Closing the Skills Gaps: Internal Career Mobility

March 22, 2024 | Reskill Your Workforce | 4 min read

Career mobility isn’t just a lofty goal for employees, it’s also a strategic asset for companies looking to boost productivity and retain top talent.

Now, forward-thinking organizations recognize that helping their employees carve out new career paths within benefits the company as a whole. Not to mention, it leads to improved performance and innovation.

Careers aren’t like they used to be. Rather than staying in an organization for one’s whole professional life, then retiring, employees today are increasingly jumping from company to company, looking for the best opportunities, benefits, and more.

These changes in attitudes about what a typical career trajectory should look like have led to the formation of a more dynamic model of career progression where lateral moves can enhance skill sets and open new career trajectories, providing both organizations and employees with inspiration behind new norms and policies that have the potential to positively influence the workforce for generations to come.

When looking at career trajectories, it's better to think in terms of a career jungle gym than a career ladder. As companies across industries continue their digital transformations, findings from our reports reveal that career mobility through upskilling and reskilling in the workforce is the path forward.

Skill Gaps: Navigating Difficult Terrain

When skill gaps exist in a company, employers most often see increased levels of stress among employees. They’re overworked, overburdened, and short on the resources they need to do their jobs.

Projects also take longer to complete, making it harder to meet business objectives. All these consequences result in decreased innovation and customer satisfaction, while leading to an increase in security vulnerabilities and operating costs.

Upgrading professional abilities is essential for both personal and organizational success. To lessen the impacts of skills gaps, organizational decision-makers need to leverage professional development programs and embrace cultures of continuous learning in their daily operations.

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Strategies for Upskilling and Reskilling

For employees who are eager to expand their horizons without changing employers, a strategic focus on upskilling and reskilling is paramount. By learning new skills, employees have a better chance at internal career mobility and being successful in their new roles.

As employees build new skills, they can measure their progress through regular assessments. We use Skills Benchmarks to test a person’s skills at one stage of their journey, and then recommend training to close their skill gaps before testing again to gauge their progress. Along the way, learners earn badges to recognize their efforts and validate their newly acquired skillsets.

Upskilling and reskilling employees are strategic ways organizations can close skill gaps, retain their employees, and improve satisfaction and engagement at work.

The Power of Power Skills

The adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” needs a modern remix. Power skills have taken center stage in the contemporary workplace, and they are here to stay.

Skills like empathy, agility, creativity, and resilience have become a defining factor in the career trajectories of tech professionals. Power skills help facilitate better collaboration and leadership, as well as preparing employees to weather industry changes and stay ahead of the curve.

According to our Lean into Learning Report, power skills continue to hold the utmost importance for organizations. In fact, the top 20 digital badges of 2023 all related to developing different power skills such as:

  • Written Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • DEI

All employees need a balance between technical skills and power skills. Through effective training, employees can learn to hone these skills and proactively prepare themselves for career leaps within their organization.

Organizational Benefits of Internal Career Mobility

An organization’s most valuable resource is its employees. Encouraging and providing pathways for internal mobility has many benefits, the most prominent being that it demonstrates that companies truly value their workforce.

Here are some of the other main benefits of internal career mobility for both organizations and their employees:

  • Retention. Employees are 41% more likely to stay at their company longer when their organizations hire from within. By nurturing your employees, and providing them with opportunities for growth, you keep top talent and prove your organization’s trust in, and dedication to, its workers.
  • Collaboration. Having an agile work environment where employees can try new roles, take on different projects, and develop new skills fosters collaboration. This allows your team to fill skill gaps from within, saving both time and money in the long run.
  • Engagement. To keep people invested in your company, you need to be willing to invest in them. When employees are given the opportunity to develop their skills, it’s easier for them to maintain interest and investment in both their work and the organization as a whole.

Cultivating a Culture of Continuous Learning

The relationship between career mobility and skill enhancement is the future. For employees, closing skill gaps offers a dynamic and fulfilling professional life. For companies, it represents a strategic investment in their most crucial asset — their people.

The key to career mobility is creating a culture of continuous learning and adaptation, but simply checking a box is not enough. Rather, it’s about and fostering an environment where skills development is not only encouraged but rewarded.

By actively pursuing skills development and seizing internal opportunities, employees can not only keep pace with the changes in their industry, but also become agents of change within their organization.

Learn more today about how you can close skills gaps and foster career mobility within your organization today.