How talent mobility impacts organisations

By Jenny Cornforth

Talent mobility – it might sound like corporate jargon, but it's a critical strategy for modern organisations. If you're not embracing it, you risk falling behind. Talent mobility is the strategic practice of moving employees within or outside an organisation to different roles, departments, or even geographic locations. Think of it as a dynamic game of corporate chess, positioning the right talent in the right place at the right time to maximise impact and growth.


Research shows that 76% of companies think internal talent mobility is important, but only 6% thinks that they are mobilising employees properly from one position to another. 


In this blog, we will explore what talent mobility is, why it’s crucial, and how it impacts your organisation. We’ll also explore different types of talent mobility and share some real-world examples of how this workforce strategy has impacted organisations.

Understanding talent mobility

So, what exactly is talent mobility? At its core, it’s about moving employees into roles that make where their skills and abilities are most effective. 

Types of talent mobility

Talent mobility can take many forms, including:

  1. Internal mobility: Moving employees within the organisation. This can be vertical (promotions), lateral (same level but different role), or cross-functional (different department altogether).
  2. External mobility: When employees move to roles outside the organisation. Yes, it stings a bit, but sometimes it’s for the best.
  3. Lateral moves: Moving to a different role at the same level. It’s not a step up, but it’s a step in a new direction.
  4. Vertical moves: Climbing up the corporate ladder. Promotions, more responsibilities, and hopefully, more pay.

Effective talent mobility is key to creating a dynamic, resilient organisation. Understanding and leveraging talent mobility can turn your workforce into a well-oiled machine.

The benefits of talent mobility


Talent mobility has a profound impact on the overall health and success of an organisation. Let’s delve into the tangible effects of talent mobility on organisational performance, culture, and competitiveness.

Boosting organisational performance

One of the most significant impacts of talent mobility is the enhancement of organisational performance. By placing the right people in the right roles, organisations can optimise their workforce's efficiency and productivity. 


LinkedIn highlighted the transformative impact of talent mobility in a recent article using Sodexo as an example. Their focus on internal mobility positively impacted talent acquisition and retention strategies. In its yearly report, Sodexo found that its internal mobility programs help retain critical talent and reduce turnover costs. This is significant in the context of findings from the Work Institute, which reports that replacing an employee can cost up to 33%. 

Increased employee engagement and satisfaction

Boredom and stagnation are the enemies of productivity. Talent mobility keeps things fresh and exciting for employees. When people see a clear path for growth and new opportunities, their engagement levels soar. 


Gallup reports that highly engaged workplaces see a 21% increase in profitability. Keeping your employees engaged by attracting internal talent is not just good for morale – it’s great for the bottom line.


Additionally employees that move between roles pick up new skills and insights. Fostering a culture of mobility helps to create a workforce that is versatile and knowledgeable. Equipping your people with the right skills and knowledge helps future-proof your organisation and improves overall employee satisfaction levels.

Enhanced innovation and agility

Talent mobility fosters a culture of innovation and agility. When employees move across departments and roles, they bring fresh perspectives and ideas, which can lead to innovative solutions and improved processes. This helps organisations stay nimble, adapting quickly to new challenges and opportunities. When employees are used to moving around and taking on different roles, the entire organisation becomes more resilient and responsive.


Research has found that high-performing companies were twice as likely to promote and value internal talent mobility. The positive impact of a well-structured internal mobility program ripple across organisational functions, catalysing innovation, collaboration, diverse thinking, and cross-functional experience. 

Improved succession planning 

Talent mobility programmes help management to identify and groom future leaders which is essential for effective succession planning. This proactive approach ensures that when senior positions open up, you have a pool of well-prepared candidates ready to step in. 


While research shows that 93% of CEO say that they recognise the need to reform their talent management strategies, year after year, they report not meeting their talent needs. Talent management has been repeatedly identified as the main target for strategic change and yet every year, concerns about availability of talent have increased. 


Company leaders are well aware that something needs to be done, but are less sure of exactly what that is. The best place to look for answers is from the companies that have already started making steps forward, whether that’s in putting a higher emphasis on skills development, learning and development opportunities and of course, talent mobility.


