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Optimize hiring costs with an internal talent mobility program

Recruitment | 8 Min Read

Optimize hiring costs with an internal talent mobility program


The rising inflation and economic slowdown have encouraged market leaders to optimize their hiring budgets and other business processes. While this slowdown may or may not turn into a recession this year, it is best to prepare for cost-effective hiring.

Different industries may experience a change in talent hiring and management strategies because hiring managers need to fill crucial vacant roles even with budget cuts. In this scenario, internal talent mobility is an innovative strategy to ensure optimized talent hiring during an economic slowdown.

Internal mobility strategies like lateral and vertical talent movement, transferable skills development, and skills gap analysis encourage employees to get involved in cross-functional projects, move to a desired lateral role, or upskill.

Learn more about how internal mobility strategy optimizes hiring costs.


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Use internal talent mobility to reduce hiring costs

1. Streamline employee onboarding

Internal talent mobility helps quickly acquaint an internal employee with a new role. The time and effort needed to adjust a new hire into an organizational position is more compared to internal hiring.

According to Deloitte’s data, it takes around two years to receive optimum job role efficiency with an external hire, which an internal employee already has.

Internal talent already understands the organization’s goals, vision, and culture, so they are better equipped to adopt critical leadership roles without challenges. This reduces onboarding and L&D time spent on new hires, which unlocks cost benefits for the company.

2. Eliminate replacement costs

Using an internal mobility strategy helps save time spent on hiring new employees for different job roles. Recruitment processes, onboarding expenses, and upskilling for the new job role are expensive activities for organizations. Further, talent leaving your organization takes away multiple hours of on-the-job upskilling and training accumulated during their time with the organization.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s Retaining Talent study, the replacement cost for an employee is approximately six to nine times their salary.

Businesses can use internal talent mobility to optimize employee replacement costs and control hiring expenses in 2023. Additionally, an organization can use employees’ accumulated knowledge appropriately in the new job role.

3. Improve engagement

It is challenging for employees to leave a company that empowers their growth and ensures upskilling. Therefore, organizations encourage employees to build leadership and transferable skills through internal mobility opportunities.

Pew Research found that 63% of employees quit when they receive no advancement opportunities.

When organizations offer career opportunities in-house, employees can gain career growth and align it with the organization’s goals. Therefore, offering lateral and vertical mobility opens many possibilities for employees at different levels, improving overall employee engagement within the company.

4. Eliminate wrong hire costs

Offering internal talent mobility to employees can lower turnover. Employees can grow and stay engaged at work when they are offered training opportunities powered by appropriate tools, such as online hackathons. For example, Mercer | Mettl’s online hackathon provides engagement and learning opportunities to tech talent within the organization. Employees can improve problem-solving skills and business acumen.

These opportunities encourage employees to move within the organization, reducing turnover. Lower turnover reduces the pressure to hire quickly, eliminating wrong hires. According to a Career Builder Survey, 30% of employers made the wrong hiring decision because they felt the pressure to fill a position quickly.

The U.S. Department of Labor further explains that the cost associated with bad hiring is around 30% of the worker’s first-year salary. Internal mobility allows organizations to save the money spent on wrong hires.

5. Optimize salary range

Hiring the right candidate for a job role is costly. According to a Wharton School Study, an external hire expects 18% more salary than an internal or promoted employee. Therefore, hiring a new candidate will increase the salary range for a particular job role, increasing yearly employee expenses for the company.

Using internal talent mobility helps reduce the salary range because promoted employees expect appraisals according to industry standards, reducing the hiring cost for the company.

6. Reduce time to fill a position

When recruiting externally, the hiring team consistently spends time shortlisting, interviewing, and screening candidates. The money spent on these activities is directly proportional to the time taken to shortlist and hire a candidate (time to fill).

Internal mobility strategies reduce the time to fill a position, hence reducing the collective cost of hiring.


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Benefits of the internal mobility program

Save cost and time

Companies scale down their recruitment during economic turbulence, such as a recession or pandemic. As a result, the hiring budget is reduced, and layoffs begin.

An essential benefit of internal mobility is minimizing time and money spent on hiring. Vertical and lateral internal shifts help reduce layoffs and increase upskilling and reskilling. Further, no money is spent on job portals, selections, etc.


Transit furloughed employees

While optimizing the hiring budget, organizations can search their pool of furloughed employees who wish to resume work. These professionals already understand your business and may fit better in the culture and work profile. Offering upskilling and internal mobility options to this pool can help fill open positions quickly with low spending.


