Careering Out of Control? Why Better Talent Mobility Could Be the Money-Saving Answer

By Hannah Hemmingham

Losing talent can be costly. Organizations that successfully retain talent not only save money, but also protect their intellectual capital. So why are people leaving, and what can be done about it?

Why people leave

The first thing to note is that while compensation is important, it’s not all about money. Findings from the IBM WorkTrends 2016 Global Survey of 23,000 workers indicate that employees seek roles that allow them to apply current skills and to grow new ones. In fact, 70 percent say they would leave their company to fully use their existing skills, and 65 percent claim they would leave their company to learn new skills.

High-potential employees — your most prized talent — are even more likely to be open to temptation. One of the main drivers for high potentials leaving is better career opportunities: 74 percent say the promise of better career development opportunities elsewhere would make them leave their current organization for a new job.

In short, if organizations are not addressing their employees’ career mobility needs, they risk losing talent and facing costly retention problems. It seems that many organizations have room for improvement in this area. The WorkTrends survey also revealed that barely half (56 percent) of employees think they have opportunities for career development within their current organizations.

Get careers under control

Addressing this lack of career development opportunities is becoming increasingly complex in today’s workplace. With trends of increasing number of job moves, higher expectations for a personalized experience, and rapidly changing organizational structures, roles, and skills, HR could be forgiven for thinking that this falls into the "too hard" bucket. But, there are steps organizations can take to get careers under control, help retain talent, and reduce costs.

  • Be clear on what you are offering — Define what is compelling about developing a career in your organization. What employee experiences will you deliver to help people continually grow and flourish in their careers?
  • Understand the current careers experience — Identify the norms and processes that drive the current experience and culture. Pinpoint quick wins to move towards your desired employee experiences and identify core needs to change the culture.
  • Take a strategic approach — Align the future talent requirements of your organization to business strategy. Utilize analytics to predict market shifts, future talent requirements, and transferable skills within your business. Offer employees the opportunity to grow their skills and career as the business grows, instead of being constantly disrupted by change.
  • Keep it personal — Guide people on their options using an understanding of them as individuals. Use the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), to learn more about your people and give personalized recommendations for near and future roles, growth experiences, and learning opportunities.
  • Keep it easy — Ensure the experience of finding and applying for a job within your organization is at least as easy as searching and applying externally. By proactively pointing employees towards roles that are a good fit for them, the hard work of trawling internal job boards should be a thing of the past.
  • Be a partner for your employees — Responsibility for careers has been pushed firmly towards employees in recent years. But without transparency and guidance, this has resulted in confusion and disengagement. Create a partnership in which ownership is held by employees, but they are supported with the information and guidance they need, whether from new digital experiences or more traditional career conversations with managers.

Exploring these areas will help you begin to improve the career experience in your organization, help your employees' feel more in control of and engaged in their careers and will likely improve retention. As our data revealed, only about half of employees are getting the career development opportunities they want. With today’s technology and the ability to provide personalized career experiences, now is the time to act.

Learn more from The Employee Experience Index research report and see how IBM Watson Career Coach can help you reduce turnover by optimizing talent mobility.