Report: Internal mobility & skills diversification are key to retention
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Report: Internal mobility & skills diversification are key to retention

What if there were a magic bullet that would ensure your best people would stay with your organization? Well, according to a comprehensive new report on workplace trends, there just may be such a thing.

For its 2023 Workplace Learning Report, LinkedIn Learning surveyed almost 1,600 learning professionals and more than 700 employees worldwide about key learning and development topics. One of the findings from the data may open some eyes: Employees who have made an internal move within their first two years in an organization have a 75% likelihood of remaining with it for the long haul. For those who haven’t made such a move, the likelihood is just 56%.

That’s a pretty big difference, and requires some analysis.

Building employee value

What happens when an employee makes an internal move?

Sure, some such moves may arise from a person not being very good at the job they were originally hired for. But more often, an internal move — properly planned, communicated and executed — is seen by the employee as an opportunity to learn new skills and become a more valuable overall player. And these are powerful motivators. In fact, opportunities for career growth and the development of new skills are two of the top five factors that make a job attractive, the report says.

So it’s not surprising that, according to the report, the No. 2 priority for C-suites (after employee engagement) is “giving employees opportunities to move into different roles within the business.”

Yet, the report also indicates that internal mobility, priority or not, isn’t actually happening all that frequently. Just 15% of the employees surveyed said their organization had encouraged them to move into a new role in the prior six months. And just 26% said their organization had challenged them to learn a new skill.

The ‘career lattice’

Ideally, the report says, greater internal mobility would help employees build and navigate a “career lattice” — a web of skills usable in various roles and situations — rather than the traditional career ladder. Jane Oates, a former assistant secretary of Labor for employment and training, is quoted as saying that leaders “should be talking about learning with respect to career mobility within their organization.” She went on, “If there isn’t mobility in a certain part of an industry, employees can explore different functions, find overlap with their current skill set, and then add, tack, or stack on new learning and skills.”

What’s this mean for learning professionals?

Perhaps the main point is this: Training to help employees better do their current jobs is fine and necessary. But when employees are given the opportunity to learn new roles and functions within the organization, training for those roles becomes a dynamic vector both of new skills and career development. People like that kind of progress, and will stick around to experience it.

This blog post is based on “Building the Agile Future,” LinkedIn Learning’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report.



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