Research Study

Talent and Internal Mobility Unveiled

We’ve researched and reviewed as many career pathways tools and internal mobility strategies as we could get our hands on. In this presentation, we discuss some of the best-in-class examples and breakdown the techniques they use to provide a clear talent offering across their organisations.

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What do they do?
  • Spotify have a focus on both expanding their workforce quickly, and focusing on their current employees growth. To do this, enabling a learning culture has been critical to talent attraction, retention and subsequently critical to the success of their business.
  • Hiring internally, comes with many benefits; reduced time to hire, shorter onboarding time, employee development and engagement. 
  • Spotify, believe that internal mobility is a key lever to talent growth and retention. As a result, they aim to quickly match internal talent with the right problem at the right time, across Spotify, regardless of their current job and team.
  • To do this requires an awareness from the individual and the organisation of an employee’s skillset and they have created an internal talent marketplace tool called Echo to facilitate this.

How do they do it?
  • Matching talent to growth opportunities based on their skills, experience and development goals
  • Portfolio Careers – Spotify have recognised that career paths are rarely linear. Using Echo allows Spotify employees to shape their own development by helping them find learning opportunities that lie beyond their role description. 
  • Empowering managers – Spotify praises great ‘gardeners’ who nurture growth within a role and lateral moves.
  • Skills Mapping – Spotify break roles down into smaller pieces so employees can understand what is involved and where their skill set lies in comparison to the roles they are exploring.
  • Taster opportunities – Spotify post temporary projects onto their talent marketplace to offer opportunities to internal talents.

What do they do?
  • As the largest private employer in the UK, Tesco have a large variety of roles, across a range of departments and teams. Helping their colleagues understand the opportunities and learning available to them is a key priority to support development and internal mobility.
  • An important part of personal development reviews is to see how a colleague is performing across the skills in their role, both technical and non-technical. For this Tesco developed the systemised talent review platform known as the skills evaluation tool. 
  • This allows a colleague to evaluate their performance against the skills in their role and receive a personalised learning development plan based on their evaluation.
  • As well as evaluating the skills that are part of their current role, colleagues are able to explore the skills required for roles across the organisation giving them a chance to see which roles they could be well suited for.
  • The system is all planned around the idea of putting the colleague at the centre of their career plan and facilitating meaningful line manager conversations that support a colleague’s growth and development.

How do they do it?
  • Skills & Role Mapping – every role has been broken down by its skills so a colleague can understand what each role requires
  • Evaluation system – Helping a colleague understand their baseline performance and then utilising that data to help them with specific recommendations
  • Career Paths – The tool helps facilitate career progression conversations by allowing colleagues to explore roles  across the business
  • Personal Development Plans – An online PDP platform allows colleagues to create action points that can be reviewed by a line manager. 
  • Line Manager Involvement – Line managers can also review the skills for the colleagues they manage which helps support annual reviews
  • Personalised learning recommendations – The tool understands any skills gaps a colleague may have and creates a personalised learning plan based on resources for the key skills at the specific level for the colleague.

What do they do?
  • Workday have taken a skills-based approach to talent management. They are less focused on degrees and qualifications and instead are evaluating current and future employees by the capabilities they possess that could help the organisation succeed in the future.
  • Their focus on skills, helps them create new opportunities for their employees and, in turn, helps the business become more agile. When you understand the skills of your organization you enable employees to activate those skills and create a lot more options for how your work gets done.
  • They can see that as people learn new things and challenge themselves, they feel more connected to their work, more excited about what they’re doing and they want to keep doing that. 
  • By producing opportunities for employees to gain new skills and take on new roles as a response, that increases the attractiveness of the organisation and improves retention.

How do they do it?
  • Career Hub – This helps Workday employees share skills and interests and receive relevant connections, curated learning content and recommended jobs to help them on their career journeys
  • Skills Analysis – Being able to understand what skills you have and what skills are part of other roles you want to move into is essential. By mapping these and allowing a skills analysis this gives the colleague the information they need to make those judgements.
  • Gig-employees – Workday has a gig-employees approach which allows their staff to explore projects and other pieces of work that are not part of their traditional role to gain and develop new skills
  • Skills based learning – By putting skills at the heart of their learning it has allowed Workday to effectively map learning journeys and develop skills based learning journeys.

What do they do?
  • Internal mobility and cultivating talent are essential for Amazon. 
  • Having identified which roles and which skills are in high demand Amazon utilises its Career Choice platform to help colleagues develop the necessary skills so that they can progress within Amazon.
  • This isn’t based on a linear Career Development path but is instead focussed on the skills gaps within Amazon and offering colleagues the chance to develop those skills through tailored learning experiences rich with gamification and other features.
  • They put the colleagues at the heart of their own skills and career development so colleagues can identify how they want to progress rather than being reliant on advice from a Line Manager.

How do they do it?
  • Career Choice –  This is an education benefit that empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon or elsewhere. Amazon pay up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study.
  • Gamification – Learning games, a badge system, and positive reinforcement throughout the process break up the learning and boost engagement
  • Clear Training Plan – Training at Amazon is split into distinct modules and the path through them is laid out for the user immediately so they can understand the overall vision for their development and how they will progress
  • Internal skills certification – Amazon offers more than 500 free courses, interactive labs, and virtual day-long training sessions, and numerous free instructor-led webinars, in multiple languages. This learning can work towards Amazon Certification – a skills portfolio of sorts for colleagues.

What do they do?
  • Unilever are beginning to think about each role at Unilever as a collection of skills, rather than simply a job title.
  • This is because the old model of thinking of an people as an individual in a specific role who is able to carry out specific tasks hinders some of the most critical organisational objectives: agility, growth, innovation; diversity, inclusion, and equity; and offering a positive workforce experience for employees.
  • Unilver see that there’s so much potential that they can unlock for people that might not have been considered for roles without the new skills-based approach because, as with many organisations, they would have been more in our functional silos
  • Using the data behind the skills and their people, Unilever can get to a level of detail where it can be much more targeted in its recruitment, its internal mobility of talent, and in applying the right talent to the right tasks and projects. All of this ultimately helps them deliver an agile, high-performance business with great employee retention and mobility.

How do they do it?
  • Internal talent marketplace –  A platform that enables skills to fluidly move to projects and tasks across the organisation.
  • Rethinking work through a skills lense – More and more departmental work at Unilever is being divided into projects, tasks, and deliverables all of which map to skills and not roles.
  • Talent and skills mapping – Unilever have developed an algorithm that matches a project with all of the required skills needs to people that want to either offer new skills or want to develop new learning skills.
  • Identifying skills gaps – Unilever use the data from their people to understand the current skills make up of the organisation so that they can identify skills gaps and use that information to identify what skills they may need over the next three to five years

In Summary:

  • Have a skills based approach to learning
  • Map skills and rolls together
  • Allow colleagues to explore skill development from outside their own role
  • Empower colleagues to be at the center of their own career development
  • Provide opportunities for them to sample life in other teams
  • Don’t rely on Line Managers to lead career progression conversations
  • Provide useful resources for anytime access
  • Personalisation = engagement


  • Create personalised learning paths based on colleagues skills
  • Create personalised career paths for colleagues based on their skills
  • Don’t think of career paths as linear
  • Allow colleagues to evaluate their current performance
  • Provide mentorship programs
  • Gamification can support learning engagement
  • Personal development plans are key
  • Promote continuous learning