Talent Retention

Improving Internal Career Mobility By Humanizing The Employee Experience

Organizations are struggling to find talent for critical positions and are actively looking for external hires to fill these skill gaps. Internal talent is often overlooked but research shows that utilizing internal candidates can yield significant benefits, such as higher retention and faster time to productivity. One of the main reasons employees leave an organization is lack of career progression. Facilitating movement of employees across different jobs can help fill skill gaps while satisfying their desire for career progression and new experiences. In this webinar, TalentGuard and IBM will address how improving internal mobility and encouraging personalized career development engages employees and transforms a company’s overall employee experience.


  • Linda Ginac, CEO, TalentGuard
  • Sheri Feinzig Ph.D., Director, IBM Talent Management Consulting and Smarter Workforce Institute

Succession Planning: Should You Keep it Internal?

The goal of succession planning is simple: to recruit top talent to fill key positions when they become available with as little transition time as possible. However, the process itself is often more complicated. Which positions are key, for example, and where does that top talent come from?

Key positions are whichever positions are vital to day-to-day operations. These generally include the C-suite positions, as well as the payroll manager, the president or CEO’s executive assistant, and other vital roles. In order to fill these positions, businesses can either look within their current employee pool or they can look outside the company for a qualified candidate.

Looking outside the company often means finding a candidate who is currently filling one of the identified key roles for another organization. When hired, that candidate then brings his current experience in the role to the new organization. Theoretically, that experience decreases training and transition time, imparting two huge advantages for management and the executive board and increasing the odds of success for the candidate.

Internal candidates, in contrast, don’t possess direct experience but they offer a number of advantages over external candidates. They already know – and fit in with – the company culture. They also have established camaraderie with other employees, which can be crucial to success in a new management or upper-level position, and they have a proven track record of success inside the company.

An employee recruited from within the company to fill a key position has already shown that she is a high potential employee. Competencies have already been demonstrated, and the management team or executive board can trust that she is going to succeed in the chosen role, because she has already succeeded elsewhere. That’s why she was identified as top talent in the first place.

External candidates may have more experience filling a role, but they cannot match the internal candidate’s knowledge of and familiarity with the day-to-day operations of the organization. And that, ultimately, is what translates into less downtime and greater success for everyone involved.

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Predictive Retention - How to Know Before They Go (IBM & TalentGuard)


Incase you missed the live webinar:

Attracting and keeping great talent are perennial challenges for organizations. But what causes people to want to leave? What might entice seemingly happy employees away? The IBM Smarter Workforce Institute conducted in-depth research among more than 22,000 employees (WorkTrendsTM 2016) to find some evidence based answers. 

Jointly presented by IBM & TalentGuard

Here are some surprising facts from the research. 

  1. 62% of employees could be tempted to take a new job
  2. Better compensation and benefits is a #1 talent attractor
  3. High potentials are much more likely than others to be attracted by opportunities to Learn New Skills
  4. Great employer brand more important job attractor for Millennials and Generation Xers
  5. Most people are not leaving because of their managers
  6. Passionate employees are least likely to quit
  7. Use the right assessments to increase person-job fit and person-organization fit during
  8. Listen regularly and act on the voice of employees. Understand employees’ individual needs and use those insights to help create a positive and engaging experience. Be aware of the factors that may trigger an employee’s voluntary departure.
  9. Meet your own employees ‘top attractor’ factors, including career development, opportunities to learn new skills and exciting, challenging work.

How to Help Employees Develop Career Paths

Employees want to understand what is required of them to change roles or advance in their careers but the necessary processes may not be in place. By understanding how to help employees develop career paths, you will soon be able to provide employees with a clear road map to career development and growth. If employees are left to guess and wonder what steps they need to take, you will likely find them moving to another company that can meet their needs.

As the job market and economy improve, the number of employees willing to leave their positions and companies for greener pastures is climbing. January 2017 saw an increase in voluntary separations compared to the months before, and 51% of employed personnel in the U.S. are actively seeking or watching for new openings. The data taken together—and combined with the general low tenure rate for Millennial workers—clearly show one thing: retention may be one of 2017’s biggest human resources problems. If companies don’t partner with their employees to achieve individual career goals, those employees will leave.

