Article: Internal mobility: The next critical capability

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Internal mobility: The next critical capability

APAC has witnessed a 15% increase in internal mobility since COVID-19. How are leaders tapping into this golden opportunity to achieve desirable business and people outcomes through disruptive times? Let’s find out!
Internal mobility: The next critical capability

There are two crucial pillars to jobs today - relevance and sustainability, and while relevance might vary with time, it is the sustainability of job roles, rather skills, that will shape the growth trajectory of individuals, and thereby organisations. So how are organisations working towards ensuring skills are sustainable, even scalable? The answer is simple - internal mobility.

Interestingly, LinkedIn’s report The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming recruiting, found a 15% increase in internal mobility in Asia-Pacific since COVID-19. As employees were required to step up, take on more tasks outside the scope of their role, and upskill parallelly, the circumstances unintentionally equipped them with skills and experience to perform and excel in cross-functional roles. And through internal mobility opportunities, employers can leverage these results to strengthen engagement and reduce attrition by offering alternate career paths as well as save on new hire costs.

Diving into the on ground dynamics and impact of internal mobility, in conversation with LinkedIn, Kerrie Harris, ANZ’s Talent and Culture Business Partner for Australia Retail & Commercial, and  Lisa Robson, ANZ’s Product Area Lead for the Joiners & Movers Tribe, tap into the ideology and campaigns for internal mobility, leadership support to enable and accelerate the process and the consequent impact on employee satisfaction.

Read on for highlights from the interaction.

Beating accepted standards with adaptation

As much as virtual functioning has disputed the routine of established practices and expectations from individual roles, it has also provided an opportunity to revamp functions and boost potential and performance beyond accepted standards.

On being asked about her thoughts on how COVID has impacted the role of a talent professional, Lisa said that from a recruitment standpoint, the focus of the talent professional has evolved from being very focused on the external market and proactively tapping into external talent to instead being focused on internal talent sources. As she describes, “proactively marketing opportunities to talent with transferable skills and actively advocating their moves in the best interests of supporting customers.” From a broader talent stand-point, she added, the role has shifted to focusing on how we build greater resilience and adaptability in our people.

Responding with her thoughts to the same question, Kerrie suggested that the pandemic has taught us the power of ‘adaptation’.

“We have seen people in our organisation quickly pivot to what’s needed most for our customers and employees, and I personally could not be prouder of our Talent and Culture function during this time,” said Kerrie.

Pivoting towards internal mobility 

Congruent with LinkedIn findings, global firms indeed are shifting gears towards internal mobility. One such firm is ANZ. Sharing how the company is increasing emphasis on this aspect, Kerrie shared, “Internal mobility has been a critical focus during the past 9 months for our business. As our customers’ needs changed during the pandemic we had to quickly respond with a supporting people strategy.”

Adding how the push towards internal mobility was important to support people to enable supporting customers in a way that made sense for the changing customer needs, Kerrie said, “As COVID-19 changed the behaviour and needs of our customers, we were able to have our branch colleagues instead support customers via our contact centers and other customer operation areas that were experiencing huge increase in demand. This was a great test case to demonstrate that firstly our people performed exceptionally well with these different activities and secondly that the work could be done remotely, i.e., not needing to be in a Head Office environment.”

Enabling such agility is certainly not a one person job. It takes a village. Considering the size of the organisation, creating the momentum for such a big shift in hiring was made possible through teamwork. “With the amazing support of our recruitment team in ANZ we were able to work with key business stakeholders over a number of months to transition a number of the new demand roles into remote working propositions. This enabled us to attract a number of talented frontline employees into these opportunities. We had newly created roles in nearly every state in Australia and the frontline became the key source of talent into these new opportunities,” shared Kerrie.

She did add that it took time, courage and resilience to work this into a viable proposition for the business, a critical piece in the puzzle.

“Our leaders were hugely supportive and their willingness to sponsor this shift has made this idea turn into a reality. We managed to create more internal movement from our frontline in a number of months that we normally wouldn’t see over a number of years.” 

Connecting talent with opportunity

With the weight of the opportunity, it becomes even more critical to get it right. So how did ANZ champion this?

Lisa dives into the process, highlighting that the first step was assessing demand and then matching this with their internal supply, followed by proactive internal marketing campaigns to “bring the opportunities to life.” Here’s what ANZ did:  “We had a simplified and streamlined recruitment process to appoint people into the roles in a way that maximized a positive employee experience whilst still providing the right level of data to support sound hiring decisions. These were managed as targeted internal campaigns rather than standard recruitment processes.”

Like any major organisational shift, driving internal mobility too requires leadership buy-in. “Co-creation with the business was really important. We bought together a group of business leaders that represented both the supply side and the demand side of the internal mobility equation and co-created with them how we would match the roles with where the talent sat, how we would move the roles to other parts of the country to maximize tapping into that demand and how we would market these opportunities,” explained Lisa.

Measuring the impact through success stories

Thrilled about the success of internal mobility opportunities, Lisa highlighted, “The outcomes really were amazing. We saw a huge volume of our skilled branch colleagues moving into other parts of the organisation that really needed their customer focus and experience during their time. Over 90% of the opportunities were filled and filled quickly.” 

While there was a business benefit - an experienced pipeline of internal talent that may not have previously been ever considered due to their geographical location - Kerrie highlighted how the idea boosted employee morale, and employee experience.

“It was rewarding for our people to see new career pathways that may not have been an option in the past due to their location in head office to all of a sudden being opportunities that could do locally," noted Kerrie.

"This was a terrific boost for our people during a period of uncertainty in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.

Making internal mobility relevant, sustainable and scalable

Reflecting on the role of remote work in the success of effective and efficient internal mobility processes, Lisa felt  that it actually played a huge role in helping them to think very differently about where their talent for these demand areas could come from. Advising leaders to strategize thoughtfully, she said, “Be clear on the benefits for great internal mobility and the outcomes you are seeking to achieve, think holistically about your demand and the internal supply available for that demand.”

Echoing Lisa’s thoughts, Kerrie noted that remote working indeed was central to the success of this work. She further emphasized that internal mobility, and how we think about how work can be done within an organisation will be a critical capability for any organisation in the future.

With a gradual economic recovery and an emerging hybrid model of working, internal mobility indeed will be crucial to keep up with upskilling the workforce and providing alternate career growth prospects and opportunities. The gold mine that internal mobility is, if tapped into at the right time, can help businesses spring out of the slumps and gain a strong foothold across talent, capabilities and performance in a competitive marketplace.

Listent to the complete conversation here:


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Topics: Talent Management, Strategic HR

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