Reduce layoffs

Hiring managers consistently evaluate the current workforce and rehire according to dynamic market requirements. Therefore, layoffs are common during the economic slowdown and other related events. Internal talent mobility helps reduce layoffs by allowing employees to laterally and vertically shift to different job roles.

For example, sales employees can move to different customer servicing or high-demand positions during an economic slowdown.

This eliminates the chances of layoffs and helps retain institutional knowledge. Redeployment protects people who understand organizational goals and culture. Therefore, it also enhances employee satisfaction and employee loyalty.


Encourage employee reskilling

Increasing automation and technology utilization has shifted multiple job roles. Therefore, workforce employability and relevance are dependent on reskilling and new opportunities.

Organizations that support internal talent mobility also ensure employee reskilling. Employees are motivated to learn and improve their knowledge and skills exponentially. Thus, hiring managers can consistently fill the skills gap in different positions and laterally or vertically move employees whenever required.


Drive organizational agility

The business landscape has experienced multiple disruptions since the pandemic. Hiring managers have completely shifted working patterns and utilized new methods for employee engagement. This means an agile approach toward workforce management helps navigate ongoing and upcoming recruitment challenges.

Internal talent mobility helps HR managers move towards this agile environment, allowing the workforce to move job roles, learn, and productively grow with the organization.


Start your internal talent mobility program with these five steps

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Create a taskforce

Creating and running an internal mobility program is an ongoing effort. The size of your organization and existing resources define the extent of implementation.

For example, a company with 2000 employees and different internal teams can efficiently execute internal mobility. However, a small company with 100 or 200 employees may need to vacate one position or strategically shift employees with short-term requirements to ensure internal mobility.

Hence, organizations should create a task force to realize these goals. A hiring team that can assess, evaluate, and regularly upgrades people’s skills would be able to judge potential and internally relocate candidates correctly.

Start employee cross-training

Internal talent mobility is possible when employees acquire additional and transferable skills. Cross-training strategies help train relevant employees for different job roles. This allows employees to train for their primary job role and improve their skillset for a lateral or vertical role they are interested in.

Cross-training strategies also improve employees’ understanding of the business, which ensures future productivity and efficiency in any role.

Using Training Needs Analysis by Mercer | Mettl helps organizations identify the right cross-training strategy. The assessment allows for analyzing skills gaps within the workforce and reveals employees’ potential to learn. These factors enable the creation of a cross-training program appropriate per employees’ needs and organizational requirements.

Circulate internal job postings

Improve motivation around internal mobility by circulating job postings in-house. Consider the following:

  • Job swapping to understand business functions and assess employees’ potential.
  • Job rotation program to ensure comprehensive employee learning and better opportunities.
  • Job shadowing helps employees closely observe roles they are interested in.
  • Mentoring to guide employees with less experience in the right direction.
  • Cross-team project to enhance collaboration between teams.

When these strategies are used in combination, they help build a culture of growth and learning.

Improve communication channels

Design a mobility program that makes the hiring team, managers, employees, and other stakeholders feel involved. Communicate internal mobility strategy during the first launch to receive inputs, make modifications, and improve results.

Ensure proper communications once the internal talent mobility program is implemented. For example, creating a job or mobility status portal that keeps employees and managers informed of progress. Offer detailed feedback to employees who were not moved to the next steps or to a different job role. Eliminate confusion and allow room for improvement.

Utilize an effective support system

Create support processes to assist employees in gaining information. Utilize the right tools to drive this internal mobility program successfully.

For example, Mercer | Mettl’s pre-employment tests help gauge employees’ aptitude, cognitive intelligence, personality, and leadership qualities. Further, the Training Agility & Proximity Assessment enables knowing the learning potential of different employees, and the Training Effectiveness Assessment allows gauging efficiency and outcome of employee training.



The ongoing economic slowdown will first impact the hiring strategies of different businesses. The need to function smoothly will increase even with prominent budget cuts. As a result, hiring employees for relevant job roles will continue in 2023. Using internal talent mobility to fulfill business requirements will help reduce the time and money spent on hiring. It eliminates hiring costs and improves employee engagement. Utilize the above tips for internal mobility strategy to optimize hiring costs in 2023.



How do you implement talent mobility?

Why should internal mobility be a key part of your talent strategy?

What is the importance of the internal mobility of employees?

Originally published February 1 2023, Updated February 13 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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