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Internal-mobility strategies to overcome challenges due to recession 2023

Recruitment | 8 Min Read

Internal-mobility strategies to overcome challenges due to recession 2023


Recession is a challenging time for businesses, as it leads to reduced demand for products and services and a decrease in overall economic activity. In such times, it becomes important for organizations to adapt and find ways to weather the storm.

One way to do this is by implementing an internal talent mobility strategy. Internal mobility is the movement of employees within an organization, which can include promotions, transfers, and job rotations.

Here are some internal talent mobility strategies to aid recruitment during the recession of 2023.


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Why is internal mobility important during a recession?

By leveraging internal mobility, companies can retain top talent, improve employee morale, increase engagement, and drive innovation.

Research by Deloitte has shown that companies with strong internal talent mobility programs have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent.

Additionally, internal mobility can help organizations build a diverse culture, allowing employees from different backgrounds to learn from each other and grow within the company.


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What are the benefits of internal mobility?

In this section, we will examine the benefits of internal talent mobility, discuss best practices for implementing an internal talent mobility program, and provide examples of companies that have successfully used it to navigate economic downturns.

There are several benefits to implementing an internal mobility program. Following along the lines of prevention is better than cure; organizations can make themselves recession-proof.

  1. The biggest benefit of internal talent mobility is that it can help organizations build a diverse and inclusive culture. When employees have the opportunity to move within the organization and work on new roles and responsibilities, they are exposed to different perspectives and experiences, and this results in a more inclusive workplace.
  2. Another benefit of internal talent mobility is that it can help organizations retain top talent. Employees who see opportunities for growth within the company are more likely to stay, as they feel invested in their work and motivated to contribute to the organization’s success. This can be important during a recession when external job opportunities are limited.
  3. Internal talent mobility can also improve employee morale and engagement. It creates a healthy and competitive work culture. Employees know they will be reasonably considered for newer, more lucrative positions, so they remain competitive.
  4. Internal talent mobility can drive innovation within an organization. By exposing employees to different roles and responsibilities, companies can tap into their diverse skills and experiences to find new and creative solutions to business challenges. Companies can foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement by encouraging employees to take on new challenges and explore different areas of the business.
  5. Recession-proof businesses need to cut back on costs. Therefore, cutting back on external hiring and finding innovative ways to spread the existing workforce across newer requirements helps handle financial challenges in the future.

According to a survey by The Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost of hiring someone new is US$4,129 across industries, and it takes about 42 days to fill a new position. Internal talent mobility programs help save time and money.


Challenges that may arise in future

There are several challenges that organizations are likely to face when hiring in 2023, including:

  • Competition for top talent: With many organizations looking to hire new employees, competition for top talent may increase, making it difficult for organizations to attract the most qualified candidates.
  • Skills shortages: In specific industries and job roles, there may be a shortage of qualified candidates. This may make finding a suitable candidate to fill open positions difficult.
  • Remote work considerations: With many organizations continuing to operate remotely or offering flexible work arrangements, there may be additional onboarding challenges. Integrating new hires into the organization would ensure they have the necessary resources and support to succeed in their roles.


Seven internal talent mobility strategies to recession-proof your business

Economists say there is a 70% chance of a recession in the United States in 2023.

Therefore, organizations have already started devising recession-proof ideas to keep their businesses safe.

Investing in internal talent mobility is one of the best recession-proof strategies we can work on. The cream layer of talent gets more expensive to lure in as the economy slows down. With budget cutbacks, hiring will take a hit. Internal talent mobility strategies can help get the right employees to handle the workload and talent requirements.

A few strategies for internal talent mobility in 2023:


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1. Educate your employees about internal talent mobility

When you want to invest in internal talent mobility programs, you must first let your employees know about it. Only when the employees recognize the efforts taken in retaining and upskilling them will such efforts reap benefits.

You could start by conducting a survey asking what employees want from such programs and pass out emails and frequent messages about new ideas and implementations.

Mercer | Mettl’s Skills Gap Analysis can help gauge critical upskilling requirements of the current workforce. The assessment evaluates knowledge gaps to implement the right skill strategies for the future.

2. Invest in career enhancement programs

Invest in career enhancement programs to recession-proof your workplace for 2023 and the future. Employees don’t think of leaving when they have better opportunities in-house.

However, for this to happen, your employees need to know about opportunities. Career path frameworks show employees where they are right now and, with the right efforts, where they could go in terms of internal career growth.

This can be made possible by investing in the right talent mobility tools and adopting the right strategies.

