Contributed by Matt Charney, Head of Community, Talent Acquisition at HR.com

What happens in hiring doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense, and internal mobility reveals one of the biggest disconnects between hiring success and recruiting reality. While dedicated TA headcounts and budgets have yet to recover to their pre-pandemic levels, recruiters today are increasingly asked to do more with less — and in a much tighter talent market with increasingly cutthroat competition for a finite supply of qualified workers. As a result, many employers are turning to solutions and technologies designed to expedite the hiring process as much as possible.

When it comes to connecting people to jobs at scale, however, the solution is more high touch than high tech. Responding to the unique challenges of today’s world of work requires refocusing your recruitment efforts not on sourcing and developing external candidates but, instead, on taking a step back and starting your hiring process with the highest performing of all talent communities — your own org chart.

If you’re among the majority of employers without an internal recruiting strategy or wondering how to improve and optimize your existing internal mobility strategy, there’s never been a better time than right now. So where to start? What are some critical things employers should consider when building a business case for prioritizing internal recruiting — and how do you create a culture of talent mobility and career development at your organization?

Finding unicorns in your org chart

According to a recent study from Indeed, there are pretty compelling reasons for refocusing and reprioritizing internal hiring. Reduced time in  hiring and onboarding, significant declines in hiring costs, long-term cost savings (particularly around direct compensation and internal agility) and increased engagement — given these (and more) inherent advantages, the best talent available to your organization is overwhelmingly already employed there. That’s where, in this business of hiring, you’ll find your short list of unicorns.

After all, almost all employers like to consider their companies an “employer of choice” (even if their offer-acceptance rates seem to proffer evidence to the contrary). Even the highest-volume, highest-turnover organizations have existing employer branding and messaging conveying that any job posting represents more than just a job — it’s a starting point for building a successful career.

A lot of that messaging, though, is perceived as generic and almost as specious as “our people are our greatest assets.” If you want to create a competitive hiring advantage, it’s time to transform what’s become cliche into a meaningful, foundational element of your company’s culture and employee value proposition.

Employees who have worked in multiple departments or business units — even if those movements have been lateral as opposed to strictly linear — report much higher levels of company loyalty and job satisfaction than employees within their same department who lack the same depth of internal experience. Empirically, then, the quickest way to upskill any workforce seems pretty simple: provide as many paths to internal mobility as possible.

Made it this far: A long retention span

Whether part of a rotational program or a dedicated internal recruiting and employee-development initiative, moving people around within an organization makes workers feel more invested in not only their job performance but also the bigger business picture and their impact on organizational success. And the more invested employees are, the greater the relative ROI will be for both recruiting and retention.

Additionally, internal mobility’s significant impact on retention results makes hiring exponentially less frustrating. Instead of constantly building and nurturing a pipeline of potential candidates, your organization can instead focus on proactively developing, retaining and engaging top performers and high-potential workers.

This doesn’t mean a stop to external sourcing; internal mobility, obviously, creates the need to backfill existing roles with new hires. The difference is that most of these internal movements are ultimately promotions and backfilling these roles requires less experience or position-related requirements than backfilling the higher level jobs successfully filled through internal hiring. In short, backfilling is easier to source.

And, naturally, organizations that consistently develop and promote internal workers as an integral part of their talent culture are much more likely to generate exponentially more referrals than those without a talent mobility strategy in place. In the HR.Research Institute report, “The State of Employer Branding and Recruitment Advertising 2022,” 75% of HR professionals surveyed used employee referrals to attract candidates — the top method, above job ads (72%) and physical events, like job fairs and conferences (40%). So ask yourself: what portion of your talent budget is devoted to employee mobility? What could be a big miss is, fortunately, easily correctable.

Company culture and internal recruiting 

HR departments, managers and employees — we all share the responsibility for investing in internal recruiting. It starts with an organization’s commitment to a talent-sharing mindset, a focus that creates continuous development opportunities for employees across roles, projects or gigs within their current jobs.

Internal recruiting builds on a foundation of support: managers need to have deeper conversations with their teams about expectations for future assignments, including how that work may impact career paths over time. They should also be intentional about modeling transparency, regularly updating senior leadership on hiring successes and challenges so expectations are aligned around the company’s needs versus individuals’ ambitions.

Finally, employees must recognize that mobility will be a natural part of working at your organization, and taking advantage of that opportunity includes keeping skill sets up to date, discovering cross-training opportunities and encouraging cross-functional collaboration as possible.

Insights From Indeed

If you’re interested in learning more about how to turn internal recruiting into a competitive advantage for delivering hiring success, you won’t want to miss our upcoming virtual event, “Turning Attrition into Attraction,” on May 19 (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT).

I’ll be joined by Eoin Driver, Vice President of Global Recruiting at Indeed.com, for a look at what’s new, what’s next and what every recruiter needs to know to survive (and thrive) when it comes to internal recruiting and mobility.

Give us an hour and we’ll give you actionable tricks, tips and takeaways you can really use right now to successfully transform attrition into attraction at your organization. Click here to register now.