- Employees who have been with a company for a longer period possess valuable institutional knowledge and insights. Internal mobility minimises the loss of critical expertise and facilitates knowledge sharing among teams and departments.
- At leadership levels, it is crucial to strike a balance between cultivating internal talent, which brings contextual knowledge and cultural understanding, and integrating external talent, who brings fresh perspectives, diverse working methods and cognitive diversity.
- Still, the primary focus should remain on delivering the right talent at the right time, and always checking for internal candidates first can potentially cause delays. Therefore, adopting a well-timed parallel process can address this concern effectively.
Many industry leaders, during interactions with ETHRWorld, often say that they have been staying in the same company for decades and never had to look out for new roles or change their company since their first job, because the firm offered them multiple opportunities and career roles within the organisation. This insight underscores the need for nurturing internal talent within the organisation.
These days, job referrals and internal job postings are already practised by most organisations. Along with this, many companies are introducing extra columns to fill the career aspirations of the employees during the review meetings. This is a great initiative to act on talent mobility.
A report from LinkedIn, titled ‘Skill Building in the New World of Work: 2021,’ reveals that employees who are given the opportunity to move to new positions internally are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged and more likely to stay.
Also, another report (on the state of internal mobility and employee retention) from Lever, an employer branding firm, points out that more than 61 per cent of employees who are not given the opportunity of internal mobility in 2023 will start searching for new positions.
Still, a mix of people with diverse perceptions and new experimentation of talent pools is essential for organisational growth. Thus, openings about job postings need to be fair for everybody and career mobility should be transparent and free from favouritism.
In this context, ETHRWorld interacted with HR leaders to understand if companies should compulsorily first advertise all the open positions internally before checking outside. The article also ponders the disadvantages of this move.
Should companies compulsorily first advertise all the open positions internally?
Capgemini makes it certain that all vacant positions in India, irrespective of hierarchy, are accessible to their employees, except for a select few that may require specialised expertise or an external outlook. The organisation manages internal mobility through a combination of centralised and business-aligned resources.
“Our commitment to transparency is reflected in providing the employees with clear visibility of available roles, a well-defined application process, and guidelines for effective communication, ensuring a seamless loop. As a result, we have successfully filled over 50 per cent of all open positions with internal talent,” says Aarti Srivastava, CHRO – India, Capgemini.
Saurabh Govil, President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Wipro, says advertising open positions internally has its advantages like employee development and retention, knowledge retention and transfer, and faster onboarding. Prioritising internal mobility fosters a culture of learning, encourages continuous improvement, and increases employee engagement.
“Employees who have been with the company for a longer period possess valuable institutional knowledge and insights. Internal mobility minimises the loss of critical expertise and facilitates knowledge sharing among teams and departments,” Govil points out.
At Wipro, internal talent mobility is given priority and employees who have completed 2-3 years in their current role are eligible for role rotation as per the HR policy. The company also has its own career management platform ‘iAspire’ which provides the employees visibility into opportunities across the organisation.
The AI platform creates a talent marketplace that matches employees’ aspirations with available projects, role movement opportunities, and networking. “For leaders, it democratises career opportunities whereas, for the organisation, the app unlocks capacity,” says Govil.
Krishna Raghavan, Chief People Officer, Flipkart, says, “The career graph for our employees is not restricted to just an upward trajectory and we very much encourage horizontal growth too. We have a robust career path charted out for all positions, and employees can view what their next opportunity is, based on their aspirations.”
“Our career development philosophy of ‘Employee Owned, Manager Facilitated, and Organisation Supported,’ was designed to help our employees envision and build a long-term career graph in the company,” Raghavan points out.
At Flipkart, it is an HR policy that they post job openings internally before opening them for external candidates. The company has also introduced ‘Thrive’, an AI-enabled internal talent marketplace, equipped with the capabilities to internally source suitable candidates from the existing pool of employees based on the skill requirements for the open positions.
Which are the jobs that are more suitable for first internal postings?
Wipro takes decisions depending on the requirements of the role and the talent available. When determining which jobs are more relevant for internal postings, Govil says, “We consider the job complexity and specialisation required. Positions that require deep knowledge of the organisation’s operations, systems and unique challenges are more suitable for internal postings.”
Srivastava of Capgemini says apart from roles that necessitate specific niche skills or industry experience not found internally, all positions are appropriate for internal postings. According to her, internal talent is particularly valuable for early managers who can utilise their first-hand technical expertise to lead teams effectively.
However, at leadership levels, she points out, it is crucial to strike a balance between cultivating internal talent, which brings contextual knowledge and cultural understanding, and integrating external talent, which brings fresh perspectives, diverse working methods and cognitive diversity.
Cons of this move?
Srivastava says their primary focus remains on delivering the right talent at the right time, and solely checking for internal candidates first can potentially cause delays. Therefore, she says, adopting a well-timed parallel process can address this concern effectively.
“We place equal importance on both business and clients. We understand that a sequential approach can sometimes cause delays in securing the right talent for the right role promptly. Thus, while our main goal is to provide internal talent with opportunities to apply, we believe that the process does not necessarily have to be sequential,” says Srivastava.
Even Govil of Wipro has the same opinion. He says relying solely on internal talent may restrict the diversity of perspectives and experiences within the organisation. Thus, it’s important to strike a balance.
“We consider hiring external candidates to bridge the skills and competencies gap. By leveraging the strengths of both internal and external talent pools, we can create a dynamic and diverse workforce,” he points out.
While internal talent mobilisation reduces the time and needs for induction into the company culture and values, Raghavan of Flipkart points out that a lack of agility in adapting to new roles and environments could result in inefficiencies.
Raghavan reminds that it is important for organisations to ensure that the employees are agile and cross-trained with the skills and capabilities required to move into new positions seamlessly.
“To eliminate such possibilities, Flipkart’s Thrive has been helping employees find stretch projects and mentors from across the organisation. This is done with the aim to hone their current abilities and enable them to upskill too,” he says.
External talent may not always be readily available in the job market. The talent market is often fluctuating to the market climate, and chasing external talents to meet the immediate talent gap is always an uncertain option as the current job market marks skill shortages and lower unemployment rates.
Even if external talent is significant for bringing in new and diverse perceptions into the organisation, research says that for an OUTSIDER to sync with a new culture, and to add value to their new job role, it would take at least six months. This would even make the talent gap wider if the job roles had to be filled immediately.
When disappointed with that option, HR leaders can always remember this quote, ‘Whatever you are searching outside is already within you!’ Actualising this in the workplace settings simply means ‘to seek and nourish the hidden potential talent from within.’
Within the workplace matrix, HRs can initiate conversations on career movements, and talent mobility can be fostered through horizontal, vertical or cross-functional talent pathways. This is a more certain option!
Again, what is being missed out internally needs to be brought externally. To sum up, it’s pertinent for the talent acquisition teams to have a mix of both external and internal talent pools to have the right balance and not be influenced by the market climate.