Let’s take a look at some examples of organisations that have taken that first step.

Talent mobility in action


Talent mobility isn’t just a theoretical concept; it’s a proven strategy that has transformed companies like Google and Amazon, setting them apart in their industries.

Google's internal mobility program

Google is renowned for its innovative approach to talent management, especially through its internal mobility program. This initiative allows employees to explore different teams and projects within the company, regardless of their initial role or department. For example, an engineer from the Search team might transition to work on Artificial Intelligence in Google Cloud or join the YouTube team to develop new content algorithms.


This flexibility not only keeps employees engaged and motivated but also fosters a culture of innovation. According to Google’s own data, employees who participate in internal mobility opportunities report higher job satisfaction and are more likely to contribute creatively to new projects. This approach has contributed significantly to Google’s reputation as a hub of technological innovation and continuous improvement.

Amazon's approach to lateral mobility and skills development

At Amazon, talent mobility goes beyond traditional career paths. The company encourages employees to pursue lateral moves across different departments and business units. 


Amazon’s emphasis on skill development through lateral moves ensures that employees are well-rounded and adaptable. This strategy not only enriches individual career paths but also strengthens the overall workforce’s capability to innovate and respond swiftly to market demands. 


By facilitating these career shifts, Amazon cultivates a culture where continuous learning and growth are celebrated, leading to higher retention rates and a more dynamic organisation.


The 2021 Workplace Learning Report revealed that organisations that embrace a strong internal mobility culture, like Google and Amazon, are twice as likely to retain employees compared to those with limited mobility opportunities. This statistic underscores the strategic importance of talent mobility in fostering loyalty and commitment among employees.


These examples highlight how talent mobility can be used as a cornerstone of organisational success. By empowering employees to explore new roles, develop diverse skill sets, and contribute meaningfully to different parts of the business, organisations not only enhance their agility and innovation but also create a workplace culture where talent thrives. 

Challenges in implementing talent mobility strategies 


Implementing talent mobility is no walk in the park. It comes with its fair share of challenges and considerations. Let’s unpack these potential roadblocks and how to navigate them effectively.

Identifying and addressing skills gaps

One of the first hurdles in talent mobility is identifying and addressing skill gaps. Moving employees around sounds great, but it can quickly turn into a game of musical chairs if the necessary skills aren’t there. 


At Vitro we have been working with a number of clients to help them transition to a skills-based organisation so they can better, plot, track and manage the existing skills in their workforce and plug any gaps.


According to a report by McKinsey, 87% of companies worldwide say they already have skill gaps or expect to within a few years. This is not so surprising considering that 50% of the UK workforce will require reskilling by 2025. 


Organisations require robust training and development programs to ensure employees remain adaptable and are able to step into new roles seamlessly. Regular skills assessments and personalised learning plans can help bridge these gaps effectively.

Managing employee expectations and concerns

Change is hard, and not everyone will be keen to shift career trajectory. Managing employee expectations and concerns is crucial to help identify those that are interested in moving horizontally and vertically within your organisation. 


Communication is key. Employees need to understand the benefits of talent mobility for their career growth and how it aligns with their personal goals. According to a study by Gartner, only 25% of employees feel confident about their career progression while 45% report leaving an organisation in hopes of better professional development opportunities elsewhere. 


Addressing these concerns head-on can help mitigate resistance and foster a positive attitude towards mobility.

Ensuring alignment with organisational goals

Talent mobility should not be a random shuffle of employees; it needs to align with the organisation's strategic goals and culture. This means identifying key areas where mobility can drive the most value and ensuring employees fit well into their new roles and teams. 


A cultural mismatch can lead to dissatisfaction and reduced productivity. It’s crucial to maintain a clear vision and strategic alignment throughout the mobility process.

Overcoming logistical and administrative hurdles 

Let’s not forget the logistical and administrative hurdles. Coordinating moves, managing paperwork, and ensuring a smooth transition can be a nightmare if not handled properly. This is where technology can be a lifesaver. 