Mercer | Mettl’s suite of online assessments helps with employee training, 360-degree feedback, skill gap analysis, and career alignment.

3. Focus on both vertical and lateral transitions

Vertical transitions happen when employees are promoted and move up the career ladder. However, when it comes to internal talent mobility, lateral transitions are also equally important.

Employees should be able to move from one role to another role laterally and change departments. Organizations that let employees explore lateral positions find their workforce holistically skilled.

4. Consistently promote and practice internal mobility

Internal talent mobility strategies are not one-time efforts. Organizations can use these strategies consistently by allocating resources, including time, effort, and money. Having an internal talent mobility team within the HR department is a great way to work on mobility strategies regularly.

5. Conduct skills gap analysis

Every organization has a different set of employees with different skill sets and talents. It is important to keep track of their skills to determine if they meet industry standards. It can help an organization determine areas where they are lacking in expertise and then take steps to address those gaps through internal mobility strategies.

  • Assessing current skills: This involves looking at skills that an individual or organization currently has and determining whether they are sufficient to meet the demands of the business environment.
  • Identifying skills needed for the future: This involves looking at skills that will be required to achieve organizational goals and determining whether the organization has these skills in-house or if they need to be developed and acquired through external means.
  • Comparing current skills to future needs: By comparing the skills that an organization currently has to those needed in the future, it is possible to identify any gaps or areas where additional skills development may be necessary.

Mercer | Mettl offers Training needs Analysis to help organizations create a future-ready workforce. This assessment helps identify people who can be trained to work in different work environments and job roles. It assesses learning agility, career aspirations, and skill proximity to nurture employees’ skills for the future.

6. Strengthen employees’ transferable skills

An employee doing desk work could have great potential in communication, but they may lack formal training in it. This person would only require a short learning experience to flourish in that field.

Transferable skills are applicable across a wide range of industries and job roles and can be valuable for employees looking to move into different positions or sectors within an organization.

Examples of transferable skills include communication, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork. By strengthening these skills, employees can become more versatile and adaptable and be better equipped to take on new challenges and responsibilities within the organization.

There are several ways that organizations can focus on strengthening transferable skills:

  • Offer training and development programs: Providing employees with opportunities to learn new skills and improve their existing skills to help them become versatile and adaptable.
  • Encourage employee rotation: Allowing employees to rotate between different departments or job roles to help them develop a range of transferable skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, etc.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning: Encouraging employees to continuously learn and develop their skills to help them stay relevant in an ever-changing business environment.

For example, Mercer | Mettl’s Leadership Assessment helps identify leadership qualities in candidates, such as creativity, partnering, accountability, and conflict management. It allows gauging leadership acumen in employees to promote and laterally appoint them to new positions.

7. Generate a passive candidate pool

A passive candidate pool refers to a group of individuals who are not actively seeking new job opportunities but may be open to hearing about potential opportunities if they arise. These candidates may already be employed but interested in exploring new opportunities that align with their career goals and aspirations.

There are several ways that organizations can tap into the passive candidate pool:

  • Use employee referral programs: Encouraging current employees to refer their friends and colleagues for job openings can help organizations access a wider pool of qualified candidates, including those who may not be actively seeking new opportunities.
  • Keep in touch with former employees: Maintaining contact with former employees who left the organization on good terms can help organizations stay connected with a pool of potential candidates who may be open to returning to the organization if the right opportunity arises.
  • Generate a candidate reserve: Keeping shortlisted resumes in reserve to reach out to relevant candidates without hassle when a position becomes available. This reserve can be filled over time when recruitment drives are carried out. All the skilled candidates who are good for the position but have not been hired can be added to this reserve.

Once in the recruitment funnel, these candidates can be assessed using Mercer | Mettl’s pre-employment tests. For example, personality tests help gauge candidates’ behavior, emotions, and cognition, and behavioral tendencies assess candidates’ behavior at work.



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In summary, internal talent mobility can provide a range of benefits for organizations looking to overcome recession-induced challenges. By building a diverse and inclusive culture, retaining top talent, improving morale and employee engagement, and driving innovation, internal talent mobility helps companies adapt and thrive in challenging economic conditions. In the current economic times, it is better to invest in a defensive strategy to retain, nurture, and motivate internal talent.



What are the challenges of implementing an internal mobility program?

What are the objectives of internal mobility?

Why does internal mobility need to be a key part of your talent strategy in a recession?

Originally published January 16 2023, Updated January 16 2023

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

The primary objectives of recruitment and selection are to ensure high-quality candidates who are culturally fit and work toward shared organizational goals and vision.

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