SmartRecruiters Blog
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How Internal Mobility Improves Employee Engagement and Retention

Internal mobility is a time-tested strategy for improving retention: LinkedIn 2022 data shows a 19-point lift in retention for those who made an internal move during a 2-year period of employment.

In 2021, companies looked toward internal mobility as a way of addressing the Great Resignation. By 2022, the Great Resignation dwindled to a close when recession fears increased and layoffs abounded. 

  • In October 2022, the share of job seekers planning to quit their jobs within the next six months sat at 36%, down from an August 2021 high of 73%.
  • According to Joblist, 47% of candidates said concerns about a potential recession had made them less likely to quit their jobs.

The alternative to quitting one’s job came to be known as “quiet quitting,” a term that entered the news in August 2022. This new term for the old problem of “phoning it in” speaks to the outdated expectation that employees should perform at unsustainable levels for endless periods of time. 

Allyn Bailey, Executive Director, Hiring Success Services at SmartRecruiters, shared her perspective with SHRM in the article, Quiet Quitting: New Term for an Old Problem in a Changed Workplace:

“[Quiet quitting] is a performance issue—a behavior issue—and it’s always kind of existed,” she said. “What’s really happening, and what HR executives need to assess, is their employee population really redefining what the psychological contract is between companies and employees.” The crux of the problem, according to Bailey, is that employees are no longer buying into the myth that to be successful they have to subscribe to the “hustle culture and be always available and always ‘on’ 100 percent of the time.” 

A Better Hiring Process Can Prevent Quiet Quitting and New Hire Churn

If companies now have employees who would rather leave but have decided to stay, the importance of employee engagement and talent development increases. A 2022 survey by Lattice revealed that employee engagement unseated talent acquisition as a key priority for HR leaders:  41% of respondents reported that employee engagement is their top priority. Only 17% said talent acquisition was a priority, down from 39% in 2021.

In this environment, the focus of talent acquisition shifts in two ways:

  • how do we hire talent who will stay engaged? 
  • how do we continue to offer new opportunities to the talent we already have?

To address both scenarios, it’s even more important for TA teams need to double down on their hiring processes and internal mobility strategies:

  • An October 2022 survey revealed that nearly 3 in 5 (59%) managers say their organization is engaging in the practice of what economists call “labor hoarding” – a trending behavior among employers who have struggled to retain talent and want to avoid falling victim to another labor shortage.
  • But, 74% of HR professionals admitted to compromising candidate quality due to time pressures in response to the Great Resignation and a tight labor market.

Now that the Great Resignation has turned to what may become the Great Retention, it’s time for employers to stop compromising candidate quality. To do so, they need to consistently deliver a structured hiring process so that hiring teams can evaluate candidates on the criteria that matter most to the business. And to prevent quiet quitting and improve retention, employees need a job listing system that’s to use and offers transparency to hiring teams.

  • CityFibre sourced 21% of hires from internal employees in the first three months with SmartRecruiters Employee Portal.
  • By revamping its hiring processes in conjunction with SmartRecruiters, Colliers EMEA saw a 25% year-over-year increase in retention for first-year hires.

Your next set of new hires should stay with your company because they’re a good fit for their jobs and have development opportunities, not because they’re afraid of a recession. 

Looking ahead, companies that build strong processes for talent acquisition and internal mobility will weather any storm, whether it’s a full-fledged recession or another wave of resignations.

Lee Ann Prescott