Utilising HR software and mobility platforms can streamline the process, making it easier to track movements, manage records, and ensure compliance. A study by Deloitte found that 56% of companies are redesigning their HR programs to leverage digital and mobile tools. Investing in the right technology can simplify administration and enhance the overall mobility experience.


Implementing talent mobility may be challenging, but the rewards far outweigh the obstacles. Addressing skill gaps, managing expectations, ensuring alignment with organisational goals, and overcoming logistical hurdles effectively leads to an more agile workforce.

Technology in talent mobility 


Technology plays a pivotal role in driving talent mobility. From HR software to data analytics, technology can be cleverly leveraged to transform your talent mobility strategies. 

Tracking and managing talent

HR professionals can benefit from using digital tools and platforms to track employee skills, preferences, and career aspirations, making it easier to match them with the right opportunities. For instance, platforms like Cornerstone, Workday and SAP SuccessFactors offer comprehensive solutions for talent management, ensuring a smooth and efficient mobility process. 

Identifying opportunities through data

The data collected and managed through technology can be analysed to uncover patterns and trends that highlight potential moves. Data can help you identify which employees are ready for new challenges and which departments need fresh talent. This data-driven approach ensures that decisions are based on insights rather than guesswork. 

Remote talent mobility

The rise of virtual and remote work has added a new dimension to talent mobility. Employees can now move to different roles or teams without the need for physical relocation. This flexibility opens up a world of opportunities, making it easier to tap into a global talent pool. 


However, managing remote mobility requires robust digital infrastructure and clear communication channels. Tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams facilitate seamless collaboration and connectivity, ensuring that remote moves are as effective as in-person ones.

Future trends in talent mobility


As we look to the future, several trends are set to shape the landscape of talent mobility. Let’s explore the key trends and what they mean for your organisation.

Remote work and the globalisation of talent

With the ability to work from anywhere, employees are no longer confined to geographical boundaries. This allows organisations to access a diverse and global talent pool, fostering innovation and growth. According to a report by Buffer, 98% of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Embracing this shift can significantly enhance your talent mobility strategies.

The rise of the gig economy

As industries evolve, new skills and roles emerge, and organisations need to stay ahead of these changes. Using data analytics and industry reports, you can forecast future talent needs and prepare your workforce accordingly. For example, skills in AI, cybersecurity, and data science are expected to be in high demand. By focusing on these areas, you can ensure your talent mobility program is future-proof.

Predicting future skills

Looking ahead

More professionals are opting for freelance and contract work, valuing flexibility over stability. This means that organisations need to adapt their mobility strategies to accommodate gig workers. Offering project-based roles and short-term assignments can attract top talent from the gig economy, providing fresh perspectives and skills.

Experts agree that talent mobility is set to become even more critical in the coming years. Organisations that excel in talent mobility will be better positioned to navigate economic uncertainties and market disruptions. Technology will continue to play a central role, with advancements in AI and machine learning enhancing mobility processes.


In conclusion, technology is a game-changer for talent mobility, offering tools and insights to manage and optimise your workforce effectively. Looking ahead, embracing remote work, adapting to the gig economy, and predicting future skills will be key to staying competitive. 

Final thoughts


The importance of embracing talent mobility cannot be overstated. In a rapidly-evolving world of work staying static is not an option. Organisations that prioritise talent mobility are better equipped to adapt to changes, foster innovation, and maintain a competitive edge. Developing clear policies, investing in training, leveraging technology, and encouraging a culture of continuous learning can support your talent mobility efforts that and prepare you for the future.


As remote work, globalisation, and the gig economy reshape the workforce, adapting to these trends will ensure your organisation remains agile and forward-thinking. 


Ready to transform your organisation with a robust talent mobility strategy? 


We help ensure you have the right people in the right roles at the right time. If you are looking for some support, contact our HR consultants at

About the author


Jenny Cornforth


Jenny is the Head of Transformation Experience for Vitro. She is also an implementation consultant in her own right, which often focuses on solutions. She is there to support clients in solving problems such as process or functionality issues. 


Jenny is also a Project Manager. This dual approach to her role allows her to remain agile and goals-focused.





jenny cornforth

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