The business world is in the midst of fundamental change. By 2020, and beyond, the ability of organisations to manage their talent efficiently will mark the difference between success and failure.

The corporate sphere is facing a domain where the best and brightest talent are prepared to follow their own agenda and opportunities, wherever they may be and irrespective of who is offering them. The emergence of a new generation of workers presents an entirely new set of challenges. Talent management will become a key strategic tool, with the concept of Talent Mobility taking centre stage.

What is Talent Mobility?

Talent Mobility is the practice of moving people within an organisation, anticipating that new skills will be gained and sharpened through the employees’ new roles and responsibilities. The objective is to have the right talent at the right place at the right time to ensure business results and successful business outcomes.

Fundamentally, Talent Mobility is the movement of talent across the organisation – across projects, roles, teams, divisions and locations – to drive employee engagement and retention.

According to the 2015 Talent Mobility Research Report, more than 40% of the 257 organisations surveyed said they rarely, or never, provide career planning or development within a Talent Mobility context. What’s more, according to a May 2014 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 42% of 600 employees surveyed say their organisation’s commitment to professional development is “very important” to their job satisfaction.

According to a Deloitte report, Talent Mobility: 2020 and beyond, Talent Mobility is evolving from a straightforward transfer of skills to a far more complex concept, designed to address a diverse set of business needs:

• The need to develop well-rounded leaders of the future, with a truly international perspective.

• The need to offer exciting career opportunities to the best talent as competition to attract and retain the best intensifies.

• The recognition that an organisation can benefit from a two way transfer of knowledge, skills and experience. Every market is a fertile ground for new ideas.

• The recognition that in an increasingly international world, where key roles often have a regional perspective and travel is relatively painless, the idea of a ‘home’ country is becoming less relevant.

The Mercer/WEF Talent Mobility Research report resonates with Deloitte’s sentiments and expands the definition of Talent Mobility by including the strategic focus on value creation, segmentation by talent type, connection to human capital and corresponding with business goals.

As such, Talent Mobility is defined as “The physical movement of workers within or across organisations, industries or countries, and globally, or the professional movement of workers across occupations or skill sets.”

Mobility may be temporary or permanent and may also involve moving people from unemployed to employed, moving jobs to people, or allowing for virtual mobility.

A strategic endeavour that can yield significant business results

It’s important to remember that an effective Talent Mobility programme does more than simply track movement within an organisation. It is a strategic endeavour that can yield significant business results. In addition to experiencing positive bottom-line results, organisations that thoughtfully and strategically address Talent Mobility are positioning themselves for more sustainable and long-term performance.

The key advantages of a strategic Talent Mobility programme are extensive, and include the following themes:

1. Employees are viewed as assets to the organisation, leading to greater employee engagement and retention.
2. Organisations can scale back on external hiring, thus reducing talent acquisition costs.
3. Companies can limit competitive-advantage leakage.
4. The organisational system experiences a streamlined flow of information.
5. Employees can be developed into leaders, increasing bench strength and decreasing gaps.
6. Organisations achieve better bottom-line performance.

Talent Mobility programmes should be inextricably tied to the clear objective of staffing business units with the best employees when needed. For a Talent Mobility programme to succeed, organisations need to understand the programme’s financial impact, clearly articulate and communicate an internal mobility policy, motivate through a receptive corporate culture and strong buy-in from executive management, and execute on a solid foundation of well-optimised technology and processes. By employing quality talent, organisations can create environments that encourage creativity, increase productivity and lead to increases in shareholders’ values.

A clearly communicated Talent Mobility initiative based on good processes and technology can capitalise on the set of skills that an employee acquires on the job through training and experience, increasing that employee’s value to the organisation. In turn, by offering professional alternatives, the organisation will increase the likelihood that their best employees stay challenged, engaged and committed to your organisation.

Janko A. Kotzé
Organisational Psychologist
M: +27 (0)83 233 7147

About the author

Janko is an Industrial and Organisational (IO) Psychologist and holds a Master’s Degree in IO Psychology at Unisa (Cum Laude). He has extensive consulting experience and has designed and delivered Talent Management solutions to over 30 clients across various industries.

He is the Founder and Director of Human Interest Consulting. A boutique talent management consulting firm that partners with organisations to create high-performing, integrated Talent Ecosystems that allow people to prosper. He is a skilled people strategist and facilitator and likes to embed new strategies through individual and group coaching engagements.

Janko has written numerous articles and is a sought after conference speaker. He has represented South Africa in the 110m hurdles at Youth, Junior and Senior National level and has aided international athletes and sport teams in the art of Mental Excellence.

Janko’s qualifications include a BCom Sport Management, BCom Hons Industrial Psychology, Certificate in Marketing & Customer Centricity (Cum Laude) and an Intensive Coaching Training Accreditation (Cum Laude). He is a member of Coaches and Mentors of South Africa (COMENSA), Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychologists of South Africa (SIOPSA), Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP).


Solving the talent mobility puzzle: implications for global mobility managers
How internal talent mobility is the new career path
Talent mobility: 2020 and beyond
Talent Mobility: A Global Approach to Talent Management
Upsurge in talent mobility
Global Mobility: Managing a global workforce
What is “Talent Mobility?”
The Human Capital Report 2016

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