Top 10 Myths About Democratic Management

How To Offer Internal Talent Exposure Without The Red Tape

Organizations often struggle to fulfill the career aspirations of internal talent, even though considerable efforts, cost and time are spent on finding the right talent to fill a role when someone leaves or a new one opens up. It’s also not new to source talent from within the company, through internal job postings. It’s an established practice that’s used to offer employees new roles within the organization.

However, the implementation of this practice is rarely sound. Either, the roles are often overly siloed, with little opportunity to move across departments, or they are often held up by red tape, contributed by managers who are possessive over their talent. This leaves employees stifled and many of them end up quitting from the lackluster commitment to learning. On the other end, companies feel like there is no value to investing in these practices since employees are going to leave anyway.

A Two-Pronged Approach
In line with empowering employees, autonomous job rotation is a practice that has seen quite a bit of success. This practice removes the red tape at two layers. First, it is transparent about all the new jobs that come up in the company and makes them visible to everyone internally. Second, it removes the red tape – the need for managerial approval.

With these major barriers to entry removed, employees are free to apply as though they were external candidates and are not held hostage by their existing roles or managers. Managers get involved, after a candidate gets selected, to provide support for a smooth transition. Embracing this practice is a step towards a mature work culture that rewards employees for their interest in learning and taking up new roles and responsibilities.

A Case Study From The Indian IT Sector
The Indian Information and Technology (IT) services industry employs a high percentage of Millennials, to whom learning is an important part of their career. In a certain Indian IT company, various engagement surveys and exit surveys revealed that employees were not happy with the level of exposure and learning they were getting at work if they had to continue in the same role for a long time. They weren’t getting the opportunities because bureaucratic red tape prevented their mobility and so they felt stuck in their jobs.

To combat this, the company implemented Internal Job Postings (IJPs) so that people could view new jobs and apply to them. However, there were two caveats to these IJPs: Not all new openings were posted as IJPs and you needed the approval of your manager before applying for any new job internally.

Ripping The Red Tape
But this system didn’t work very well as managers were reluctant to release their people to other teams, and often cited flimsy and superficial reasons such as, “The client will be unhappy” or, “There has been a lot of training that’s been given to this person and all that would go waste” and so on.

The company then made a bold move: It removed the need for managerial approval entirely. It also ensured that all the roles in the company were first posted as IJPs in an online portal instead of posting just a select few roles like before. Now, employees no longer needed their manager’s approval to apply and they were free to apply across departments.

Two Simple Changes
Employees still needed to go through an interview and selection process, just like an external candidate, but they didn’t need to jump through any bureaucratic hoops to get to the selection stage. If the employee was successful, there was a period of maximum three months within which the person had to be “released” by their current manager, ensuring that there was a smooth transition.

It was only in a few rare cases that a need was felt to increase the release period for the employee. The two modifications to the original process had a tremendous effect on employee morale and there was a tangible improvement in the levels of engagement.

The Benefits Of Keeping It In-House
With workforces everywhere being dominated by Millennials, it’s important for companies and leaders to realize the shift in how employees value their careers. Stability is no longer the major reason why someone will stay for long in their current job. Instead, exposure to learning new things, playing different roles and facing new challenges have gained precedence over income stability.

And, that’s why it’s more productive to empower employees, rather than have them quit because they aren’t getting the exposure they seek from their role – especially if they are stuck to it for a long time. Engaging employees with a transparent system, helps the organization build not just loyalty, but also tap into existing talent that it may have not known about otherwise. Apart from reducing the attrition rate, the organization also conserves resources by avoiding the cost of hiring and onboarding a new hire.