Current State

More than 90% of organizations believe a lack of talent mobility is a significant risk to the business, according to Brandon Hall Group Talent Management Maturity research. Organizations are under tremendous pressure to develop agile employees with skills and competencies to be more productive and efficient. Employers must adapt to new styles of work. Talent mobility is required for rapid transformation.


The top concern of employers this year, according to Brandon Hall Group’s HCM Outlook 2021 Study, is retaining top talent. One reason is that most organizations struggle to offer a clear vision for career advancement. The key for the modern workforce is mutual benefit; employees must be able to see how career opportunities at the organization will help them meet their personal and professional aspirations while also meeting the needs of the business. Most organizations struggle to provide the kind of career visibility employees want.

Career Path Information Available to Employees


Employers that cannot effectively provide meaningful career opportunities so they can retain top talent will struggle to stay competitive. Those that create an integrated talent-mobility strategy will dominate their markets. For many organizations, excelling in internal talent mobility requires significant change.

Critical Question

• How can we prioritize and improve career development to engage our emerging workforce?

• How can we offer and promote multiple career paths for employees so they see they have options?

• What successful strategies from external recruitment and hiring strategies can be applied to internal recruitment and hiring?

Brandon Hall Group POV

Employers often have elaborate external recruitment and hiring strategies, but use little of that to entice employees to pursue careers within the organization. We often see leaders “hoard talent” within their departments or business units rather than understanding that enabling a flow of talent across the enterprise is a better business strategy. Restricting movement sends the message that the organization prioritizes its own short-term interests over the interests of its talent.

Here are five high-level strategies to enhance career development to drive talent mobility:

Create Policies, Protocols to Facilitate Mobility

As much as possible, limit restrictions of employees pursuing new opportunities in the organization based on tenure, current work activities, notice periods, etc. Focus requirements on capabilities and relevant experience, just as you would external candidates.

Give Employees Clear, Consistent Visibility of Job Opportunities

Employers use a variety of strategies to attract external candidates but often make it difficult for employees to see what’s open, what the requirements are and the job attributes. If you want to retain your best talent and move into more responsible roles, you need to entice them just as you would talent from your biggest competitor.

High-performing organizations take steps to:

• Ensure employees are notified of opportunities at the same time as — or before — external candidates.

• Include positions and training experiences within the organization that help employees qualify for this role (if they are not qualified now).

• Explain what the successful candidate would learn in the role and can accomplish.

• Include testimonials from employees who have previously been promoted into the role.

Offer Multiple Career Paths Across All Lines of Business

Employers make themselves more attractive when they offer opportunity to every employee — not just the ones who want to climb the management ladder. For this generation, advancement does not necessarily mean promotion. It can be more responsibility within the current role, a job rotation to develop new skills, a team lead role on an important project or becoming a coach or mentor. Another good strategy is to build a graphic representation of career mobility options. Visuals are easier to grasp.

Build a Culture of Continuous Learning

If you want people to progress in the organization, you must offer a variety of learning experiences — formal, informal and experiential — to help employees acquire the competencies they need to qualify and compete for a role.

Offer Transitional Support to Employees Moving into New Roles

High-performing organizations embrace internal onboarding as a critical strategy to ensure employees are properly prepared for their new role, whether they are moving up or laterally. Employees should be given the same transitional support as someone coming into the organization.

Other critical steps:

• Connect the transitioning employee’s current and future managers so they jointly prepare for the role change. This should include a discussion of the employee’s strengths and development areas and how the new manager can continue to support the employee’s growth.

• If transitioning employees play any role in the transition of their successors, define that in advance so everyone understands the time involved and the impact on the timing of the transitioning employee’s assimilation.


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Leading minds in HCM choose Brandon Hall Group to help them build future-proof employee-development plans for the new era. For more than 27 years, we have empowered, recognized and certified excellence in organizations around the world, influencing the development of over 10,000,000 associates and executives.

Claude Werder

Claude Werder oversees Brandon Hall Group's analyst team, new product development, corporate development, the HCM Excellence Conference 2015, publishing, and social media and marketing strategies for Brandon Hall Group. In that role, he manages Brandon Hall Group’s research priorities, Membership Program and Member Center, and Brandon Hall Group’s exclusive KnowledgeBases of research data and HCM solution providers, services and products.