Talent Mobility: Next-Generation Talent Management?


Fifteen years, seven fantastic jobs, participation in countless project working groups and relocation to five countries with the same organisation – random luck?  Well partly for sure! On reflection, however, I have also been the very grateful recipient of a whole series of Talent Mobility interventions.  These have served to keep me engaged, supported the achievement of my career goals, helped me create meaningful connections right across our organisation, build skill and so much more!

What is Talent Mobility?

Organisations increasingly require the ability to quickly mobilise their people, re-skill them and support their transition to any part of the business, or around the globe, at any time. This only becomes possible through an understanding of internal talent pipelines, as well as external talent networks.  Put simply, Talent Mobility to me or to the Bank is: The process of deploying, internal or external, talent to where it best supports the business strategy”.

5 Talent Mobility Interventions

Some Talent Mobility ideas and initiatives are completely “new” but in my view, the best are those that seek to complement, and enhance, the effectiveness of traditional talent management processes of succession management, resourcing, on-boarding, and capability development.  This could be by realigning them, combining them in a package or just making them more accessible, often through the effective use of digital platforms.

To illustrate this further listed below are five examples that we have used recently across Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS).

1- In this year’s Global Human Capital Trends survey by Deloitte, more than 50 percent of respondents stated that they found it easier to find a job outside their organisation than inside and 45 percent stated that this was a result of lack of information about opportunities. This was a statistic that resonated with thousands of roles available at any one point across the four GBS hubs across our footprint. While we have a great internal job portal, our Internal First percentage– i.ethe percentage of time we fill our roles with internal talent -remained in the 40s.  Our response, Internal Recruitment Fairs where all colleagues are invited to participate.  This could be to find their next role, meet line managers from an area they are interested in or just learn about a new area of the business.  The fairs are always prefaced by a series of Career Webinars that provide hints and tips on career management e.g. skills assessment, interview preparation or sharing common career paths.

2- Many organisations now have a strong suite of leadership development interventions across the Bank. Typically however these were reserved for a certain cadre or hi-potential colleagues and invitees are expected to participate irrespective of where they are on their personal leadership journey. We decided to turn that around, by democratising leadership development. This meant opening up one of our core future skills development courses to more groups of GBS colleagues.  On registration, colleagues were asked to summarise how the leadership program to add to their development via a short video clip.  This ensured the intervention was more focused, drove engagement and allowed our senior leaders to understand our talent pipeline in more depth. [add an image with lots of hands up] 

3- Standard Chartered is an emerging market bank with representation in more than 60 markets each with its own talent challenges.  For example in Malaysia where I am based, youth unemployment is 3 times the national average and, to meet the demands of businesses based here, the country needs 10000 Cyber security professionals (they are currently at 2500).  You might think that this has little to do with the Bank but it not only impacts our external talent pipeline but, as one of the biggest local employers, we have a responsibility to build the communities we work within.  Partnering with governments, NGOs and local Start-ups to facilitate external talent mobility is therefore critical.

4- Cross-border moves and assignments are so much more than just geographic relocations. They are more about transitioning skills across business functions and teams to help organisations increase efficiencies and future-proof our workforce.                                                                                                            

5- And finally, we are excited to work on the creation of an Internal Talent Market Place with a technology provider where internal “Gigs” can be advertised, potential mentors and mentees united and new roles advertised not across the whole Standard Chartered Group. 

Enabling Talent Mobility  

While Talent Mobility interventions may often be rooted in traditional talent management, three critical organisational “shifts” can support their successful adoption.

  • People leader mindset- The people leader’s view on recognising that talent management needs an understanding of talent pools both inside and outside of the organisation and talent movement can support colleague engagement, retention and their ultimate development
  • Aligning potentially competing agendas- Often organisations have a corporate sustainability plan, a diversity, and inclusion program, and an employee engagement strategy.  Successful Talent Mobility is where these come together.
  • Culture change-The fundamental view that everyone is talented and has potential.  Some, of course, will have more potential than others.

Is the Adoption of Talent Mobility Worth It?

Overall all talent Mobility interventions worth it. In my view, if used effectively, they can be successfully deployed to resolve a number of organisational challenges:

  • Retaining talent- Talent Mobility is a must-have for any organisation looking to hire and retain good colleagues.  Talent retention is strengthened by providing access to a whole host of opportunities for colleagues to thrive and contribute to organisational success, and the ability to grow within an organisation. 
  • Creating an “Agile” mindset- Talent Mobility can be a way to embed collaboration and agility into an organisation’s culture as colleagues start to operate more in teams and networks across the organisation.
  • Optimising the team you have- Leaders realise that more open access to the diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and experiences held by the organisations’ own people is essential for success. To staff projects and programs as they grow, team leaders find expertise throughout the network, which is difficult if the organisation lacks an active and open internal mobility process.
  • Cross-skilling colleagues- where roles may be changing or falling away. Having a flexible team means that you can focus your external hiring efforts on the most specialised and difficult to fill positions.

For the Bank, all of these are in play at any point in time.  Talent Mobility, next-generation talent management, you decide!


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