ADVO Group interviews David Marzo, General Manager and Vice President for Futurestep’s On Demand platform


Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company specialising in high-impact talent solutions, recently released the results of an executive survey on internal mobility programs. The survey found that the vast majority of respondents placed a very high value on such mobility programs yet only a minority of companies were providing such programmes. In this interview, David Marzo, General Manager and Vice President for Futurestep’s On Demand platform provides his expert insight into the research findings.

Your recent survey found that 87% of respondents said that having a strong internal mobility program would help with attraction and retention. However, only one-third reported that their companies have such programs. Were you surprised that there was such a discrepancy between these two figures?

“The results were not all that surprising. Most Talent Acquisition executives recognise the value of hiring from within and back filling at lower levels. There are a number of benefits from sourcing internally such as a shorter time to productivity – from candidates already having an understanding the business – and lower staffing costs, which as a result means better financial performance. As well as this, it provides greater levels of employee satisfaction and retention, positively impacting an organisation’s employment value proposition as a result. Further to this discrepancy is the fact that during the recessionary period, many employees were content with their role. Now that labour markets have improved, businesses need to think and act more strategically and view internal mobility as a way to build community and engagement with their workforce.”

The survey also found that 32% said employees have to keep their intent to apply for new positions within their company a secret from their managers. Did you expect this figure to be in this region?

“This wasn’t terribly surprising and correlates to the fact that most organisations do not approach internal mobility strategically. When approached strategically, employees are strongly encouraged to seek out new opportunities supported by various outreach efforts from within the talent acquisition function. When viewed tactically, managers will often view an employee’s desire to apply for another role as a sign of disengagement.”

Do you think there has been an increase in the number of companies with strong internal mobility programs? And if so, do you think this will continue to increase?

“We see a general trend among our clients re-thinking their approach to internal mobility. We work with many of them on transitioning from a program to an experience for their employees that educates, inspires, and provokes them internally.”

What do you think are some of the core benefits to both employees and employers to internal recruitment?

“For employees, the benefits of internal mobility programs are the ability to contribute differently and infuse new ideas into existing work teams, not to mention increased remuneration. For employers, it is the ability to retain knowledge, remain competitive, and benefit from reduced recruiting costs.”

What do you think are some of the most common barriers employers may face preventing them from establishing internal mobility programmes?

“The inability to educate and engage line managers and to ensure their support when employees want to think about their career options within the organisation.”

What are some of the easiest steps you could recommend for employers looking to implement improved internal mobility programmes?

“Start with a single internal website that provides all the necessary information and content for employees to be educated and inspired. Employers need to leverage the success stories of their employees and leaders who have progressed through the organisation to encourage others. They also need to help them understand all of the opportunities that exist within the company and make certain the employee in question gets something out of the process of interviewing for a new role. This can be something as simple as feedback that will help them prioritise their professional development needs.”

What do you think will be some of the biggest HR and employment issues to take centre stage in 2016?

“Certainly the scarcity of talent as the global economy and regional labour markets improve. For this reason, internal mobility will become the focus for many companies.”