Employee Retention

7 Practical Steps for Implementing a Redeployment Strategy

In part one of this article, we discussed what redeployment is and why companies are starting to look at this new strategy for talent retention.

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When is redeployment a practical option for moving personnel and filling open jobs? In the case of a workforce-restricting event, such as a layoff, it’s almost a no-brainer. For most organizations, even though there are layoffs in one business unit, recruiting and hiring are often still happening in other business areas.

Matching employees with the right skill sets, or the right potential and desire to learn to open positions, not only saves money on severance and other costs but also saves the high costs of recruitment, hiring, and onboarding. Even if a layoff isn’t on your radar, an effective redeployment strategy is a positive step toward establishing a flexible and transparent workplace.

Here are seven practical steps for understanding the appropriate time for redeployment and making it a routine part of your company culture.

#1: The Right Person, in the Right Place, at the Right Time

Transitioning a candidate from one workstream to another doesn’t happen by chance. In fact, there are plenty of times when it makes sense to hire somebody new instead of moving someone from your existing employee pool. It’s important that the stars align, so to speak.

There must be a position that needs to be filled, and there must be somebody with a transferable skill set and aptitude to learn on the job. Not to mention, the employee must want to transfer and feel up to the task of learning new skills and growing in a new role, with a new team, or he or she will likely flounder.

Most HR departments don’t have the resources to put an effective redeployment strategy into place by themselves. Partnering with contemporary career transition services providers will get you the support you need.

Using the same tools as they do for outplacement, companies—like RiseSmart—can provide career and interview counseling, job matching, and branding materials. In addition, they can support the redeployment process with suggested assessments and identification of transferable skills and aptitude to match interested employees with open positions.

#2: Develop Skill Set Awareness

Skills are the connecting pieces between one department and another. A business development team is doing very different work from a communications team, but typically, members of both teams can formulate e-mails and write with fluidity. A product manager varies greatly from a salesperson, but if you’re selling a product, chances are, both people have strengths in explaining the functionality and vision of the product.

In all of these jobs and roles lie transferable skill sets. Your organization can fine-tune descriptions and create awareness around which skill sets are admired and required for each role.

#3: Create Internal Networking Opportunities

How are employees supposed to find new jobs within your company if they don’t know they exist? Do employees know what other people on different teams throughout your company are working on? Create ample opportunities for cross-functional/collaborative projects so employees are continuously exposed to work outside of their silo.

When talented employees begin to think, “Surely, the grass must be greener outside of my job,” you want them to be exposed to other opportunities within your organization. It’s better that they “quit” their job for another position at your company than leave altogether. Maybe the grass is greener on the next floor of your building!

#4: Tweak the Process

Rethink how you’re announcing job openings. Are they going to internal (current) and external (future) employees at the same time? Perhaps switch it up and post internally for a week before you click “publish” on the external job description.

Additionally, when employees opt to leave your organization, don’t wait until a couple days before they leave to announce their exit. Instead, communicate about their departure with enough time for employees who may be interested in the position to get their ducks in a row and apply.

#5: Obtain Buy-In from the Top Down

Across many businesses, redeployment isn’t easily adopted. After all, you’re asking managers to watch their most talented employees move to a new team, which means a hole is left in their own team. What managers may not understand is that the employee is most likely leaving anyway. Through redeployment, the organization benefits from the retention of institutional knowledge and skills.

For redeployment to truly work across your entire company at scale, HR needs to educate company leaders and managers and help them understand that it’s better for employees to find lateral or upward trajectory through other opportunities within the company than it is for them to begin feeling disengaged or consider leaving altogether.

When they feel confident about internal opportunities, employees will never have to think, “I really want to apply for that job, but what would my manager do if she found out?”

#6: Managers can Stay in Tune with Employees

Speaking of managers, it’s critical they stay in tune with what’s going on in the lives of their employees. By understanding employees’ career paths and future goals, managers can offer an assist when they see openings. They can also work with employees to set them up on a path to continued success.

For example, maybe an employee isn’t quite ready for a complete redeployment but there are opportunities to begin collaborating with a cross-functional team on a smaller scale. It’s a manager’s job to make it as easy as possible for an employee who wants to try something different. HR can help facilitate this support by providing the tools and resources managers need to offer help.

#7: Culture Show and Tell

Increase awareness of departments and business units across the company by sharing stories that spotlight the projects, achievements, and team outings of those teams. Without a window into other business areas, employees may be reticent to express an interest in making a change, even when a change is desired.

Whether in job descriptions, in company-wide newsletters, in e-mails, or in all-hands meetings, make it known what each department’s culture is like so people can begin to feel a draw and connection with other people at the company.

So, how do you get the redeployment ball rolling during the normal course of business? All of these steps can ideally happen on a continuum with all team members, from your leadership team to managers to individual contributors, sharing a mutual understanding that it’s okay to move around, try new things, and develop skill sets within the organization.

To get started, partner with an outplacement and career transitions services provider to institute best practices and the practical services your employees and managers will need to make the program viable.

If you want to retain employees, it’s always worth having a conversation to see where they see themselves in 3 months, 1 year, or 2 years. Their response might shock you. No matter what they say, try to think about how you can meet them halfway, whether this means moving them into new positions to build their skill set for their future career goals or setting them up on the right path internally to ensure they end up exactly where they want to be without ever having to leave your company.

Kimberly-SchneidermanKimberly Schneiderman is a Senior Practice Development Manager with RiseSmart, Inc. where she creates and manages RiseSmart’s coach and client-facing programs, training, and support materials. Prior to RiseSmart, Schneiderman built a specialty coaching practice working with senior officers in law enforcement. She has authored numerous career-related book chapters, articles, and videos, and has appeared on news and radio programs as a subject matter expert. Schneiderman is also the Certification Committee Chair with the National Resume Writers’ Association.