Talent Management

Fueling Talent Mobility Initiatives Through Learning Technology

Image of career pathway options that represent talent mobility.
Image of career pathway options that represent talent mobility.
Meaghan Whitmore headshot

Meaghan Whitmore

Meaghan is an Associate at Educe specializing in the implementation of Cornerstone Learning, Performance, and Recruiting modules. With over…

Talent mobility is the byproduct of an integrated talent management and talent development strategy.

There are several definitions of talent mobility as it can represent different outcomes to different people within a business:

  • For employees, talent mobility is often seen as role mobility, the opportunity to learn and expand on skillsets and explore career paths within an organization, across teams or departments.
  • For leadership, talent mobility represents the ability to adapt to changing market conditions by having an agile workforce that can upskill and reskill quickly and effectively.
  • For HR professionals, talent mobility is the answer to bridging the gap between employee and employer needs. It represents the opportunity to put people and skills at the center of learning, create non-linear career paths that encourage employee retention and satisfaction, and maximize the potential of an organization’s existing workforce.

According to LinkedIn, “Employees who make a vertical or lateral internal move…have a 64% chance of remaining with an organization after three years…Meanwhile, employees who haven’t moved internally only have a 45% chance of being around after three years.” On the other side of the spectrum, organizations considering difficult cost-cutting decisions can avoid measures like layoffs, if their workforce is more agile and can be redeployed from one part of the business to another due to internal mobility programs.

You may be asking yourself, ‘How have organizations been able to increase internal talent mobility?’ In short: they have established a strong Learning & Development culture and easy to use Learning Technology to pave the way. Each is important on its own, but when strategically considered together, the opportunity to increase talent mobility and workforce agility are endless. In this post, we’ll explore both sides of this equation.

Creating a Strong Learning & Development Culture

Talent mobility initiatives require a strong learning & development culture. But where do you start?

Get buy-in.

How often have you heard from leaders that there isn’t time to focus on development with so much work to do? It happens a lot, but it’s a mindset that can hinder an employee’s ability to take advantage of opportunities within your organization. If leaders aren’t fostering an environment that gives employees time to explore their interests and talents, they simply won’t.

Start with your leaders. Provide tailored learning opportunities and programs to show the value of making time for development to leaders. If they see the value for themselves, they are more likely to see the value of their teams making time to devote to development. It’s also powerful for a team to see their leaders taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Leading by example is key to creating a strong learning & development culture.

Encouraging your leaders to have regular discussions with their teams about the programs they are participating in and displaying opportunities that might be of interest to them is one way to make learning & development a normal part of the workday. Before you know it, there will be highly skilled individuals ready to tackle all sorts of projects and roles.

Foster a career-long learning mindset.

Training shouldn’t end with learning the critical skills and tasks to complete your job during onboarding. Establishing this mindset requires a dedication to providing ongoing training experiences that expand on the skills employees brought with them and discovering new ones. We recently published a blog about skills and how a skills-based approach to talent management can further your workforce. It’s a great example of fostering a career-long learning mindset.

When skills are cultivated, even if it’s not obvious how those skills directly relate to an employee’s current role, employees feel a greater sense of momentum and ownership of their career. They don’t feel tied to where they are and often will seek out ways to build and strengthen those skills on their own. Let them. It only benefits your organization to empower your team to explore new ways of bringing value to the organization. There is no faster way to squash talent mobility initiatives than to not allow employees to grow.

Provide opportunities for growth.

Getting buy-in and encouraging employees to grow is critical, but if there are not programs to attend or opportunities to upskill then those intentions fall flat. Investing resources into providing opportunities is key and doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Yes, L&D teams can create training, but a more powerful resource is your own workforce.

You likely have people who exhibit a knack for a certain topic area. Supporting them to create learning for a wider audience accomplishes many things. You are walking the talk. Showing those employees that you value their expertise, giving them the space to explore their own skills, and displaying to the rest of the organization that you are willing to invest in your current workforce’s development, ticks all the boxes for internal talent mobility.

Additionally, carving out time for employees to invest in their own growth is monumental in sending the message that it’s important. Setting aside learning days or even a week where business might be slower with an expectation that employees participate in learning opportunities takes the burden or hesitancy away. If everyone else is doing it, it must be valuable!

Making Learning Technology Easy to Access and Utilize

Once you’ve established a strong Learning & Development culture, it’s time to focus on deploying talent technology to support it. Easy to use technology not only removes roadblocks to learning for employees, but also provides great analytics for employers. If employees can access an interface that is easy to use and employers can access data on how employees are taking advantage of growth opportunities, talent mobility initiatives and organizational workforce agility goals are much easier to achieve.

Below are three of the most impactful ways to ensure learning technology is easy to utilize and access.

Design workflows that make sense.

Seems easy, right? Unfortunately, all too often organizations overcomplicate workflows by not putting themselves in their employee’s shoes. They see the ability to put automation and check points in place because the software allows them to, but never stop to think how it could affect an employee’s ability to access the opportunity.

There is a balancing act between making technology easy to use and putting workflows in place to support data gathering. However, it’s a fine balance. Leaning more toward easy-to-use and foregoing ‘nice-to-have’ data points is usually the winning approach. Focus on the experience of the employee. Make them want to come back. Show the value. You can accomplish this by simply placing the software in learners flow of work, making the UI pleasing to the eye, and sharing back the data you gather.

Stay on top of releases.

Educe has another great blog about how to survive product releases. Often release management is seen as a daunting process, but staying on top of it can provide your organization with necessary functionality. A huge benefit of SaaS learning technology solutions are ongoing feature releases. Falling behind can impact your ability to take advantage of functions that can support your talent mobility goals.

Provide ongoing training and support.

At the heart of all successful technology initiatives is support. A space to ask questions and to voice feedback is invaluable. Showing employees that the system is easy to use by using its features and conveying what’s in it for them will get them excited to explore. Additionally, be your own greatest example by using the software to deliver training. Consider recruiting employees outside of Learning & Development who have an interest or skill for L&D to be the face of the training. What better way to reinforce the organization’s commitment to talent mobility?

With leading talent management software companies putting a strong focus on linking their solutions to the broader goal of fostering internal talent mobility and workforce agility, it’s almost impossible not to take notice. By exploring the ideas set forward in this post you will be on your way to showing your employees that you value them, their skills, and their contributions to your organization. But don’t stop there. Keep looking for other ways you can use your technology to foster internal talent mobility and see employee retention and satisfaction rise.

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