Train, retain or let go?

working at an office

Internal mobility is not a new concept, but it is an increasingly hot topic in the RPO space. A healthy level of movement or promotion of existing employees can provide many benefits for clients, and a proactive approach to it can help create an engaged talent pool among your own people.

One of the oldest questions for internal HR and resourcing teams is: when do you train and retain the people you have, and when do you let them go in favour of a new employee?

To train and retain…?

Internal mobility emphasises the benefits of providing existing employees with the opportunity to progress. There are a lot of advantages to encouraging internal mobility, creating rewards for businesses and employees alike. It can help establish and grow a business that is built by long-term, loyal employees, and it can also help foster higher levels of motivation and rewards for hard work.

Although many businesses start off by looking externally for the perfect candidate, often that candidate is already working for the company. So long as a business is proactive and establishes an effective system to identify potential candidates already working for them, they can find internal mobility provides not only a form of motivation and fairness for employees, but also provides a better solution than external recruitment.

Some of the key benefits of promoting or moving existing employees, include:

  • They know the company
    People who know how the company works from the bottom up will understand the business better and can make better informed decisions appropriate for that business. There will be a far shorter settling in period for existing employees, giving them an advantage over external candidates and providing an immediate benefit to the business.

  • Existing working relationships
    People who have already spent time working for the business will already be part of their teams, meaning they can benefit from established working relationships with their colleagues. Teamwork and understanding are key qualities in any team, and are especially important for leadership positions. External candidates may need to take more time to forge working relationships, meaning it may take more time before they are operating at full capacity.

  • Quicker training time
    Similarly, existing employees already know a lot about how the business works and will tend to need a lot less training on everyday business processes compared to a newcomer. While the specifics of the new role will still require some time and training, a lot of internal employees will already have a basic understanding of their new role and may find they can adapt very quickly. This can help them to hit the ground running and ensure the business as a whole is working at full capacity.

  • You know what you’re getting…
    While extensive interviewing can say a lot about a potential candidate, there’s simply no substitute for personal experience of working with someone. When looking to hire from within the company, businesses can benefit from having worked alongside a candidate for years as it is possible to have a clearer perception on whether the candidate possesses the right personal qualities and professional competencies to excel in a new role.

…or let go?

In the end, recruitment is about fitting individuals to roles and companies. Some people are unwilling or unable to be trained in new roles, and some jobs will require new skills and experience that a business simply cannot find among its existing staff.

Some individuals leave a company to seek new, more and different experiences at another business, sometimes because those experiences are not available with their current employer. These different experiences can be hugely beneficial, not just for the individual and in the short term, but also for your own company if that individual chooses to return to you at some future point. So, it is worthwhile considering the long-term benefits of maintaining a strong alumni network, as well as considering longer term “indirect” internal mobility, via departures and returns of talented employees. 

With the time and resource it can cost a business to source and recruit an external candidate – and for all the reasons listed above – it will always pay to look in before you look out. 

For more information about trends in internal mobility download our Recruitment Outsourcing Insights Report