Talent mobility has a number of advantages – it can enhance skills of individual employees, provide avenues and opportunities for experimentation of new ideas, projects and business opportunities. But not all companies are open to taking this kind of a risk. This is because there are number of challenges that stand in the way of conceiving and implementing talent mobility programs. One of the principal concerns includes cost, and can be segregated into – 1) cost of living concerns (both within national and international moves); 2) the opportunity cost of hiring a new employee; and 3) budget limitations.
The second key concern has to do with culture. Often, intra-team dynamics within groups allow for the development of their own norms and cultural attributes that help them collaborate together. And each time a high potential employee is placed in new teams, they have to adapt to these norms. This is both an opportunity and challenge for companies as the individuals in question are required to have an open mindset.
The third concern has to do with information and technology. Companies need to have access to skill repositories, employee preferences and the right tools to enable a smooth transition. Thus talent mobility programs often require companies to structurally account for their talent preferences in a manner that an immediate team member or boss might articulate.
The way forward
One of the first steps to driving talent mobility programs is to build an ecosystem of support. Employees are often confronted with questions, doubts and fears. It is the responsibility of the HR department to tackle this challenge. Apart from this, for extending support to the individual, HR departments should explore avenues of supporting family members too. Another key step is to budget for the program. Companies often run ad-hoc programs because they fail to budget and estimate costs in advance.
Providing visibility to the talent and talking about success stories not only creates awareness but also builds confidence. And tackling the information dearth is where technology can play the role of an enabler – this means skill tracking, mapping aspirations and knowing your talent in a far greater detail. Other measures of encouraging talent mobility includes incentivizing relocation, making such programs a part of the employer value proposition and driving initiatives that create a bias for agility.
(This article is based on a pre-conference session at TechHR 2016)