested in internal mobility. These plans should outline the skills and experiences required for the desired roles and a timeline for achieving them. Ensure that managers are trained  to implement this within their departments and tie this to their annual performance goals.
  • Job Postings and Internal Job Boards: Establish a system for posting internal job opportunities and promoting them through an internal job board or platform. Ensure that these postings include clear job descriptions, qualifications, and application procedures.
  • Employee Training and Development: Invest in training and development programs such as learning circles that align with internal mobility goals.  Provide resources such as workshops, courses, mentoring, and coaching to help employees prepare for new roles. In the case of cross-functional teams, train on effective group process and give successful candidates facilitated learning circle problems to solve that favorably impact tracked cost savings and productivity improvements for return on investment.
  • Feedback and Performance Evaluation: Regularly assess employee performance at all levels of operation and provide feedback to help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. Performance evaluations should be used as a tool for guiding career development discussions. Recognition for achievement, however, must be timely and as close to an occurrence as possible so that employees know how they are doing on an ongoing basis.
  • Data and Analytics: Implement data tracking and analytics to measure the effectiveness of internal mobility initiatives. Monitor metrics such as the number of internal moves, employee satisfaction, and retention rates along with cost savings and productivity improvements to gauge the program’s impact. This also includes being able to staff backlogged operations with cross-trained employees who can be acquired from other departments in an short term emergency crunch.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and refine the internal mobility program based on feedback and data insights. Continuously adapt to changing organizational needs for innovation and industry trends.

By incorporating these elements and steps into your organizational practices, you can establish a robust internal mobility program that not only benefits individual employees but also contributes to the overall success and agility of the organization. Sarah’s story isn’t new. Perhaps you share her experience.  It is becoming more common in collaborative operations with executive team members who are held accountable for internal mobility success.

Care to dig deeper into this conversation?

Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

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