Make It Easier for Employees to Change Jobs Internally

March 19, 2020

Contributor: RJ Cheremond

To create career opportunities and close skill gaps, make it easier for employees to switch roles inside the organization.

Employees often quit their jobs due to a lack of career opportunities — and take with them key skills and capabilities. A job move inside the organization could keep them, and proactively engage others who aren't actively looking to leave.

“Recent data showed 26% of employees actively looking for a new career opportunity, and another 39% open to the idea, although not actively searching,” says Lauren Smith, Vice President and Team Manager, Gartner. “One way to reduce turnover rates is to create more desirable internal career opportunities for employees.” 

Read more: Build a Vibrant Internal Labor Market and Increase Your Talent Pool

The pull strategy for active job seekers

The goal for active job seekers is to pull them toward open roles. Make those roles easy to find, specify a preference for internal hires and clarify the career benefits they offer. Gartner research finds that only 27% of active job seekers agree that their organization makes it easy for them to find job opportunities that suit their interests. 

Organizations will benefit from maintaining active job seekers when they make it easier for employees to locate internal openings and apply successfully.

To attract all three groups of active job seekers, HR leaders must adopt a nuanced approach tailored to different segments of job seekers:

  • Yours to lose. According to the 2019 Gartner Global Labor Market survey, 10% of active job seekers prefer to find opportunities within the organization. To avoid disappointing these employees, ensure they are aware of vacant positions and that managers and HR leaders are available to help them.
  • Winnable. Globally, 7% of employees are actively looking for a new job but are equally open to an internal or external position. Make it as easy for these employees to find internal roles as external ones. Tout the benefits of an internal role: Faster career growth and an easier transition.
  • At high risk of leaving. Some employees (9%) would prefer a new job outside the organization. You may be able to convert some by making them aware of attractive internal vacancies and highlighting the benefits of remaining at the organization. For those who leave anyway, make their transition smooth and try to maintain long-term relationships.

Read more: U.S. Companies Offer Less of a Pay Bump to Attract Job Switchers

The push strategy for those not actively looking

Under the right circumstances, even employees not actively looking (39%) can be nudged into pursuing an internal opportunity — as can the segment of employees (36%) who claim to be closed to switching. With employment rates at record lows, external recruiters are introducing new methods through employee referrals and social media to attract employees.

A recent Gartner survey found that 52% of employees say they would respond to recruiters from outside organizations if approached. To retain these employees, leverage tactics that present them with compelling opportunities:

  • Use matching algorithms or AI-based tech solutions to give qualified candidates personalized job recommendations.
  • Allow managers and employees to refer each other to open vacancies to encourage internal mobility.
  • Involve recruiters by linking internal filling targets to their performance indicators and provide them access to employee information.
  • Elevate the responsibility for the long-term growth and career interactions of employees from direct supervisors to "managers once removed" by allowing them to play an active role in executive meetings.

The secret to maximizing retention is for HR leaders to balance resource allocation and proactive action and develop strategies that target both active job seekers and employees who are not actively looking for new positions.

Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

Join your peer CHROs and HR leaders from leading organizations to discuss specific HR challenges and learn about top HR trends, insights and priorities.