Unfairness in the internal hiring process is the major hindrance when it comes to top talent retention, said Gartner recently.
As the Great Resignation continues to affect organisations’ ability to hire, employers must address three inequities that may harm their ability to retain top talent, the advisory firm pointed out
According to the company’s survey of 3,000 candidates conducted in June 2021, only 33% of candidates who sought out a new job in the past 12 months searched internally within their organisation first.
“Many employees are looking outside their current organizations for their next move — rather than exploring internal opportunities — because they see unfairness in the internal hiring process,” said Jamie Kohn, research director in the Gartner HR practice.
Gartner defines a high fairness environment as one where employees perceive that their manager and organisation treat them fairly.
Gartner research shows just 18% of employees say they work in a high fairness environment and have an employee experience that is characterized as fair, according to a Gartner survey of 3,500 employees in 3Q21.
In addition, the same survey shows employees who work in a high fairness environment perform at a level that is 26% higher than those who don’t and are 27% less likely to quit.
How to create a more equitable internal labour market for top talent retention
To create a more equitable internal labour market that enables employees to shift roles within their organisation, employers must address three inequities:
Democratise awareness through technology
Gartner’s survey shows only 51% of candidates report that they are aware of internal job openings available at their organisation.
Rather than relying on employee networks to spread awareness of job openings – which perpetuates inequity by limiting equal access – organisations can leverage technology to create awareness for all. To achieve this, organizations must follow three critical steps:
Ease exploration of roles and careers: Employers can use technology to help employees understand what potential career paths could look like, beyond those closely related to their current job. This approach helps employees expand their options when considering internal roles.
Enable employees to share their preferences: Employers can also utilise technology to allow employees to signal which jobs they are interested in, even if there are no current openings.
This helps HR determine the level of interest for a specific role and the quality of the internal pipeline.
Alert with tailored notifications: Companies can engage employees – especially those who approach their career paths more passively – by providing notifications for new opportunities within the organization. Leading organizations are going one step further and tailoring these notifications by skills and/or interests.
Open access to opportunities
While employees may be aware of internal opportunities, certain employees gain an advantage on the internal market because of mentorship or better-informed careers paths.
Gartner research shows the top barrier preventing candidates from pursuing a job opening internally is a pre-identified favoured candidate.
Looking ahead, companies must create equal access by connecting candidates with exploration opportunities that align with their interests.
For instance, a leading organisation achieves more equitable access to their internal labor market by providing each employee with one-on-one professional coaching that includes exploration of career opportunities.
“This approach allows employees to uncover their interests, passions and motivations outside of their current job,” said Kohn. “By broadening these conversations, career coaches can connect employees with opportunities, either temporary or permanent, that match up best with their aspirations.”
Encourage support for mobility
Even when employees want to pursue a new role, they often feel unsupported, said Gartner.
According to the firm, only 17% of candidates say their manager facilitates the process of applying for internal jobs, and only 20% feel supported by their peers and team.
To assist, companies should equip managers to share knowledge about internal opportunities with their teams.
Once managers understand the potential career paths for each role, they can advise their direct reports on how their skills may transfer to a new role and what they need to do to be considered.
Finally, organisations should consider allowing employees to bypass their managers in applying for new roles.
For example, companies can shift manager notifications to after candidates apply or before interviewing. This protects employees from uncomfortable conversations before they know if they are a strong candidate for the role.
“In today’s environment where employers cannot buy the talent they need, they must ensure their ability to retain employees,” said Kohn.