What is internal mobility?
Internal mobility refers to your employees’ movement throughout the organization. It includes promotions, transfers, and demotions. Larger organizations tend to have a lot more mobility since there are more positions.
The greatest source of talent is already within the organization and a good internal mobility program leverage that talent to fill vacancies. But not just for the standard promotions within the same job family. Like a finance analyst to a finance manager. But for cross-functional opportunities too. Like a process improvement specialist transitioning to an organizational development role.
Calculating the internal mobility rate
First, total the number of internal movements for the time frame you want to look at. You will most likely want to use a full calendar year or fiscal year if it’s the first time calculating. That can then be used as a benchmark to compare against. Then, depending on the size of your organization, you can track the trend on a quarterly basis
Once you have the total number of promotions, demotions, and transfers, divide it by total headcount of employees. Take the resulting number and multiply it by 100 to get the percentage
Internal mobility rate = (total number of internal movements/total number of employees) x 100
Ex. internal mobility rate = (100/2500) x 100
Internal mobility rate = 0.04 x 100
Internal mobility rate = 4%
Getting your metrics to tell a story
Looking at the example above, it’s hard to tell if 4% is a good number or too low. But, when looked at with other HR metrics like turnover, you begin to form a story. For instance, if your turnover rate is at 5% and the internal mobility rate is at 4%, that means the majority of your open roles are being filled by the talent within the organization. It’s a sign of good succession planning, established talent and skill pools, clear career paths, and effective talent development.
On the flip side, a 4% mobility rate at an organization with a turnover rate of 25% doesn’t have the same indications. It shows that out of all the roles opening, very few are being filled with the talent already in the organization. A lot more time, money, and resources are being spent to hire externally. Hiring internally can lower your time-to-fills and cost-per-hire.
One other metric to look at with your internal mobility rate is diversity. Breaking down your mobility rate by diverse groups can show how inclusive your organization is. Compare how women are moving around vs men or Hispanic talent vs non-Hispanic. If there are low mobility rates for diverse groups, ask why. Are they leaving before they can be promoted or are not being looked at for other opportunities?
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