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How the company walks the talk on promoting internal mobility.

March 03, 2022

Creating an environment that fosters internal talent mobility isn’t easy within large companies. Key challenges, including getting managers on board, establishing processes, and consistent messaging can prevent a supportive culture from taking hold. But internal mobility is becoming more of a business imperative as “The War for Talent” continues.

The October 2021 Pulse of the American Worker Survey  from Prudential found that 26% of workers said a lack of opportunities at their former job had spurred their departure. And 45% of workers who were planning to look for new jobs said they would consider staying if their employer offered internal mobility opportunities.

Statistics like these have put employee retention on companies’ front burners. But as they invest in tools and strategies to enable talent to stay and grow their careers, the most important tool in building a culture of mobility is employees themselves.

Sheryl Krongold was a senior meeting planner in late spring 2020, managing Prudential’s external conferences, all of which had been canceled for the foreseeable future. As the pandemic raged, millions of Americans were concerned about job security. She was one of them.

Krongold had held several positions over her two plus decades at Prudential and began thinking about her next move. In a conversation with a leader in her organization, she shared her work experience. Less than a month later, they called to offer her a shot at a completely new role within the same organization, as a manager on the Global Sourcing and Procurement team supporting Prudential’s Long Term Care business.

Looking at the job description, she saw specific duties she had little experience performing. But after conversations with her vice president as well as a longtime mentor at Prudential, Krongold decided to go for it.

“They reassured me that between my work background in event management and Prudential as a whole, there was nothing in the job description I couldn’t do,” she recalls.

“It’s been an incredible learning opportunity because my role has already expanded.”

Internal mobility sets change in motion

Even more change was set in motion when Krongold seized her new opportunity. Some of her colleagues were inspired to pursue opportunities both within and outside event management.

“Within two years, four members of our team made career moves,” recounts Melissa La Rue, a director in Event Management and Krongold’s former manager.

Managing through staff changes is never easy, La Rue admits, but she wouldn’t have it any other way — she prides herself on supporting employees as they pursue their career goals.

“I had a manager very early in my career who told me that a successful manager is going to be one who supports you,” she says, “even if it means you’re moving on.”

To other managers, La Rue advises that having honest conversations about team members’ career goals from the beginning is paramount and goes beyond simply saying you’re supportive.

Authentic conversations

Looking back over the past two years, Erin Longo, vice president, Event Management, is proud of the moves her 20-person team has made.

“We’ve done a good job of looking at our talent and helping them develop their skills and identify new opportunities for growth,” she says. “In addition to temporarily redeploying some staff during the pandemic to help other business groups and supporting team members in their career journeys, our team has upskilled to meet new business needs including the shift to virtual meetings and events.”

For Longo, a job well done starts with having honest conversations with her team.

“Being an authentic leader cultivates an environment of trust and transparency so employees will be open and candid. This way you’ll know what their needs are and can partner with them while encouraging them to own their careers,” Longo explains. And she says this authenticity has strengthened her team’s dynamic because everyone feels supported, whether they stay in the department or not.

“Examples like this are a microcosm of the larger talent ecosystem we continue to develop at Prudential,” says Vicki Walia, chief talent and capability officer. “Employees are feeling more empowered to apply for internal opportunities, and we are seeing this in the numbers: In 2021, 53 percent of open roles were filled by internal candidates, compared to industry benchmarks of between 35 and 40 percent. Prudential is committed to the development of its people and has invested in many resources to support equal access to career and growth opportunities.”

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Rich Tornambe