Published on

April 13, 2024

Benefits of Internal Mobility: Realising the Full Potential

Immo Bohlsen

Immo Bohlsen

Senior Data Engineer


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Internal mobility is crucial for the development of employees and the adaptability of an organisation. The ability to move between different roles allows talented individuals to realise their full potential and develop new skills. This not only promotes individual employee development, but also contributes to the flexibility and innovative strength of the organisation. Read our blog post to find out more about how internal mobility can have a positive impact on organisational culture and long-term success.

What is internal mobility?

Internal mobility refers to the practice of offering employees within an organisation the opportunity to develop their careers through various forms such as job rotation, lateral moves and promotion opportunities. This strategy not only helps you and your colleagues to realise your full potential and improve your performance, but also strengthens the organisation by encouraging growth and adaptability.

Why is internal mobility important?

In today's dynamic workplace, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find and retain new talent. Internal mobility plays a crucial role in this by allowing you and your colleagues to grow and develop within the organisation. This has several benefits:

  1. Reducing recruitment costs and time: The external recruitment process is often long and expensive. By promoting internal mobility, organisations can significantly reduce these costs as existing employees can be trained into new roles more quickly.
  2. Increase employee retention: When people see opportunities to progress within the organisation, they are less likely to leave. This reduces staff turnover and increases loyalty to the organisation.
  3. Adapt to changing market conditions: Since the pandemic, companies have been forced to restructure their operations and even their markets almost overnight. Internal mobility enables companies to respond quickly to such changes by having flexible access to the talents and skills of their employees.
  4. Increased agility and innovation: Employees who move around the organisation bring new perspectives and ideas that drive innovation and improve the company's overall agility.
    Looking at the results of the annual Global Talent Trends report for 2020, an internal mobility programme offers even more benefits, as the following chart shows.
Why internal recruiting matters

Examples of internal mobility

Internal mobility can be implemented in many different ways, depending on the goals and needs of the company and the career goals of the employees. Here are three concrete examples of what internal mobility can look like in practice:

  1. Job rotations: Job rotations are a great way to give female employees a broader view of the company. For example, by letting an employee from marketing move to the sales team for a few months, this person gains insights into new areas of work, which not only expands their skills but also promotes cooperation between departments. This can also help to improve understanding of customer needs and generate innovative ideas.
  2. Lateral moves: Sometimes female employees discover new interests during their career or develop new skills that they would like to use in another area of the company. For example, an IT specialist might develop a strong interest in product design and be given the opportunity to move to the design department through internal mobility programmes. This not only helps the employee find a more fulfilling role within the company, but also allows the company to benefit from the diverse experience and perspectives.
  3. Promotion opportunities: Internal mobility doesn't always have to mean a move to another department; it can also provide opportunities for advancement within the same department. For example, a junior manager in the finance department could be given the opportunity to move up to a senior position through targeted promotion and further training. Such promotions boost employees' self-confidence and demonstrate the company's commitment to the career development of its employees.

Mastering internal mobility: Overcoming obstacles

More than 50% of respondents to Deloitte's 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey believe that it is easier for employees in their organisation to find a new job externally than internally. Respondents cited two main barriers to internal mobility:

  1. There is no information about available roles for employees
  2. There is no formal process for identifying and transferring employees

The good news is that setting up an online talent marketplace could be the solution to both of these barriers. The beauty of a talent marketplace is that it creates transparency and gives you the opportunity to find out about and apply for any internal vacancy at any time. It also standardises and streamlines the internal recruitment process, making it easier for recruiters to fit it into their schedule.

Ideally, we want to give you recommendations on potential opportunities. It sounds a lot easier than it is. Modern careers no longer follow a vertical line that ends in management. This makes it very complicated to make recommendations for possible career moves or even suggest a career journey. The possibilities are different for each employee and depend on his/her interests, experience and skills. This cannot be done manually if we want to address a larger group.

Three use cases of how technology enables internal mobility

To match female employees with relevant opportunities such as jobs, projects, mentorships or learning courses, any internal mobility platform must have a sophisticated skills taxonomy. These platforms focus on solving the complex matching problem by precisely matching the skills of female employees with the requirements of internal positions. In-depth knowledge and transparency in both areas are essential. Let's take a closer look at the use cases for skill-based internal mobility platforms:

1. Create a talent marketplace to provide better opportunities

Building a talent marketplace creates a digital platform where employees can view and apply for all internal job or project opportunities based on their experience, skills and interests. A profile-based approach allows employees to pre-register their skills and experience, making it easy for them to apply for suitable jobs or projects. They can also recommend interesting jobs to colleagues if they think they would be a better fit. Managers can manage their internal jobs and actively target employees with the required skills for open positions.

2. Provide more guidance through career counselling

An internal mobility platform can provide career guidance to employees by showing their progression and development within the organisation. Employees can choose a career path that interests them and identify their next, final or aspirational role. Based on this, they receive insights into existing skills gaps and recommendations for suitable opportunities such as jobs, projects and learning paths. The platform facilitates career planning by matching employees' skills and experience with the requirements of current and potential internal opportunities.

3. Facilitate succession planning to close the skills gap

Succession planning is an essential part of any talent management strategy. An internal mobility platform can support this process by providing insight into the skills and experience of employees and enabling managers to accurately identify and promote individuals for key roles. The platform can recommend qualified talent for specific roles and suggest career paths to reach target positions. By utilising a skills-based platform, employers can automatically design career paths and succession plans, identify current and future positions, and identify the most suitable employees for those roles.

Technology solutions to support internal mobility

Advanced technology solutions that create transparency about employees' skills are essential for successful internal mobility. This visibility is the foundation of any internal mobility programme, allowing the skills and potential of employees to be accurately identified and matched with internal career opportunities. Modern platforms use data analytics and AI to create and update skills profiles, not only increasing the visibility of existing talent, but also helping to fill suitable internal positions efficiently.

If you are looking for a solution that offers these features, take a look at our platform. It is specifically designed to support internal mobility by providing a comprehensive view of skills within the organisation and helping to place the right talent in the right roles.

The importance of corporate culture for successful internal mobility

Even the most advanced internal mobility platform cannot realise its full potential if it is not embedded in a supportive corporate culture. It is crucial for the success of internal mobility programmes that the corporate culture is aligned with the objectives of internal mobility. A common obstacle is that managers do not recognise internal talent as a valuable resource for the organisation and are reluctant to move their best people. It is essential that female employees feel confident in applying internally and know that their applications will be well received and not viewed negatively by their current managers.

On the other hand, managers need to be confident that they will receive the support they need when their team members move internally. This creates an atmosphere in which both female employees and managers feel confident to take advantage of internal mobility opportunities, which ultimately strengthens the entire organisation.

Factors in successful internal mobility

  1. Transparency: Clearly communicated processes and open discussions about internal mobility opportunities foster an environment of trust and openness.
  2. Recognition and support: Recognising achievements and actively supporting employees in their desire to move internally is critical to a positive mobility culture.
  3. Training for managers: Specific training to help managers understand how to encourage and support internal mobility strengthens the commitment to internal mobility.
  4. Incentive schemes: Incentivising managers to promote internal mobility, for example by recognising their efforts in performance reviews, can increase support for the programme.

By creating a culture that supports and encourages internal mobility, organisations can not only improve employee satisfaction and retention, but also respond more flexibly to changing market demands. Effective internal mobility programmes are a key element for modern companies to remain innovative and competitive.

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edyoucated is funded by leading research institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).

Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung (BIBB)