An effective human resources department will be that partner—assisting employees in creating and navigating their desired career paths. To be that partner, however, HR must be able to do the following:

  • Provide employees with access to job role data
  • Help employees objectively assess their skills, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Offer a method for comparing employees’ current tactics to future roles
  • Provide access to mentoring, coaching, and learning resources that work for a variety of learning styles
  • Offer opportunities to test out newly acquired skills in a team environment
  • Support lateral and vertical moves in each unique career path when employees are ready

An effective career pathing process combines these steps into a streamlined, easily accessible program. While a human resources department can achieve the desired results by providing employees with the above information and opportunities on a piecemeal basis, it takes a significant investment of time and resources. It also depends on the availability of the human resources staff at any given time. Accessible and interactive career pathing tools are a more efficient method.

An all-in-one career pathing software program offers employees the opportunity to build and navigate their career paths independently—but with expert guidance. The best programs combine talent profiles, gap analyses, organizational insights, coaching and development, and job searches together, in a dynamic, user-friendly interface. TalentGuard’s also offer customized career paths, including specific information on skills needed for each movement and knowledge on how to acquire those skills, to help employees get from where they are to where they want to be.

Are You Ready to Start a Career Pathing Program?

You know the basics: Career pathing boosts employee engagement, improves retention, and significantly increases customer satisfaction and overall profitability. You’re sold. You want to start implementing a career pathing program at your company today. The only problem is you’re not sure where to start.

See whether you are ready to start a career pathing program by answering the questions below:

1) Do you have job profiles built?

If your company already has job profiles built, fantastic. You’re one step ahead, and you can move on. If not, you have two options: you can build competencies in-house, or you can purchase access to a competency library.

Competencies are clusters of related skills, abilities, personality characteristics, and knowledge that enable a person to be effective in a particular job or situation. Using them to build ajob profile ensures clear communication between managers and employees regarding what it takes to succeed and excel in a specific job or role. Competencies also promote organizational culture by emphasizing a long-term fit between job candidates and positions.

Building competencies in-house requires extensive effort (often 80% of the total time involved in starting the program) that may be better spent launching and implementing the career pathing program. It requires observing each employee in his/her role, personal and/or group interviews, surveys, and behavioral and job analysis. It also can take months – even years – to develop completely, which means problems with disengaged employees and poor retention persist far longer than necessary.

Gaining access to a competency library is much simpler. Instead of spending 80% of your time creating the framework for your program, acquiring a professionally built library reduces creation time to 20%, which reserves your time and resources for where they’re needed most – implementation. A quality competency library will include job families grouped by function and industry; job roles with titles, descriptions, and primary responsibilities; categories of competencies for each job role; proficiency descriptors; and learning references. This enables you to quickly identify, match, and customize the job profiles that best suit your workforce.

2) Have you identified the possible career paths for the job profiles?

If you have, proceed to question three. If not, you again have two options: you can utilize a consulting service to help identify the career paths, or you can utilize in-house services for the process. Identifying paths in-house requires an intimate knowledge of the organization’s succession plans, a thorough analysis of organizational personnel gaps and skills shortages, and detailed research into various career lattices that may stem from each individual job profile. Compiling this information in-house can take months to years of dedicated work. Utilizing consultants already familiar with the career pathing process enables you to focus on the overall architecture of your program instead of the minute details and ensures you get the most important things right. It also moves you more quickly to launch – reducing the time and resources involved in creating a career pathing program by more than 50%.

3) Are your progression paths defined?

Career paths must be visual for best utilization. Employees need to be able to see where they’re at, where they’re going, and how to get there. Spreadsheet-based programs can be used to visually map static paths from one job role to another. However, interactive maps that change and mold to each individual employee are considered much more effective.

These maps take your employees’ personal profile – strengths, weaknesses, skills, desires, and personality characteristics – and dynamically match it to various career paths, enabling the employee to choose or create a new path at a moment’s notice. Customized career pathing software combines job profiles, information on your company’s organizational structure, and your employees’ talent profiles to create immediate, customizable, and dynamic career paths for each individual employee. Such software can also identify skill gaps and offer coaching and development recommendations for filling those gaps. To see career pathing software in action, schedule a demo today.

