Throughout my career in IT, I’ve done a bit of everything. In small and medium-sized companies where I started, it was common for me to fix a network one day and deal with a rebellious mouse the next. It wasn’t exactly what you’d call “internal mobility,” but I certainly wasn’t standing still.
However, when we talk about large corporations, the story changes. My first leap to a large company was with IBM around 2004. I’ll save the explanation for another day, but I thought I was being interviewed for a position in the Unix team. Imagine my surprise on my first work day when I discovered I had been hired in the network team!
While I began to learn as much as I could about networks, whenever possible, I tried to get involved with something related to Unix or Linux. It was challenging, as the company was rigid, and each team had well-defined roles and access.
I ended up helping here and there, chipping in, volunteering for jobs where the network and Unix teams would work together, and occasionally getting access to Linux servers used as firewalls, making them “network equipment.”
When we moved to Canada, I worked for Morgan Stanley. There, things were even more rigid. Not only because it was an even more restricted environment in terms of separating what each person or team does, but also being a third-party employee, I didn’t even have visibility or access to other people or groups. Combining this with a low salary and the fact that I automated my job, I didn’t last long there before resigning.
When I went to work for Google in 2015, many things caught my attention and showed why the company is a leader in so many aspects and – at least at the time – was an excellent place to work.
But one thing immediately attracted me: An “Engineering Exchange” program where employees from one department could apply to work for a completely different department for a few weeks to a few months. That’s how I ended up working in one of the data centers there, but that’s a story for another day.
Fast forwarding to the present, I’m again in a large company, and this time in a leadership position. I was thrilled to discover that there are official and grassroots internal mobility programs where groups exchange employees for three months or more.
This discovery led me to reflect on the multiple facets and benefits of internal mobility, not only as a manager but also from my experiences. Over the years, I realized that, regardless of the company’s size, internal mobility has always played a crucial role in my development and those around me.
Let’s dive a little deeper into this topic. First, let’s consider the advantages from the professional’s point of view. Why is internal mobility so valuable for individual growth? How can it shape a career and open new horizons? Let’s explore this together.
Benefits of Internal Mobility for Professional Development
Internal mobility allows employees to acquire new skills and experiences, expanding their professional competencies. Professionals can learn new functions, technologies, and processes by changing positions or areas. This contributes to their growth and makes their profile more complete and attractive in the job market.
Furthermore, internal mobility encourages employees to step out of their comfort zone and seek new challenges. By taking on new responsibilities and projects, professionals must apply their knowledge in new ways and develop problem-solving and adaptation skills.
Another benefit is that internal mobility acts as career planning within the company itself. Employees can plot a growth trajectory, going through different areas and positions according to their professional interests. This increases their employability.
Internal mobility also allows professionals to discover new areas of interest and vocations. For example, an employee may start in the sales area and then find more affinity with marketing. This flexibility helps people find their talents.
Lastly, internal mobility sends a positive message to employees, showing that the company cares about their development and is willing to invest in them. This improves engagement and commitment to organizational goals.
From the company’s point of view, there are also many advantages:
Benefits of Internal Mobility for Companies
Internal mobility allows companies to fill vacancies with talents already familiar with the culture and organizational processes. This reduces the costs and time spent on recruiting and integrating new employees.
Moreover, internal mobility helps retain talent, reducing turnover. Professionals who see possibilities for growth within the company tend to stay longer on the job.
Another benefit is the development of a more diverse and flexible workforce. By providing experiences in different areas, internal mobility makes professionals more complete and prepared to assume various functions as needed.
Internal mobility also promotes innovation, allowing for exchanging knowledge and experiences between areas. Professionals familiar with different processes can bring new perspectives and ideas.
Finally, internal mobility improves employee engagement, as they feel valued by the company. This increases productivity and the quality of work delivered.
Conclusion: Embracing Internal Mobility for Growth and Innovation
After navigating the diverse landscapes of the IT industry for years, one truth stands out unmistakably: internal mobility isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. It’s a dynamic two-way street that benefits everyone—professionals gain new skills and perspectives while organizations nurture a more versatile, engaged workforce.
In smaller companies, internal mobility is often an organic process, a part of the daily workflow. In larger corporations, however, it requires strategic planning and active encouragement. But regardless of the company’s size, the value remains the same.
For my fellow IT professionals, I encourage you to view internal mobility as an opportunity for discovery and growth. Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone. You might uncover hidden talents or passions that could redefine your career path.
For the leaders and managers out there, fostering a culture that supports internal mobility is investing in your organization’s future. It’s not just about filling positions internally; it’s about cultivating a workforce that is adaptable, innovative, and deeply invested in the company’s success.
So, whether you are charting your career path in IT or guiding a team, remember internal mobility is more than just a concept—it’s a practice. A practice that brings about tangible, rewarding changes: it’s an investment in people and, ultimately, an investment in the company’s future. Embrace it, encourage it, and watch as new doors of opportunity swing open for both individuals and the organization.