Experiences· 6min July 12, 2023
Form3’s Chief Technology Officer, Steve Cook, has always advocated the importance of internal mobility within Engineering teams, believing it brings several meaningful benefits to both the individual and company. For the individual, it provides a learning opportunity and a change of environment which can lead to greater employee happiness and improved retention. For the company, it can increase efficiency and productivity, whilst enabling knowledge transfer and cross-functional development of peers.
We strive to develop our internal talent and promote internally into ‘Lead’, ‘Head of’ and other senior vacancies rather than hiring externally into these roles as we wish to retain and nurture the talent we have. Promoting a culture of internal mobility between teams was straightforward when I first joined Form3 in 2019. At that time, we had a headcount of c.20 Senior Engineers whereas we’ve scaled significantly since then, now with over 250 people within our Engineering function. As you can imagine, this has made the process more complex.
In this blog I will outline the steps we are taking to establish a fair and efficient process to allow continued movement between teams, whilst supporting Form3’s talent requirements.
As Form3 has grown, it has become increasingly difficult to make everyone aware of new opportunities across our 50+ Engineering teams. Initially, our Heads of Engineering relied heavily on word of mouth to share information about upcoming opportunities, but we knew longer term that a more scalable solution would need to be put in place.
To partially address this, we have introduced a simple process that allows all vacancies to be advertised on an internal job board. Hiring Managers are then asked to promote these opportunities on Engineering-wide Slack channels so that people from other teams have visibility of them. Whilst this has improved awareness, it has now brought about a new challenge.
We feel strongly that every internal engineering vacancy should be accessible to every Engineer (experience permitting), but how to make this work whilst adhering to the headcount budgets across the respective business lines isn’t straight forward! We’re not certain that there is a perfect solution to this, but the best we have so far been able to come up with is the creation of a new internal teams site that provides detail about every Engineering team at Form3. Once this site is live, it will enable our Engineers to register interest in projects before a position becomes available, meaning Hiring Managers will have a pipeline of interested candidates to reach out to if and when an opening materialises.
Additionally, if an internal opening is filled with a candidate from another business line that in turn takes headcount over budget, we can then use the internal teams site to highlight ways in which headcount can be balanced by facilitating moves for people into teams of interest to them (providing that team has capacity). To add a more human feel to this process, the Talent Team will speak in person with Engineers to explain the process of changing teams whilst encouraging engagement with the internal teams site.
On top of establishing a process to better promote internal opportunities, we also needed to create career progression frameworks and interview processes that allow candidates to demonstrate they are ready to step up into a new role. We’re working to ensure that these are as closely aligned as possible so that it is clear to anyone looking to apply for a promotion where they should focus their learning, and how best they can prepare for the interview process.
We see real value in using the same interview process across all roles of the same level. This ensures fairness and consistency across candidates, making it easier for interviewers to compare interview performance, and easier for candidates to prepare for interviews. An issue with this approach is that it can mean candidates who have previously interviewed but weren’t selected for the role at that time have a significant advantage moving forward over candidates without that direct interview experience.
To mitigate this, we rely on transparency of process. The more information we provide candidates in the form of a comprehensive career framework, professional development recommendations and detailed interview prep, the more we minimise the advantage a candidate would have by previously completing the interview process. We want candidates to do well, so everything we can do to prepare them for the interview in advance makes sense to us.
Interviewing, and receiving feedback from senior colleagues outside of your immediate team is a great way to accelerate growth. With this in mind, we work to provide candidates with rich, kind, and constructive feedback that will aid their development moving forward, regardless of whether they were chosen for the position or not. Our People Team have produced guides and online courses to help interviewers when constructing and delivering feedback, whilst also offering tips to candidates around how best to receive and action the feedback given.
We’re far from finished and there are many improvements still to be made. We hope that by actively promoting internal mobility whilst working to create clear, effective interview and feedback processes we can add value to the experience of each of our Engineers whilst at Form3, keeping our amazing teams happy for as long as possible. Next up... to try and replicate these processes across the wider business!