Finding talents isn’t simple. Getting them to settle into an organisations culture can sometimes be challenging. Now that you have these talents, you need to keep them.

Inevitably, the instinct for change and growth will drive employees to look for better opportunities, whether internally or outside their organisation. Retaining talents should be a top priority for organisations, more so, as it will cost an organisation more to replace or recruit new talent.

Internal mobility has proven to be a great hack for talent retainership. Data published by LinkedIn has shown that employees who move around within an organisation are more likely to stay with the organisation.

A study of 32 million profiles of active LinkedIn users who’ve worked at a larger company (one with more than 500 employees) since 2013 found the likelihood of an employee staying with an organisation decreases as the years pass. One year after being hired, there’s a 76 percent chance the worker will still be with the company. By year five estimated retention is down to 38 percent -SHRM article, 2020.

But employees who were promoted within three years of being hired have a 70 percent chance of staying on board, and those who made a lateral move have a 62 percent chance of staying. Those who were not promoted and who did not change jobs internally have only a 45 percent chance of remaining – SHRM article, 2020.

What can leaders do?


Develop a skill inventory

Organisations leadership need to capture and document the skills needed by employees to excel in their roles and the skills employees currently possess, to understanding the skills gap present in the organisation. This will enable leaders to understand what skills need to be developed by what employee, and how to use internal mobility as a skill acquisition strategy.

Skills (technical and soft) are the engine room of employee performance. Organisations that setup Learning & Development structures to help employees consistently improve their skills on the job are more likely to retain their talents.

Leadership can gain employee loyalty by helping employees gain in-demand skills needed to excel on the job by either getting employees to work on a different project other than their core, to challenge them to do more, or by simply getting an employee to work in a new department where the skills lacking can be developed.  For example, an IT employee who has been known for lacking good communications skills can be moved to work temporarily with the public relations manager on a short project to help improve his communication skills.

Support Lateral Moves

Unfortunately, not all employee of an organisation can rise to the top as there is always a limited space available up there. Although employee promotion is a tremendous way to win the heart of an employee and gain their loyalty, internal mobility isn’t just about upwards movement.

Organisations leadership needs to strategically create the room for employees to move laterally. By paying enough attention, leaders can quickly identify employees who need to move to other departments or get on alternative projects, based on interest shown or skills needed for better performance.

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