HR Departments Will Need Internal Mobility Coordination

In a recent article for Software Advice‘s The New Talent Times, “5 Jobs for the HR Department of the Future,” Erin Osterhaus asked me – along with several other HR industry experts – to consider what a more strategic HR department of the future will look like. What first came to mind was Internal Mobility; I believe that HR will need to have a senior member of the team overseeing the mobility of the organization’s workforce to ensure they aren’t losing talent to the competition. Talented employees can be retained by offering new and exciting opportunities within an organization. This senior person’s position might be called an Internal Mobility Director.

The Internal Mobility Director will serve a critical role and even if a company doesn’t create this position within the HR department, the intent behind the position should be a priority for any business: to reduce turnover by offering open positions in other departments to current employees. It’s a way for employees to engage in career management without losing these employees to other industries.

Preserving the tribal knowledge

Organizations want to reduce turnover as a way to improve their bottom line. Losing talent is costly for many reasons, not the least of which is the amount of “tribal knowledge,” or the familiarity with a company’s history and culture, that walks out the door with each employee.

Tribal knowledge is synonymous with institutional memory, the collective set of facts, concepts, experiences and know-how held by a group. Tribal knowledge helps to maintain the ideology of an institution and is vital for passing corporate wisdom along. Maintaining this knowledge creates a sense of healthy continuity within the company. High attrition rates can have a devastating effect on tribal knowledge.

This continuity occurs when employees stay with an organization long term. Internal Mobility Directors will be responsible for ensuring a certain percentage of employees are considered for open positions in other divisions of the organization and given the opportunity to develop skills with ‘on-the-job’ projects. Doing so will decrease the chance of an employee feeling underused or stuck in a particular role and give them the opportunity to develop their skills in other areas.

Loyalty from Millennials

This position, Internal Mobility Director, will become increasingly important as millennials enter the workforce in greater numbers. In fact, in a 2011 Price Waterhouse Cooper survey of recent college grads, the company found that employee loyalty had decreased drastically. In 2008, only 10 percent of participants expected to have six employers or more in their lifetime; while in 2011 over a quarter expected such a career trajectory.

To increase loyalty and reduce turnover, younger employees need to know their efforts will be rewarded with new opportunities to challenge themselves, that they will have the opportunity to change jobs and even careers, right there inside their company.

But the sad fact is that in most companies today it is far easier to find a job outside the organization than it is to find a new job within the organization. The Internal Mobility Director will be tasked with changing that. Employers must start to look at how they can redirect energy back into the organization and make it just as easy to move internally as it is to find a job outside.

By putting an Internal Mobility Director in place, the company sends a clear message to all employees that their career is important and that the organization’s leadership values retaining the employees they have. This will lead to higher employee engagement and a decrease in attrition.

In addition to highlighting how an Internal Mobility Director might benefit businesses, The New Talent Times article offers four other interesting jobs that may become part of the HR’s future: Resource Procurement (someone to manage the growing number of independent consultants and contractors that companies will work with – I found this concept fascinating), a Culture Chief, Big Data Analytics Expert and a Wellness Coordinator. While I think the Wellness Coordinator has been around to some degree for a while, the others I found to be thought-provoking ideas. Each of these roles will no doubt play a big part in the evolution of the human resources department.

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