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At this insurance company, job mobility happens in-house

Employees are looking to take part in “The Big Stay” and put down roots with organizations that support their professional growth. A focus on internal mobility can help companies retain this eager talent.

Employers witnessed a welcome drop in the number of employees looking to leave their jobs last year, as a third of employees planned to quit last year, down from 40% in 2022, according to EY. But employees aren’t interested in staying stagnant: Data from Zippia shows that three-quarters of employees want to be offered the chance to expand their careers, and a report from Handshake found that 67% of Gen Z ranks the ability to advance their career as a top job requirement. 

At insurance company Assurance IQ, internal mobility is an ingrained part of the employee experience, and their business is better for it, says chief people officer Gulliver Swenson.  

“We built out what an internal mobility strategy would look like, and we’re really clear with our employees around our expectations,” he says. “We are focused on, from top to bottom, creating opportunities for impact. It’s the opportunity to say, “Hey, this interests me and I don’t see someone doing this,” or, “It’s a place that I can help.” Have the confidence to invest in your people to do that.”

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From the time an employee joins the company, they are educated on their job qualifications, expectations and responsibilities, as well as what is needed for other roles they may want to pursue — even if it’s not in their original department. The company promotes cross-functional work, collaboration and relationships through various projects, giving employees a deeper understanding of what other roles entail and if they might be interested in them, Swenson says.

“Having clarity around an employee’s skill set [means] they can look at themselves objectively and understand what things they might need to develop to get themselves into that next role,” he says. “It may be hard to see yourself working in finance if you’re currently in operations. We try to have a culture where those relationships are natural — getting our groups working together in meaningful ways so they can see that possibility for themselves.”

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In addition to focusing on skills that are job-specific, Assurance also places an emphasis on how its employees’ personalities impact their role and workplace relationships. Two of their staff are trained on the Enneagram program — a system that classifies people as one of nine different personality types — and work across all teams within the company to help them make the most of their team members’ emotional intelligence skills at work. 

The company’s talent and development lead also sits down with company managers each month for roundtable discussions, where they can cover anything team-related or connected to internal mobility, says Swenson. Managers are also taught to see the advantages of having employees advance to different parts of the company, easing the pain of losing a talented team member.  

“One of the leadership principles that we have at Assurance is around knowing the business,” Swenson says. “You invest in both the role and the person, and investing in the person means that you care about them and their future, and you recognize that hey, it might be hard for me to replace you, but I’ve done my job if you’ve outgrown me.” 

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When employees see that their career progression is a priority for their employer, their engagement, productivity and loyalty increase. Retention among employees is 34% higher when they have professional development opportunities, according to management software platform ClearCompany. Being given the freedom to grow and move within the company, and knowing they will find the best fit for both their job skills and their personalities means workers at Assurance feel their total value, Swenson says.

“When you feel like you are valued and the work you’re doing is important, and when you have a connection to something like a mission, that’s what allows employees to feel like they’re taken care of in a workplace” he says. “We’re really open to people choosing their own adventure and defining their own journey, and then when you start to see that happen and you publicize it, you’re transparent about it and you talk about the success, it creates an environment that allows that to continue.” 

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