That’s it. Once you’ve built job profiles, identified the possible career paths in your company, and define progression paths, you’re ready to launch your official career pathing program.

To schedule an on-site demo please contact us through form below or info@hr-email.com


There is a lot of talk on social media about “finding your why”. Determining the reason that you show up every day and do what you do. Without this fundamental belief in your role, you have no purpose or motivation. You are simply following the every-day motions without feeling engaged or connected to anything.

This kind of existence is well, simply existing. You are surviving but not thriving and will likely feel a whole host of negative emotions. In such a complex society where most jobs that exist do not serve a basic human need, but instead a need that is fabricated by technology, record keeping, or any other modern issue, it is hard to associate a reason as to how you are contributing to the betterment of life.

This got me thinking. If you’re sitting at a desk all day, like a large percentage of the population does, is it actually possible to connect what you do to the sustainment or improvement of life on this planet?

The answer is yes. Because even though you may be a small piece of a very large puzzle, if your organization is providing a product or service that makes something in this world better, than you are a part of it.

In our case here at McQuaig, our “why” is to improve the lives of people in the workforce. Whether they are sitting at a desk all day or working on a production line, our purpose is to help them:

  • Be placed in the position that is most in line with who they are so that they can succeed. This may be their first job in a particular company or a transfer to another role within the organization.
  • Get proper coaching so that they can receive the support that they need to learn and develop.
  • Gain a deep understanding of themselves so that they can take advantage of their strengths and create strategies to overcome any obstacles.
  • Understand and work well with others so that every day when they come to work they can enjoy spending time with their colleagues.

Our goal is to work with organizations who want these things for their employees. By providing our products and services to companies that care about employee engagement, we are able to make this impact on society and live our purpose.

Author:  Rachel Cwang 

One Performance Management Change That Can Boost Employee Engagement and Performance

Despite the changes many companies are making in performance management models, 58% of executives still believe their current approach has little positive effect on the two things performance management is meant to drive: employee engagement and high performance. They’re right. In fact, many models are accomplishing the opposite.

Sixty-eight percent of today’s employees report that their company’s performance model has either no effect or a negative effect on their overall engagement. Fifty percent also say it fails to provide any insights into improving their performance, and thirty percent see management’s salary decisions as arbitrary, with little ties to employees’ individual work.

With more than 50% of companies having changed their performance management models in the past two to three years, that’s disappointing. Research indicates, however, that these models – even the newer ones – may be failing because of one simple mistake: They aren’t focused on coaching.

According to research, career and employee development continues to be overlooked by nearly two-thirds of companies, and employees are noticing. Only 20% of people surveyed thought their company’s performance management model supported career planning, and only 1 in 3 surveyed reported having even one discussion that year focused on career opportunities and growth.

These numbers change, however, often substantially, when a coaching-centered performance management model is implemented. Coaching, according to research, generates quantitative, long-term benefits to both employers and employees. Most importantly, it increases the holy grail of HR – employee engagement, with 50% of coached employees believing they’re more engaged because of their company’s performance management (compared to 21%). It also improves performance by empowering employees with actual insights into their performance. (Seventy-two percent of coached employees reported insights versus 32% of those who didn’t receive coaching.)

Coached employees also respond more favorably to feedback, believing a program that includes coaching more accurately measures their individual performance (55% compared to 26%). One out of two employees who receive coaching throughout the year feel positively about their end-of-year review compared to 1 in 5 who don’t. Coached employees also are significantly more likely to find the process fair (73% of coached employees compared to 45%) and effective.

As the numbers show, coaching works. So why isn’t everyone doing it? Hesitation to add another change to an ever-shifting performance management model may be the cause, but implementing a coaching program doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Research indicates that simply shifting company culture to better support two-way communication goes a long way.

Encourage managers to talk to their employees about their careers, and to show confidence in employees’ abilities. Offer insight into opportunities for growth and ways each individual can advance. Support high potentials who want to excel with feedback on goals and strategy, extra resources, and training tools. Want to take it a step further? Download: Career Pathing: Is It the New Performance Appraisal?