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How Career Mobility and Development Can Solve the Great Resignation Blues

Career mobility and development may be the answer to the Great Resignation. Learn how you, as leaders, can get everyone involved in each employee’s development.

Leadership teams around the world and in almost every industry are suffering from the Great Resignation. A pandemic era phenomenon that has caused a mass exodus from jobs for several reasons—in some cases people are reprioritizing their values and no longer want to align themselves to a particular culture, and in other cases people, specifically, women, are leaving the workforce altogether.

Management teams are grappling with how to stay productive and on target with reduced staff, a shortage in the labor pool, and the desperate need to upskill or reskill existing staff.

As difficult as this sounds, and it is, this is not an unsolvable problem. There have been huge amounts of research devoted to solving this problem! We know what makes people stay, we know how to engage them, and we know what makes them feel motivated.

It has been well known for ages that people go or stay because of their leader (manager) and due to career mobility/development. My last blog spoke of a couple of strategies a leader can employ to develop their empathy and to grow trust with their teams. Today, we will have a chat about career mobility and development.

Career Mobility is everyone’s responsibility

SHL recently worked with Lighthouse Research and Advisory on a study on how Talent Mobility directly impacts revenue. In that study, over 2000 people were surveyed (both employers and employees) to learn more about who owns career mobility, what are success metrics, and what barriers exist.

Overwhelmingly, it was found that EVERYONE is responsible to make career mobility happen—the manager, the executive team, HR, and the employee. The study found that 88% of employees would stay longer in their job if there were career development opportunities!

Everyone is responsible to make career mobility happen—the manager, the executive team, HR, and the employee.

Implementing a successful career mobility program

This is a definitive key to help solve the problem of how to get people to stay, and here are three strategies to help everyone get involved in every employee’s development:

  1. The right leadership

    Hire people who are skilled in emotional intelligence to manage people in your business. Leading people is not all about driving tasks and managing workflow. In fact, it is much more about taking care of every individual from a holistic approach. Leaders who are empathetic will drive much more success in a team, than one who is only focused on getting the job done.

    In this case, a leader should be genuinely interested in their employee’s career, growth, and development. They should approach with curiosity what makes the employee feel motivated and where they have development opportunities. They should provide coaching to increase areas of strength and encourage change in areas of growth.

    None of this happens from reading minds! In fact, it happens through trust, open-ended questions, regular 1:1s, and most of all a listening ear.

  2. The right tools

    Another incredible way to help everyone get involved in mobility is through tools like SHL’s Mobilize. This platform facilitates HR teams, leaders, and executives to see where their people will fit best based on personality, motivation, and potential. Additionally, it helps individuals learn more about themselves, and can facilitate awareness that helps them grow.

    Career mobility for every person at the company at scale! Of course, this should be used alongside the other two strategies!

  3. The right culture

    Culture is a loaded word and there are so many ways to approach it, but for the purposes of this blog, it means to build consistency and normalcy around everyone owning career development and mobility. Embed this into everything you do by making it a standing agenda item, investing in tools and programs that aid in development and imagination, supporting employees seeking greater meaning and purpose, have open and honest conversations about it often and at every level. The more normal this conversation and the behavior around development becomes, the more everyone will become accustomed to how mobility ownership works. There may be some trial and error at first, but eventually, the company will fall into a rhythm that works. If there is an open willingness to try and iterate based on feedback, then there is a greater chance of growing a culture where everyone owns career mobility!


The Great Resignation has shifted the power from the employers to employees, as the pandemic allows people to rethink their careers, goals, and work conditions. This ongoing trend sends a clear message to organizations that retaining employees is more important than ever and organizations that offer career development opportunities are those that will succeed.

As a leader, take a step back and review your talent strategy—have you offered enough career development opportunities to your staff, and if not, what can you do to create them? When you start to listen to your employees, have the right tools to help them grow, and establish the right culture, you will be stronger together as a company as you navigate the uncertainty of the Great Resignation.

Read the report by Lighthouse Research and Advisory to learn more about how you can greatly increase revenue and decrease the risk of impact from the Great Resignation.

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Author

Kristina Iniguez

Kristina Iniguez is the Head of Brand, PR, and External Communication at SHL. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and ten years of experience leading and developing teams across public, private, and non-profit organizations. She is a creative visionary and strategist who utilizes careful listening and open collaboration to engage audiences in mission-centric organizations. She utilizes relationship-based techniques, like human-centered design, to build communication platforms that reach, educate, and engage key stakeholders. She is passionate about talent development because she believes that people are any organization's greatest asset. The more an organization holistically invests in its employees—the more they will succeed!

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