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overcoming talent scarcity with a modern approach to mobility

overcoming talent scarcity with a modern approach to mobility.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the outlook for the UK talent market is currently very intense. Organisations are walking a precarious tightrope; balancing the need to resource teams with skilled and engaged talent, with the reality that it’s not possible or affordable to hire people with the necessary skills in sufficient numbers. 

After the global turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have also been contending with the challenge of losing key talent to the Great Resignation. This all makes for a challenging time for HR professionals as employees know they now have many more flexible options at their fingertips outside their current organisation.

Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK employers say they are planning to take on new staff in the next three months according to the CIPD. But as expected, recruitment difficulties remain, with 45% saying they have hard-to-fill vacancies. Encouragingly, employers are also looking to other means to tackle staffing challenges with 39% focused on upskilling existing staff.

We recently launched our major research into coaching with the first-ever worklife coaching report. Here, talent mobility was highlighted as a 2022 priority for global HR leaders. It was also cited as a way of boosting retention when complemented with coaching to enable discussions about new opportunities in an existing organisation. 

related content: worklife coaching — democratized coaching to win the talent war.

At the start of the year, we began working with a UK publisher, HR magazine, to investigate this further. We conducted a reader’s survey into talent mobility. We wanted an insight into the current hiring market, the challenges, and the clever strategies being used to counter these issues and meet the changing talent needs. Importantly, we wanted to look at the different approaches organisations are taking to talent mobility, both as a solution to the talent crisis and to enhance employee engagement.

What we are launching this week is a summary of key findings from the research, which we believe offers some fresh ideas and thinking to help organisations up and down the UK reimagine the flow of talent. 

One notable shift is the desire to reduce dependence on contractors and promote more internal mobility. This isn’t a decision based purely on cost, although a mobility programme is typically more affordable than acquiring net new talent (even with reskilling investment accounted for). It is more about culture and specifically the buy-in of an existing employee to your organisational culture. If you can develop the skills of an existing employee, you retain that buy-in and the value of investment for a longer period. 

The survey also revealed the challenges most organisations have with redeployment. Nearly two-thirds of organisations surveyed don’t have a redeployment programme in place. And, of those that do, only 11% say it is highly effective. 

What is clear is that aligning an internal mobility programme with talent strategies is a key goal for organisations to stay on top, avoid future disruptions, and ultimately keep top talent. Part of how organisations will achieve this adaptability and fill new roles will be by creating a more mobile existing workforce.

We have created a response to this and other findings from the report to guide you on the way. It’s clear that in the coming years, organisations will have to be much more creative and innovative with their talent strategies. Static, inflexible, and impersonal approaches to internal mobility will lead to talent scarcity issues, so HR will need to deliver more flexible and responsive programs to retain talent, albeit in different roles. 

In our report, we offer some practical suggestions on getting a more accurate picture of the skills your employees possess and how you can get smarter and faster at matching people with relevant skills to the work to be done. No longer can an organisation solely rely on recruiting top talent from outside, much more work needs to be done to understand what skills existing talent possesses and what possibilities they wish to pursue. That is how we believe the current and future talent challenges will be overcome.