Engaging our employees in 2021

As the workplace continues to evolve, keeping our employees engaged should remain high on the agenda for businesses. As the world has had to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, our workforce has had to work differently and develop new skills. Has this shift resulted in a new definition of ‘talent’? In order to recognise the skills of those that have been able to adapt and remain highly productive in a virtual or hybrid environment? How do we ensure that these versatile employees remain motivated? Could the hiring of these employees internally into new roles within our business, otherwise known as ‘internal mobility’, be a catalyst to drive employee engagement for 2021?

A shift in attitude since the Covid-19 pandemic

Pre-2020, several HR surveys indicated that on average 1 in 4 new hires left within their first six months, creating disruption and uncertainty. The main reasons given were that the role wasn’t what they expected it to be, they didn’t get on with their colleagues or manager, they didn’t like the company culture, and they saw no path for progression. Of course, the high numbers of people that we see out of work now in 2021 may mean people are more likely to stay put for a little bit longer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are satisfied, productive or engaged. If line managers are firefighting to keep the business afloat and there are no established systems for internal development or mobility, then there is a high chance that businesses simply retain expensive, but disengaged new hires.

Engaged Employee

The question is, how can businesses use internal mobility to develop and therefore engage employees in 2021?

Actus Internal Mobility Report

The questions raised in this blog led to us publishing our most recent Actus report written in conjunction with research by Mervyn Dinnen and Matt Alder of Two Heads Consulting. They conducted a series of interviews with HR and learning leaders, as well as quantitative research amongst the HR community to better understand why there exist inconsistencies with hiring talent internally and how we can address these issues to help improve employee engagement in 2021.

The majority of companies used in the research said they find it hard to redeploy internal talent for the following reasons:

1. Not all leaders have a full understanding of their teams’ capabilities
2. Line managers are resistant to releasing their best people as they fear losing skills and knowledge from their teams
3. It only happens when it’s employee-led
4. Directors think it’s fairer to appoint someone external then select individual employees for promotion internally
5. Lack of visibility of skills across the organisation
6. Managers want people who can hit the ground running and don’t need cross-training
7. Employees don’t always see internal moves as an opportunity to progress
8. Business leaders have often previously worked in smaller organisations so haven’t seen the benefit of sharing talent

The issues raised here are largely cultural, although many can be addressed through the right technology. One important finding from the report was that only 21% see internal mobility as being important to all their leaders and we can now see the wider impact of this thinking. Managers become reluctant to share the information, knowledge and data that could benefit their organisation as a whole. For some this leads to either employee themselves not seeing internal mobility as a route to progression, or in some cases the individual having to push for an internal move, possibly against the wishes of their manager.

It is clear that for organisations to engage their employees in 2021, they must look at ways to develop them and internal mobility provides a great opportunity for doing so. How to use internal mobility effectively is another matter and one that we address in our recent Internal Mobility Report (download here). For a summary of the 4 tips for improving internal mobility within your organisation, download our infographic via the button below.

Infographic: 4 ways to mobilise talent to engage employees in 2021

For further support on how you enable this change toward internal mobility, why not sign up for our change management training course?

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