The world of work is evolving, and smart companies get it. The most resourceful business leaders are embracing career mobility — investing in their people, growing talent, and helping workers manage their careers.
In July, researchers at McKinsey recommended that organizations looking to pivot, adapt, and thrive amid disruption “revamp their upskilling and retraining approaches and adopt an agile approach to strategic workforce planning.”
At the most innovative companies, this work is already underway because their leaders know that real business value is created when employee learning is strategically connected to opportunity. On a tactical level, this happens when organizations establish an internal marketplace that connects employee skills and skill development to ongoing, real-time, in-house opportunities for people to explore stretch assignments, gigs, mentorships, and more.
Laying Your Foundation
Understanding the value of career mobility and adapting your organization to support it are two very different things.
At Degreed, we believe that a strong career mobility program rises on four pillars:
- Skills strategy
- Implementation strategy
Let’s take a deeper look at each.
Culture: Managers Make the Difference
Transforming your culture in partnership with managers who support workforce development is critical.
When managers are assessed purely on their ability to get work done, they hoard talent — particularly their star performers. But when they’re evaluated on their leadership skills, they’re more likely to be flexible about sharing talent with other teams and more open to letting their people be mentored by other team leaders.
“There has to be a culture where managers are actually rewarded for helping their employees progress and succeed,” Degreed CLO Kelly Palmer said. “This type of culture needs to be supported from the top down and from the bottom up.”
Skills Strategy: For the People
Your skills strategy should put workers and their experiences first.
“Pay is a form of recognition and reward. But it’s only one part of the employee value proposition,” said Janice Burns, Degreed Chief Career Experience Officer. “The second part is related to career mobility. For employees to continue to invest in our companies with their time, energy, expertise, wellbeing, and effort, it’s important for them to know and to see that the company is dedicated to growing their skills and protecting their careers.”
Through an effective skills strategy, employees produce skill data for your company, which is crucial fuel for a functioning career mobility system with relevant growth opportunities.
Technology: Shop to Engage
When it comes to your career mobility technology, it’s crucial to find a solution that puts the employee at the center.
All too often, opportunities are buried in the same places people go to enroll in benefits, complete their performance reviews, or request time off. These are systems that workers use infrequently. They’re built for the administrator to standardize and automate processes, not for the workforce.
“The first principle and probably the most important is experience and engagement,” said Danny Abdo, Degreed VP of Solutions Consulting. “Remember, career mobility relies on employees voluntarily engaging. You can’t really force them to do it like you can with things like compliance (training).
“To me, experience begins with establishing the value that is behind the experience you want employees to engage in. That’s what will get the user to engage. And once they engage for the first time, it shifts to making sure that experience is as pleasant and frictionless as possible, so that they will continue to engage and build out that cycle of receiving and giving value.”
Implementation: Be Focused & Fast
For your career mobility implementation, you don’t need to boil the ocean.
“We think we need this one big strategy that’s going to solve all the problems in our organization,” said Sarah Mullens, Degreed Global Business Solutions Architect. “But what we’ve seen the most successful companies do is to focus very specifically on one or two problems that they’re looking to solve and drive solutions, as often and as quickly as possible.”
It’s all about starting small to gather feedback and data, then iterating and redesigning based on that information. Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Just get started, and allow that feedback to guide you.
Want to learn more?
Take a deeper dive by enrolling in Degreed’s new mini email course, 5 Days of Career Mobility.
When you enroll, you’ll receive expert advice and insights from learning, talent, technology, and HR experts, including Palmer, Burns, Mullens, and more.
Each day, you’ll gain access to new videos, articles, and checklists in bite-sized pieces. We know you don’t have time for a formal course (neither do we), so these lessons were designed to be completed in 15-20 minutes per day.
Ready to get started? Register now.