Disappointment with internal career systems

Internal career mobility and career pathing are supposed to be winners for all involved – the proverbial slam dunk. Organisations are able to promote or internally recruit people that they know well, mitigating risk and saving recruiting costs. Employees that desire or require different job experiences or need a change in role for other reasons have a means to do so in an environment that they are familiar with – and keep their treasured service time to boot!

Virtually all employee survey providers indicate that satisfaction with career opportunities is a key driver of engagement and most studies of succession indicate that, in general, internal promotion is more successful than external hiring. While it’s true that every internal move creates a vacancy somewhere (hopefully in lower level roles), internal mobility should still trump a system that depends on heavy external recruiting at all levels.

Given the win-win of internal mobility, many organisations make valiant attempts to strengthen their mobility muscle. But it doesn’t seem to be working. Surveys indicate that satisfaction with career opportunities hasn’t improved. And leaders continually cite chronic skills shortages and anxiety about where the talent for the future will come from as key challenges. For medium to large organisations that have the scale to design internal mobility systems with appropriate training and learning support, this shouldn’t be a problem.

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