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Pushing beyond TA into a mobility culture — the role of TA as ‘talent coach’

By Nadine O’Regan | |5 minute read
Pushing beyond TA into a mobility culture — the role of TA as ‘talent coach’

The need to truly embed an internal mobility culture in a business has never been greater. Due to myriad pressures, TA (talent acquisition) teams have historically relied heavily on the acquisition of external talent and the perceived value (or lack of value in some cases) by the business of that talent.

No longer is it enough to simply recruit, a TA team’s focus now needs to be building an internal mobility culture.

Now and in the future, TA needs to focus on nurturing and engaging talent into and within the company, working closely with senior leaders to meet their talent requirements, understanding the critical issues impacting the business, and building a culture of internal mobility. The success of an internal mobility culture will depend on TA’s ability to evolve into a ‘talent coach’ function for the business, especially as we automate more and talent remains scarce.


So, how can talent functions push beyond their function into higher value work, embed a mobility culture and avoid becoming a revolving door for talent?

Building an internal mobility culture

More focus now needs to be spent ‘internally’ with workforce visibility and mobility at the heart of talent functions; this is where significant opportunity is waiting (and talent is waiting to be found).

Essentially, we need to stop viewing talent as a supply chain and instead view it as an opportunity to unlock the human potential within the business, wherever it resides. This means TA and hiring managers should be proactively identifying talent in all its forms: temps, contractors, gig workers etc to meet the strategic objectives of the business. It means looking across the business, not just down the business, and at roles that in the past may not have been considered a fit.

Building capacity over time

What businesses often get wrong about talent is they want to find someone who has done 10 out of 10 requirements on the job description — and that often means going external. It’s rare that an internal candidate has done everything on a job description and wants to do it again. When it comes to internal mobility people seek progression or a challenge.

This has a particular impact on women. Research shows that women will rarely apply for a role if they don't think they meet all the requirements, whereas men will apply even if they’re 60% qualified. This shows that capability can be built on the job. When an internal mobility culture is prioritised, stretch assignments and skills visibility can help to even the playing field.

Applying C-suite style succession planning to your talent funnel

The success of an internal mobility culture relies on succession and demand planning across all levels of the business. We do this for the C-suite, but we need to get better at cascading this throughout an organisation.

We know that an employee is not wanting to stay in their role for more than three to five years. Who are the two or three people in whom we can build capability and put them into structured assignments over the next few years so that they're ready to take on that role?

The future of mobility

The focus for TA now needs to be on thinking more broadly and strategically around building, buying, and borrowing talent.

Building capacity in the talent the business already has, versus buying it from the outside.

We saw this when COVID-19 hit and airlines lent their talent to supermarkets. Skills and expertise are transferable, talent teams just need to work effectively with senior leaders and hiring managers to help them identify where that talent already resides in the business, coach them on how the expertise can be deployed in their teams, and effectively communicate the process and outcomes with all stakeholders.

Nadine O’Regan is the General Manager of TQSolutions.



Your organization's culture determines its personality and character. The combination of your formal and informal procedures, attitudes, and beliefs results in the experience that both your workers and consumers have. Company culture is fundamentally the way things are done at work.

Succession planning

Planning for future leadership transitions of present employees is known as succession planning, and it is done to avoid management skills gaps and skill gaps.

Pushing beyond TA into a mobility culture — the role of TA as ‘talent coach’
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