Optimizing Internal Mobility?

Mobility is a contemporary term frequently encountered in HR matters. But what can you do with it, and what does mobility exactly entail? Mobility is essentially an umbrella term for all movements that take place within an organization. These movements include the inflow, transition, and outflow of employees. For instance, the hiring of new employees or employees transitioning to different positions. A well-functioning mobility flow is desirable for an organization to have. It’s also important for its employees because mobility is a way to stimulate and facilitate employee development. Mobility can be categorized into six terminologies. This document focuses on Internal Mobility. For those interested, the description of all types of mobility is provided at the end of the document.

Investing in mobility is a win-win situation for both a company and its employees. Research indicates a positive relationship between mobility and employee employability. The more frequently individuals change jobs, fields, or locations, the higher the mobility. The greater the mobility within an organization, the higher the employability of its employees. This is related to how employees perceive opportunities within the organization, also known as labor perspective. By giving employees the opportunity to develop, you assign them individual responsibility to remain mentally and physically fit for the job, and also to possess the right knowledge and skills to perform the work to the best of their ability. If an organization offers this, it’s more likely that employees will want to stay with the organization for a longer period. Mobility can thus be seen as an outcome of employability, as well as a means to enhance employability.

One way to enhance employability is by developing employees’ soft skills. By gaining better insight into the skills your employees possess and wish to develop, you encourage them to be more employable in their work. This can also have positive implications for the organization. Below, we have listed a number of positive implications:
Focusing on mobility matters can have the following positive implications for the organization:
– Long-term cost savings on recruitment. By having an overview of your current employees’ soft skills, you can work on better preselection of new employees;
– Greater organizational flexibility, including quicker filling of vacancies within the organization. It’s also relevant to infuse the organization with fresh perspectives;
– Increased employee satisfaction; they will be less likely to explore options with other employers, and your employees will see that you prioritize their development and growth. This will keep them engaged with the organization and motivated to further develop;
– Optimization of departments. This pertains to maintaining high organizational quality and striving to remain an attractive employer by providing security.


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Descriptions of types of mobility.

These can be divided into 3 dimensions:
Internal vs. External Mobility: When employees move within the organization, such as changing positions, this is considered internal mobility. Employees finding work outside the organization, regardless of whether initiated by the employees or the employer, is seen as external mobility.
Forced vs. Voluntary Mobility: When an employer initiates a change in an employee’s position, it’s termed forced mobility. Voluntary mobility is when a change in position occurs on a voluntary basis. The source of the initiative, whether from the employee or employer, doesn’t matter.
Vertical vs. Horizontal Mobility: Vertical mobility occurs when an employee transitions to a different job level, often involving a higher-level position (upward) but can also involve a lower-level position (downward). If a role involves an expansion or narrowing of tasks (specialization), it’s considered horizontal mobility. Employees progress within the same job level to a different role.

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