Internal movements of staff between functions as a percentage of total internal movement of staff.


Internal movements. Staff. Cross-function / Internal movements. Staff * 100


Cross-Function Mobility indicates the percentage of internal staff movements that involve staff moving from one functional area to another, such as from finance to marketing or from call centre to sales. Internal movements are those resulting from employees’ internal job changes within the organisation, whether through actions of transfer, promotion or demotion.

A Cross-Function Mobility result of 40 per cent means that 40 per cent of internal movements by staff for the period involved moves from one function to another, while the other 60 per cent were movements within a function.

Many organisations consider internal movements to be a positive contributor to employee development through which staff gain additional experience from diverse areas of the organisation. This new experience broadens employees’ skill sets, exposes them to a wider scope of activities performed by the business and expands their personal networks throughout the organisation.

Such movement opportunities may also serve in some cases to improve retention or engagement of staff who might feel stymied without such diversity of experience.

Cross-function moves are highly conducive to broadening skill sets because new functional areas typically involve new processes, new networks and a new perspective on the employer’s operation.

Additionally, cross-function moves require building new knowledge areas more than do many other internal movements.

The building of multiple knowledge areas, such as understanding accounting regulations within a finance function and understanding marketing analysis techniques within a sales function, builds better leadership qualities and opens additional career path opportunities, all else being equal.

Working in new functional areas and new lines of business has been identified by leaders as an important development mechanism.

The Cross-Function Mobility measure can be applied to specific subgroups of employees, such as managers or high-potential staff, where organisations are seeking to broaden future leaders by exposing them to multiple functions within the organisation. In the public service context, the measure may also be applied to movement between departments.

Data Sourcing

Organisations typically source data related to internal movements from the job table of an HRIS. Functional information is ideally stored as a field in the job table as well. Otherwise, it may be possible to derive function based on job families or organisational structure assignments, though this method is typically less accurate.


Cross-Function Mobility is commonly analysed across a broad range of analysis dimensions aimed at how various populations gain new experiences within an organisation. Such dimensions include tenure, performance rating, ethnic background, gender, manager level, occupation, job function and pay grade. As well, examining this measure by organisation unit can identify managers who encourage and support this type of development.


This measure does not indicate whether cross- function transfers occur as promotions, transfers or demotions. It does not measure the volume of the cross-function moves relative to the size of the managerial population, only to the volume of all internal movements for managers.

Results for Cross-Function Mobility do not indicate the success of the move or whether the move was employee or organisation driven. Also, the measure does not represent the productivity costs of employee movement and resulting vacancies.


Targets will vary based on employers’ strategies and policies around internal movement. An organisation may develop absolute targets based on succession risks and the need to ensure coverage of key skill areas.

Organisations that see cross-function moves as highly desirable and relatively broadly applicable will target moving results toward the 75th percentile of a relevant benchmark group.

The applicability of benchmarks may be limited by the variability among organisations of functional area categorisations and the potential for inaccurate functional assignments within employers’ systems.