By Corporate English Solutions

03 June 2024 - 16:04

Professionals discussing business matters while sitting at a table, with a cell phone placed in the centre.

Is your organisation investing in building the right soft skills to help employees integrate smoothly into new job roles, teams, departments, or even new countries? Talent mobility initiatives have become increasingly important to ensure organisations are flexible, agile and responsive in today’s uncertain, challenging, fast-paced work context. 

But employees often don't have the career readiness competencies needed for successful mobility. And implementing effective training with high return on investment can be a challenge for L&D teams with limited budgets and resources.  

Discover the five soft skills your organisation needs to unlock effective talent mobility, driving career growth, employee engagement and organisational success. 


Reading time: 7 minutes

What does talent mobility mean to you?

It's all about the movement of employees within your organisation. But it's not just about changing desks or offices. It can be horizontal, like moving between roles or departments, or vertical, through promotion.

Why is it important in today’s uncertain, challenging, fast-paced work context? 

Organisations need to be agile, flexible and respond quickly to adapt to changing market conditions and make the most of new opportunities. Plus, with talent attraction and retention becoming more competitive than ever, mobility initiatives offer employees a chance to grow within the company, boosting engagement and loyalty.

But there can be two main issues: employees often don't have the career readiness competencies needed for successful mobility, and L&D teams may be unsure exactly which skills to target. On limited budgets and resources, training programmes need to be effective and provide a high return on investment. 

Though organisations used to focus on technical training, the balance is now tipping towards soft skills training - over 80% of HR and L&D professionals now place equal or more emphasis on soft skills. With the right soft skills training, individuals can solve problems, and successfully manage their career paths. Within the organisation, this drives innovation, career movement and creativity.

Read on to discover the five soft skills your organisation needs to unlock effective talent mobility, and drive career growth, employee engagement and organisational success.

Soft skill #1: Communication

Effective communication is at the heart of internal mobility. It’s not just about speaking or writing well; it’s about listening, understanding, and responding appropriately. 

Individuals with strong communication skills understand career pathway options, along with possible roles, and their requirements. This helps them make informed decisions about their mobility. 

They can transition smoothly between roles, teams, and contexts, enhancing job satisfaction, performance, and productivity. This seamless movement ensures business continuity and agility for the organisation.

Which communication competencies are critical?

Clear, concise, coherent communication

Being clear and concise is key. It makes sure knowledge gets transferred smoothly between teams, keeping the organisation's knowledge base intact. Plus, it helps communicate goals, objectives, and ways of working clearly, so everyone stays aligned and informed.

Interpersonal communication

Good interpersonal communication is all about building and maintaining genuine rapport with a variety of people. It builds trust, strengthens relationships, and makes collaboration much smoother. When people communicate in an engaging way, they connect better with their colleagues, making teamwork more effective and enjoyable.

Soft skill #2: Emotional intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is more than just being in touch with feelings; it's about understanding, managing, and leveraging emotions effectively.

High EQ helps your teams navigate change during career transitions with confidence and resilience. It also allows them to build trust, foster collaboration, and create a supportive environment.

Which EQ competencies are essential?


Understanding how their responses influence their choices provides a roadmap for individuals’ career journeys. It can help them spot the job roles that fit their skills, goals, and values, leading to more satisfying and effective career moves.


Being able to manage emotions and reactions, especially in tough situations, improves well-being. It also helps individuals make better decisions during internal transitions, ensuring smoother adjustments.


Empathy is a key ingredient in great teamwork. When they take the time to understand and relate to others' emotions and viewpoints, individuals build trust, encourage collaboration, and help cultivate a supportive atmosphere. This helps people integrate quickly into new teams and fosters a sense of belonging from early on.

Soft skill #3: Cultural intelligence (CQ)

Cultural intelligence (CQ) extends beyond recognising preferences and behaviours; it encompasses understanding, adapting to, and effectively interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Individuals with high CQ easily adapt to new environments, facilitating smoother transitions and fostering enhanced collaboration. What’s more, they advocate for inclusivity, ensuring that every voice is valued and heard.

Which CQ competencies are key?

Cultural understanding

Understanding how cultural influences shape workplace behaviours can act as a compass to support individuals navigate new workplace dynamics with insight and empathy, fostering cohesion. 

Culturally intelligent attitude

Maintaining a curious and adaptable mindset is essential. It's about embracing new cultures and perspectives, facilitating integration and collaboration within new teams.

Culturally intelligent communication

Effective communication across cultures means individuals adjusting communication styles to different preferences, while remaining authentic to who they are. This will help them bridge gaps and foster meaningful connections. 

Alongside these skills, consider whether your organisation – particularly if it has global expansion aspirations – calls for a minimum language proficiency in specific roles across the board.

Soft skill #4: Critical thinking and problem-solving

Critical thinking and problem-solving are about more than just finding solutions; they're about analysing, evaluating, and creatively approaching challenges to make informed decisions and achieve effective outcomes.

As employees move through the organisation and grow in their careers, critical thinking and problem-solving skills are crucial for tackling challenges, fostering innovation, and making informed decisions.

Which critical thinking and problem-solving competencies are crucial?

Problem identification

When it comes to spotting the real issues at hand, this skill helps individuals uncover what's really going on beneath the surface, making it easier to find the best solutions and adapt smoothly to new environments. 

Creative problem-solving

By looking at problems from different angles, people can come up with fresh ideas and think strategically, giving them and the wider organisation a competitive advantage.

Analytical thinking

By breaking down complex problems into bite-sized pieces, digging into data and spotting trends and patterns, people can make smarter decisions and find new opportunities for growth, even when things are in flux.

Soft skill #5: Influencing and persuasion 

This is your organisation’s secret weapon. Individuals adept at articulating their ideas and values can gain support for their career aspirations and projects.

In turn, influencing and persuasive soft skills are invaluable to an organisation keen to retain its top talent. Through acting as advocates, they uplift other high-potential employees – and themselves – into important roles aligned with the company's strategic objectives, helping to keep and use top talent in the most effective way.  

They also become skilled at navigating complex dynamics, hierarchies and politics within the organisation, making them best placed to enable positive change.

Which influencing and persuasion competencies are indispensable?

Strategic networking and relationship building

Building strong connections is vital to nurture trust and foster mutually beneficial connections. Contributing to a supportive environment enables professional growth and teamwork, facilitating effective mobility.

Planning influencing strategy

Setting clear goals and strategising steps to engage stakeholders paves the way for smoother transitions, faster adaptation, and increased support for achieving objectives. 

Adapting influencing style

Flexibility in communication is essential – by tailoring communication approaches, individuals can resonate with diverse audiences and contexts. This fosters alignment, garners support, and facilitates positive outcomes, empowering employees to navigate their career paths with confidence and ease.


From effective communication to problem-solving prowess, mastering these key skills can make all the difference when it comes to navigating the ever-changing landscape of professional mobility. 

It’s clear that investing in soft skills development – with a particular eye on the five skills we’ve outlined – empowers both employees and organisations for effective talent mobility, ensuring success in today's dynamic environment. 

British Council has almost 90 years’ experience of partnering with organisations in over 200 countries to upskill their workforce for success. Our four-step process supports you to implement initiatives that make a difference, whatever shape your mobility programmes take.  

Grow your employees’ soft skills with our Professional Skills programmes, to develop key competencies essential to mobility. Whether it’s EQ, communication, intercultural or influencing skills your teams need, our targeted learning solutions deliver impact. 

Download our Corporate English Solutions brochure  or book a free consultation to learn more.