Workplace Trends

Tips to Tap the Talent Within Your Organization

By James Greenway on August 28, 2012

With unemployment holding steady at 8.3 percent, many employees are seeking new positions within their current organizations as a way to advance their careers and master new skills rather than taking the risk of hitting the pavement in an uncertain market.

According to the August 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 32 states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rates essentially unchanged from those in June 2012, while 18 states had statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate increases, the largest being in Alaska and Alabama (+0.5 percent). Nevada continued to register the highest jobless rate (12.0 percent), followed by Rhode Island (10.8 percent) and California (10.7 percent). North Dakota again reported the lowest unemployment rate at 3.0 percent. (Source: BLS)

And according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary,  the turnover rate dropped in June to 3.2%, down from 3.4% in May, signalling that the mass exodus of talent that many have been predicting isn’t happening.

Considering the vast number of job seekers in the open market and continued economic uncertainty, it’s not surprising that employees who are seeking a new challenge would opt to stay with their current employer and consider internal options.  But making an internal change can be challenging.  If your organization is truly invested in career development and advancement for employees, leaders need to be equally committed.  Some managers “hoard” top performers and thwart their efforts to move on to another position. Managers may worry about the impact it will have on their team and the ability to meet team objectives, giving less merit to the needs and objectives of the individual.

However, filling roles internally makes good business sense.  As author Dan Schawbel discusses in his recent article, “The Power Within: Why Internal Recruiting & Hiring Are on the Rise, ” there are four key reasons companies are currently concentrating on internal hiring: it’s cheaper (saving on recruiting, advertising, training, etc.); it’s a quicker hiring process; it results in smoother and more successful transitions into the new positions; and it improves morale.

Still, there needs to be a culture that encourages current employees to “apply within.” Is internal hiring a part of your organization’s culture, or is it all talk, no action? Here are five tips to help build the right culture:

  • Coach for leadership behaviors and attitudes that support internal hiring. Reinforce the organization’s commitment to transparency in hiring and providing career advancement opportunities to employees.
  • Encourage managers to act as coaches, mentors and advocates for their direct reports. Being supportive will bolster the employee’s confidence and enhance the manager’s reputation.
  • Engage managers in role-playing exercises that cover a range of possible career conversations that could occur during regular performance evaluations.
  • Help managers to take long-term strategic views that look at what’s best for the organization as a whole – not just their individual departments and immediate needs.
  • Solicit feedback from employees on what they consider roadblocks in their career development.

Offering opportunities for current employees to pursue new internal roles is a great way to re-engage your top performers, enhance performance and stimulate innovation through fresh ideas. Valued employees who would like to pursue internal positions are demonstrating responsibility for their career development and commitment to the organization. They shouldn’t be met with obstacles.

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