Talent Hoarding in Organizations | Working Research Paper by Ingrid Haegele

Talent Development

Internal mobility—the movement of employees across different roles and opportunities within an organization — is a core component of a firm’s talent strategy. Yet organizations face several barriers to internal talent movement. Ample research suggests that one long-standing obstacle to internal mobility is talent hoarding—a manager’s tendency to prevent or discourage employees from pursuing internal opportunities. According to a LinkedIn Learning report, 70 percent of talent acquisition leaders cite a manager’s reluctance to give up high-achieving employees as the major obstacle to moving employees to new roles and opportunities. And 46 percent of Deloitte’s Human Capital study respondents say that managers resist internal mobility. While few would dispute that talent hoarding hampers internal mobility, there has been little empirical evidence of the impact of talent hoarding on an employee’s decision to pursue internal opportunities. This research paper provides empirical evidence of talent hoarding via a study in a large manufacturing firm. Results show that when managers temporarily stop hoarding talent, workers’ applications for promotions increase by 123%, suggesting that managers deter a large group of workers from applying for opportunities. Although academically written peer-reviewed research papers are not a preferred consumption format of a segment of HR practitioners, drawing from these studies is essential to informing our critical thinking and the resulting talent practices we help develop for our organizations.