Internal Mobility and Millennial Retention

December 20, 2016

A former client recently contacted me about licensing our career development software again with a different objective in mind. Employee retention is becoming a major issue in most organizations, due to many factors including the increased flow of millennials in the workforce. Theyíre losing good, qualified people in whom theyíve invested training, time, and money.  After investing in all that training, organizations want to ensure they are investing their money into employees who have a future. And quite rightly, they want to show their employees that they have more good options to move internally than they think they do.


There are three concepts that are linked together quite strongly: employee retention self-directed career development, and organizational transparency.


The result? More people realizing they can make lateral moves as well as vertical moves in the organization - and they're acting upon it. It not only retains the talent in your organization, but attracts higher quality candidates to join.


This particular client wants their employees to take their career mobility into their own hands, and is seeking to spur them into action by providing them two things they need to do it:


  • 1 A way to see what positions are available within the organization, and whatís required to get there, and
  • 2 Reporting and benchmarking tools to determine not just whatís realistic now, but whatís achievable in the future.

Organizational transparency is really the foundation of internal career mobility, and can mean a lot to employees - not only because it engenders trust between them and the organization, but because it makes it easy for employees to access the information they need to plan to transition internally when they need it, without having to go through several different channels.


When There's Nowhere to Be Promoted

Itís not about hitting the ceiling. A ceiling implies that all paths lead up: that there are many spaces at the top of the organizational structure.

We all know, however, that this isnít true. Thereís only one CEO. Sometimes itís just true that you donít have anywhere else to go. Youíve gone as far as you can go in your organizational structure.


And even for people who donít have such lofty vertical aspirations, the fact remains that there are exponentially more opportunities at the base of the pyramid than toward the top.


So whatís a disengaged employee to do - decide to stop growing in their career? Never. Give up and choose to leave the organization for better upward prospects? Not necessarily.


It can be extremely enriching for an employee to grow their career horizontally versus vertically because of the inherent developmental opportunities. Itís in this way that career development is linked to career transition. If an individual chooses to take a lateral career move within the organization, they are able to develop through the experience that comes with that move: a new skill set, a new culture, a chance to foster a closer relationship between departments and improve processes and business.


However, one last word of caution: if an individual is so disengaged that theyíre actively hurting the organizationís process and/or image, it may well be time to help them transition out. Make sure you're aiming your employee retention efforts at the right employees.


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