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3 Ways to Boost Talent Mobility and Improve Retention

More likely than not, the talented employee you hired just months ago is already receiving queries from recruiters offering new job opportunities.1 Amid an unprecedented global talent shortage, organizations are facing some of the highest turnover rates in history.

Companies are partially responsible for the mass exodus, as one of the top reasons employees leave is frustration caused by the lack of advancement opportunities in their current workplace.2 Only 16% of employees say they have had conversations with their managers about their careers, and 31% say they have no career plan in place.3

Here are three ways that organizations can shift the tide to successfully retain and grow employees so they can ensure a performance-driven workforce of the future.

Set the stage with culture

The dreaded phrase “I quit” is discouraging to hear, but even more so when an employee says they are leaving due to a stagnant work culture that doesn’t enable them to grow and learn. This is especially true of younger generations, as one of five workers who switched jobs last year identified as Gen Z or Millennial.4 Workers at every level, however, are discontented with employers that don’t meet their career development needs.

UBS, a Zurich-based global bank, faced this realization several years ago when they learned nearly half of their employees were not aware of any learning and career opportunities at the company. In response, the leadership team recently launched a comprehensive mobility initiative that changed the way the organization managed leadership, learning, and feedback, according to Stefan Seiler, Group Head of Human Resources at UBS. This was anchored by a new mobility app called Career Navigator, which assists employees in searching for open internal positions, helps them calculate their fit with roles and highlights options that an employee may not have considered previously. As a result, more than 120 positions have now been filled internally. Seiler notes, “While the technology was an enabler, its success was closely linked to UBS’s culture of leadership, learning, and feedback.5

The Takeaway: Employers need to establish a culture of active listening and engage employees in frequent career conversations, backed up by personalized learning options and career coaching in order to retain and grow their teams for future success.

Develop a mentoring mindset

One of the fastest and most effective ways to boost career mobility is through mentorship.  Connecting with colleagues, especially senior team members, can provide valuable insights for navigating hurdles and exploring different points of view. Yet today’s hybrid and remote work environments make it slightly more challenging to find mentors.

This is especially true for women, who are 24% less likely than men to receive actionable advice from senior leaders. However, two emerging mentorship models are changing the game. Network-based mentoring, a concept developed by Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquermore, founder of the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, helps mentees identify specific skills they need, then builds a deep network of mentors to meet those needs. The result is a mentoring roadmap with various mentors as opposed to one “white knight” mentor. Reciprocal mentoring is another model that enables mentors and mentees to bring their own insights, life experiences, and skills to the process. This method emphasizes the importance of humility, shared power, and a mutual willingness to learn.6

For larger organizations, career management platforms like RightMap help set up mentoring networks, matching individuals with complementary skills and interests to the right mentor.

The Takeaway: Employees who receive mentorship are more likely to stay, feel more confident in their jobs, and pursue growth opportunities — a win for both employees and the company.

Commit to skills-building

As the nature of work shifts, the talent of tomorrow will need a combination of skills to stay relevant. For example, by 2030, demand for social and emotional soft skills will grow across all industries by 26% in the U.S. and by 22% in Europe, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report.

It may seem contradictory for organizations to help employees build skills only to see them move on to other organizations. Yet that’s often not the case, as those who receive skills training have higher retention rates and are more engaged in their work than those who do not.7

Workers want the opportunity to develop new skills, and that starts with data-driven online resources such as Learnability Quotient, which help talent assess their current strengths and skill gaps. Employers can also use various assessments to align the capabilities of team members to open positions through an evaluation of abilities, drive, and personality.  

The Takeaway: Organizations that take the time to support upskilling and navigation of internal career progression can help reduce turnover by 60%.8

To learn more about how your company can plan and implement a robust culture of career mobility, visit Workforce Career Management.


1. ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions, WCM Research, July 2022

2. Majority of workers feeling disrespected, Pew Research, March 2022

3. ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions, WCM Research, July 2022

4. Retaining talent through mobility, Forbes, July 2021

5. How UBS became a company of internal career mobility, Gallup, October 2019

6. Building mentorship models, CSA, September 2021

7. 3 ways to boost retention through development, Harvard Business Review, April 2022

8. Fuel50, “Global Talent Mobility Research”, August 2021