The Smart Way to Staff Up: Leveraging Internal Mobility

I was that annoying 20-something person in corporate America. I was always trying to take on more. I’m confident that my managers either loved working with me or hated it – there was no neutral. While I can appreciate the motivation and “go-getter” attitude, looking back, I’m a little ashamed of how hard I pushed to get promoted.

I would regularly go to my 1-1 asking if I was on track and what my path was going to look like. To me, that’s what I needed to prove I was doing something right. The program’s success was great, but I needed a title on a business card to prove that I was great. If I didn’t feel like I was going anywhere, I was looking elsewhere.

My manager could always sense that I was quickly running out of f*cks. Looking back on my role inside companies that were growing quickly, I realize there was 1 thing my manager and I weren’t talking about: how my skills might be a fit for other roles that were opening up inside of the company. No, instead they pigeon-holed me into expertise and eventually I always left.

Internal Mobility Encourages Growth

I didn’t want to leave, but I did want to get promoted. Truly, that’s what internal mobility is all about – allowing people to grow inside your organization instead of constantly swapping smart, driven people for another generation and hoping you get lucky enough to hire someone with the skills you need. Never mind all that time you have to spend explaining your products and what you’ve already done.

The benefits of internal mobility extend beyond employee retention. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, around 45% of employees consider internal job opportunities as a critical factor in their decision to remain with their current employer (LinkedIn, “Inside the Mind of Today’s Candidate,” 2019). Research from a study conducted by the Corporate Leadership Council found that internal hires tend to perform better and exhibit higher levels of job satisfaction compared to external hires (Corporate Leadership Council, “Driving Performance and Retention Through Employee Engagement,” 2012).

If you’re really thinking about the future of work, internal mobility is where it’s at. With approximately 79% of millennials stating that opportunities for professional growth are a key factor in their job satisfaction (Gallup, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” 2016), organizations can leverage internal mobility to attract, engage, and retain top talent, while creating a culture of continuous learning and advancement instead of just slapping some words on the wall.

Circulate Job Postings Internally First

Your next step here isn’t about setting up some formal internal mobility program. It’s about telling people inside of your organization that they can apply to jobs, then creating a pathway that allows them to seamlessly move into the interview phase if they are qualified for the role.

When it comes to the job posting, yeah sure – you can mention that some percentage of your team has been promoted from within. That’s huge. But here’s what I want to see even more.

I want you to circulate those job postings around the team before you post them externally. That means going back to all employees to say “I am curious if you know anyone who’d be great for this job” then doing what most people aren’t: asking, “are you or anyone on your team interested in this role?”

There are people in the most junior positions in your organization with a ton of talent that see nowhere else to go. If you’re really looking to re-engage employees with one foot out of the door that don’t actually want to leave, retain them with job opportunities that keep talented people in your organization.

Candidate Generation and Nurturing recruiting Workplace Trends

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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