Internal mobility can be a beneficial part of a companies workforce planning. Especially now as people prepare for the possibility of an economic downturn, upskilling and reskilling employees can be a way to acquire new skills without recruiting new talent. From leaning into more one-on-one meetings to prioritizing employee happiness, here are HR leaders and executives insights into how to encourage employees to apply for internal positions.

Conduct Regular One-on-One Meetings

There are several reasons conducting regular one-on-one meetings is a good practice for encouraging employees to apply for internal positions.

First, one-on-one meetings are an effective way of spotting exceptional talents within your workforce. It also allows you to focus on analyzing and providing feedback on their performance and prevents external blockers from impeding doing that. Hence, if an employee is performing great on a project, you can readily discuss internal mobility opportunities with him or her during these meetings. That way, you’ll make sure that opportunities are given to the right people.

Additionally, one-on-one meetings provide you with an easier way of gauging your employees’ needs. During these meetings, employees are more open to talking about their morale and productivity issues regarding certain tasks or projects. Hence, once an employee becomes unhappy with his or her position, you can discuss internal opportunities with him or her.

Paw Vej
Chief Operating Officer,

Recognize Your Workforce

One powerful way to encourage employees to apply for internal positions is to create a culture of recognition and reward. This can be done by recognizing employees who have applied for and been successful in internal positions and rewarding them with bonuses, promotions or other incentives.

Providing your employees with access to resources such as career development programs, mentorship opportunities and job postings can help them feel more confident in their ability to apply for internal positions.

Ultimately, creating a culture of open communication between management and employees ensures that they can feel comfortable asking questions and expressing their interest in internal positions.

Ryan Rottman
Co-Founder and CEO, OSDB Sports

Send a Personal Invite 

We send a personal invite to key individuals we think would be a great fit for the role to build their courage to apply. We detail the email with why we think they should apply, how we would support them in the role and additional role details.

Even if the employee doesn’t get the offer, they know we selected them to apply, and that their team thinks highly of them. If an employee doesn’t get the offer, we share feedback and create a plan to build certain skills and gain experience.

Nicole Serres
President, Star Staffing

Encourage Individuals to Switch Jobs

Show your employees from the beginning that your company has many paths to advancement. Allow your A-listers to take center stage during employee orientation. Has anyone, say, moved from payroll to marketing to management? How did she plan out her career?

Tell tales that show why your staff members shouldn’t limit themselves to a single function. Solicit their interest in other available positions. Maintain this upbeat attitude even after training has ended.

For instance, if a new position opens up, you could notify the entire company via email. Or, you could make an internal board and publish a notice on the company intranet. Employees frequently misjudge the availability of opportunities because they are unaware of what is out there. And keep an open mind if an employee approaches you about leaving to pursue another opportunity. Don’t automatically label someone as a “technical engineer.” They might have unseen strengths in business development.

Samantha Odo
Real Estate Expert and Chief Operating Officer, Precondo

Get the Positions in Front of Them

At an organization with a lot of moving parts and constantly changing hiring needs, your employees may not have the time to go in and check the internal career site regularly.

We use multiple channels to ensure our people know about our current openings, and we pin a link to our career site to our internal communications hub. Our weekly newsletter calls out the opportunities in a section specifically for hiring. We also often spotlight open positions on our social media channels.

The benefit of this strategy goes beyond internal applicants, as it can also promote awareness that can drive additional employee referrals!

Patrick Ward
Manager, Talent Acquisition, Halloran Consulting Group, Inc.

Provide Mentorship Opportunities

I best encourage and support my employees to apply for internal positions by offering mentorship opportunities.

As you know, most times, employees may not apply for internal positions because of a lack of experience or uncertainty about the position’s duties. But for us, mentorship programs have been extremely effective in helping employees feel more confident in applying for internal positions and taking the next step in their careers.

With those programs, we provide a support system that not only helps employees understand what we expect of them in different roles, but also helps them to develop the skills and knowledge required to succeed in those positions.

Plus, our mentorship programs also provide a valuable opportunity for employees to network and build relationships with other professionals within the organization, which opens up extra opportunities for growth and advancement.

So, it’s an exciting chance to take on new roles with confidence.

Maria Harutyunyan
Co-Founder, Loopex Digital

Socialize Internal Positions With Slack

If you want to encourage employees to apply for internal positions, consider socializing the opening via Slack. It’s a simple and easy way to create more awareness of new career opportunities for current employees.

By sharing the opening in one or more Slack channels, you’re spreading the word internally much quicker than asking your team, “Who do you know?” Doing this early in your search will give you a clear sign of whether the right candidate exists internally or if you’ll need to pursue external candidates.

Tim Butler
Manager, Talent Acquisition, Sourcing Team, New Relic

Stretch Initiatives for Your Staff

In the growth of employees, pacing is crucial. Employees can gradually broaden their skill sets by taking on challenging new tasks as part of stretch initiatives. Tell your team members why they were chosen to work on these projects to avoid any confusion.

Employees become much more invested and engaged when allowed to voice their opinions, since they are aware of the potential effects on both their personal lives and the success of the company.

As the year progresses, have follow-up discussions regarding these stretch goals. This allows your staff a chance to communicate with you about what’s working and any difficulties they are experiencing. Your staff should gradually feel more comfortable with their abilities and be prepared to assume even greater responsibility.

Michael Koh
Senior IT Director, PropNex

Link the Opening to their Career Development Plan

Employees like to know what their next role will be. What skills do they need to reach that next promotion or lateral move? With well-organized career development plans and a skills inventory in each employee’s profile, I can easily see which employees are the best qualified for open positions.

Once the position is advertised internally, employees can see right away if they meet the requirements and if the position is on their development plan. I can then work with employees’ current managers and hiring managers (if different) to schedule interviews. It’s important that these impactful conversations occur directly between employees and managers, so that team members feel valued.

Susan Snipes
Chief People and Culture Consultant, GoCo

Streamline Internal Recommendations

One way to encourage employees to apply for internal positions is to emphasize company loyalty by streamlining internal recommendations. This method is a way to show employees they have an advantage over outside candidates. Having an internal recommendation for a job opening within the company will encourage employees to see a long future within the company.

Lionel Mora
CEO, Neoplants

Promote Growth and Development Programs

Employees who know their company cares about their growth and development are more likely to stay. That’s a fact. Create a program that allows your employees to share their desires and simultaneously help your leaders develop their teams. It can be that simple.

Irma Parone, ODCP
President, Parone Group

Be Transparent About Career Paths and Discuss Goals

One way to encourage employees to apply for internal positions is by facilitating open and honest conversations about career paths. By allowing time in the workday to discuss personal goals and ambitions, employees can determine if an internal position is a good fit for their professional development.

Additionally, providing resources that help explain job expectations, qualifications, roles and duties may help make applying for an internal position more transparent and inviting. Offering incentives such as monetary rewards or extra vacation days can further reward employees to pursue opportunities within the company.

The most important factor in retaining talented employees is recognizing their hard work and investing in their growth. Providing mentorship programs, special projects or additional training can show employees that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

Darren Shafae
Founder, ResumeBlaze

Cultivate High Employee Satisfaction

Studies show that companies with high employee satisfaction rates often have the highest internal application rates. This is because a happy employee will want to learn and grow within their current space, whereas an unhappy employee will seek opportunities elsewhere.

So, how do I keep my employees happy? Open communication. Talk to people with whom you work. Find out what their biggest frustrations with their current position are and what they wish the company would do differently. I promise the insights will pleasantly surprise you.

McKay Simmons
Account Executive, Ignite Recruitment