June 16, 2022

Inclusion & Internal Mobility: The Early Talent Lens

4 min read
By Majida Begum

Part two of three in our Social Mobility series. Read part one here. 

This is the second in our series highlighting social mobility. Last week, we wrote about why social mobility and inclusion matter. This week, we’re looking at how promoting internal mobility can hold the key to improving inclusion and social mobility within your organisation.

For individuals who have experienced intergenerational socioeconomic disadvantage, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, their first job is a heightened formative experience. They likely don’t have access to the lessons imparted by family members in professional occupations. Instead, this first job is the first open door that shapes your entry into the workplace.

The evidence shows that when these individuals enter the workforce, their progression remains behind their peers. To solve this, forward-thinking organisations are using the ability to upskill their employees as an opportunity to make their workforce more diverse. By helping underrepresented groups develop new skills to fill the roles they need, they are able to directly impact what their leaders of tomorrow will look like (this comes with the added bonuses of improving retention and cutting costs, too.)

One example is Adobe, who have adopted a “build” vs. “buy” approach by committing to hiring diverse and underrepresented applicants for roles that require sought-after skills like (UX) design, data science, and software engineering, and providing training and apprenticeships to prepare them for full-time positions. Adobe have even released an open source apprenticeship programme playbook for other companies looking to do the same.

 How can your organisation improve inclusion and social mobility by focusing on internal mobility?


1) Invest in Skills

A recent report found only 50% of people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are confident about their career ambitions, relative to 71% of respondents from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Building skills builds confidence: skills are transferrable and provide a foundation of success. Beyond the case for social mobility, skills-building will add value for your business more generally: 94% of people stay longer at a company if it invests in helping them learn. And soft skills are critical: people trained in soft skills are 12% more productive – that can translate to up to 250% increased ROI from your people.

How can a focus on skills boost inclusion and social mobility in your organisation?

Don’t run the risk of assuming that every graduate you hire is bringing the same skills to the table. Consider which key skills matter the most to your organisation to help your people grow, then offer these skills to everyone. It’s the only way to guarantee an even playing field amongst your new joiners and help boost inclusion in your workforce. Future-focused skills that your graduates could be missing include:

  • Communicating with influence
  • Resilience
  • Personal impact
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Networking in Hybrid
  • Leading through change
  • Unlearning

Browse our full suite of off-the-shelf skills sessions


2. Start with strong beginnings

Inductions are key. They mark a pivotal moment of transition for early talent as they move from being students to being members of the workforce. For young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, entry into the workplace is a heightened transition because of the reduced cultural capital they have relative to their peers.

The best inductions ground people, introduce rituals for smooth transitions and are preceded by a robust keep warm strategy. Beyond promoting social mobility, a strong induction can increase retention by 80% and build belonging among all your new joiners.

Inclusive organisations consider how they can include the diversity of people’s experiences through this transition. In such key moments, critical reflections take place and belonging is seeded.

How can a market-leading induction boost inclusion and social mobility in your organisation?

  • Build community: there’s a powerful feeling of together and community when participants take part in activities together, hear the same stories, and connect meaningfully. Capitalise on this.
  • Think of representation: Consider who is speaking, who is facilitating and whose stories are being told. Having leaders from a range of backgrounds and lived experiences can provide valuable role models for people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. It helps them visualise their futures as leaders in your organisation.
  • Make your culture shine: Use inductions to demonstrate that you live your values, and the promises you make during the attraction and recruitment process are kept by your organisation’s culture

Read our award-winning induction partnerships with Sky and others


3. Cultivate A Supportive Line Management Culture

Line managers are critical players in promoting internal mobility. Inclusive line managers lead with empathy. They listen well, build connections, and foster supportive, mentorship-based relationships with their people. They are a guide through that critical transition into the world of work, for early talent.

For individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who may have fewer coaches, mentors and champions in their personal lives, their line managers can have more impact if they embed coaching and mentoring strategies into their line management.

How can upskilling your leaders boost inclusion and social mobility in your organisation?

  • Think of leadership as a muscle. Leadership—like all skills—is learned, not innate. It’s a muscle that grows.
  • Identify the skill that matter for inclusive leadership in your organisation. Are your people leaders aware of the importance of emotional intelligencein the workplace, able to manage change effectively, and confident in their ability to respond to the unique needs of your diverse workforce? If not, consider upskilling your leaders to equip them with the right tools to properly support their line reports, or talk to us to discuss line manager training day.
  • Focus on the how, not just the what. In our experience, time poor line managers are a primary reason for poor engagement in early talent development programmes and onboarding experiences. Consider not just what skills you want your line managers to build, but how to best impart these skills. Immersive sessions. Interactive self-led learning. Accelerated onboarding into line manager roles and responsibilities. What is the best fit for your people and working culture?

Talk to us to discuss reimagining your management training


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