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Internal Recruiting Awards Winners of 2021

Announcing The Internal Recruiting Awards Winners: Top 3 Internal Mobility Programs Of 2021

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Internal recruiting has always accounted for the top source of all hires made, in every industry, and nearly every functional area. When the pandemic hit, companies were forced to focus not on how to recruit new employees to support growth, but instead, how to retain as many existing workers as possible. These efforts included job training and reskilling; concerted workforce planning, succession planning, and formalized career pathing/skills mapping.

The point is, internal mobility has never been a trend; it’s just that in 2021, the focus has shifted squarely from the TA margins to the mainstream. 

That’s why this summer we launched the 2021 Internal Recruiting Awards, powered by SmartRecruiters. The awards are the first-ever globally-focused TA industry event to recognize achievement for internal recruitment efforts. 

The goal of the IRA’s is to showcase and honor employers and talent leaders who not only consistently achieve “best practices,” but are at the leading edge of talent mobility today. And we are excited to honor companies who have excelled at recruiting and developing employees and made internal talent development a competitive advantage.

Entries and Judging

Nominations for the inaugural Internal Recruiting Awards were open to any employer, regardless of industry, size, or market presence. Over the last three months, talent acquisition teams across the globe submitted their entries that highlighted how they are making a real difference when it comes to transforming their companies into employers of choice and long-term career destinations via their internal recruiting programs.

To ensure fair and honest judging of all entries, SmartRecruiters joined forces with some of the smartest and influential leaders in talent today: 

And with the help of these TA All-Star Judges’ feedback, we are excited to share with you the winners of the 2021 Internal Recruiting Awards, Powered by SmartRecruiters. 


  1. AdventHealth
  2. Amentum
  3. Uncommon Schools

AdventHealth: A Supportive Approach to Employee Career Guidance

AdventHealth, a large healthcare provider across nine states in North America, prides themselves on delivering an exceptional internal mobility experience for their 80,000 employees. Cathy Henesey, Executive Director of Talent Acquisition, explains that the key to their success is their “Overall belief in the internal mobility process is not how they are treated during the selection, although important, it is what we are doing for them prior to applying.” 

Two years ago, Cathy and her team started an Internal Mobility program to offer services to internal employees that would guide them through the application and selection process. Employees now could go to a dedicated landing page on AdventHealth’s internal employee portal which gave them access to assistance to make sure they are applying for the right position for them. 

“They have an incredibly supportive process for internal candidates, far beyond what we normally see.  They provide not only a consistent and fair process but continuing ongoing and personal support for every internal candidate to be in the role that best suits their interests and skills.” – IRA Judge, Jim D’Amico, Global Talent Acquisition Leader, Celanese

AdventHealth’s talent team knew that for the internal mobility program to succeed they would have to go beyond creating an informative platform and simple application process. To encourage engagement, they created three different ways for employees to interact with the Internal Mobility team. 

  1. Live Chat  – A live chat plugin is installed onto the internal mobility homepage. This live chat pop-ups when a new user lands on the page. The live chat is manned by an Internal Mobility Ambassador all day and interacts with employees instantaneously. 
  2. Virtual Appointments – AdventHealth uses Brazen, a virtual events platform, to connect employees with the internal mobility team in a scheduled virtual meeting. 
  3. Email – A simple email form can be used by employees to ask questions or enquire about a new position. Employees can usually expect a response within 24 hours. 

Running alongside these communication initiatives is the weekly opportunity employees have to ask for resume reviews, interviewing tips, and any other career advancement questions.

The internal recruitment selection process is the same for both internal and external candidates, however, we expect different service level agreements from both the Talent Acquisition team and the Hiring Manager team. The time from application to disposition (final outcome) for internal candidates should not exceed an average of 7 days.


AdventHealth is an example of how a large company can introduce a simple yet effective internal mobility program. Their internal mobility program is highly regarded within the recruitment industry and has helped the team win multiple awards including the Lean Human Capital Elite Award and a CANDE Award in 2020. Positive feedback from employees also demonstrates the value and impact of the internal mobility program. 

Amentum: Greatness Happens when Talent Acquisition and Talent Management Collaborate

Amentum, a global technical and engineering service provider, employs 80,000 employees across 48 states and 28 countries. Before 2021, internal mobility at Amentum was a simple portal that wasn’t receiving as much engagement as the talent acquisition team wanted. 

To empower employees to advance their careers at Amentum, the talent acquisition and talent management team came together to create Talent Hub. The newly released platform is a space where employees can store their aspirations, skills, experience, and receive job matches. 

“The objectives for Talent Hub are to easily connect our employees with more opportunities seamlessly. As many organizations claim, the people are their business,” explains Alexandra Stathes, Vice President, Talent Acquisition, “but for Amentum, they are also our product. It is imperative that we continually engage them in new opportunities as well as understand where and how they want to grow their career. ”

Talent Hub is a terrific example of an internal mobility platform that captures employees from day one and takes less than three minutes. Personal profiles are automatically created when a new employee joins, all they need to do is confirm their profile. Once an employee is fully set up, they are matched to new jobs, which they can apply to with one click. 

“Amentum’s Talent Hub is great because it enables proactive sourcing by making skills searchable for internal recruiters; rather than having to build a giant skills database that requires constant updating and just isn’t feasible or scalable. And all profiles are blinded out and sourced anonymously, which removes bias while protecting confidentiality.” – IRA Judge, Stacy Zapar, Founder, The Talent Agency. 


It’s still early days for Talent Hub, but the results that Amentum is seeing so far already deem their internal mobility strategy successful. Since going live with Talent Hub, current employees have become the top source of hires. And although this isn’t how Amentum’s talent team will measure the platform’s success, it is a big positive indicator that employees want to stay. 

Customers of Amentum love that they care so much about their employees that Talent Hub is now included in RFPs. “Talent Hub shows our customers we are serious about our talent. We are pointing to our approach in RFPs and it is showing to be a key factor in the contracts our company is winning. Our approach to keeping our talent makes our customers feel secure in working with us,” explains Alexandra Stathes. 

Uncommon Schools: Fellowship Program Shapes Education Leaders

Believing deeply in the potential of their employees and supporting them in reaching their goals is key to internal mobility success at Uncommon Schools. The educational non-profit organization manages 54 schools and serves more than 20,000 students across six cities in the United States. 

“Uncommon Schools have a tremendous connection between employee development and internal recruiting. Their approach wasn’t to leverage internal talent to “fill” roles, but to provide internal talent the opportunity to develop and grow alongside Uncommon Schools.” –  IRA Judge, Jim D’Amico, Global Talent Acquisition Leader, Celanese

Coaching and feedback are intertwined in the culture at Uncommon Schools. All staff, both school-based and in the central office, receive weekly coaching, feedback, and support from their manager and colleagues. In addition to informal feedback, there are also structures in place for more formalized feedback including 2×2 cycles, 360 reviews, annual reviews, mid-year evaluations, and annual goal-setting. 

Uncommon Schools also developed a fellowship program to prepare staff members for leadership. Principal and Operations Fellowships are offered as a full-time, salaried position that enables fellow-tailored professional development in a cohort setting as well as real-world experience in schools. 

Uncommon Schools also offers fellowship programs for full-time teachers with aspirations to become Dean of Students and Dean of Curriculum and Instruction. These programs offer personal development and coaching to prepare fellows to be strong candidates for these school leadership roles. 

One key initiative for them is ensuring they are building schools that reflect their student population, with more than 60% of our teachers and staff identifying as a person of color. And while we are proud of this progress, they know it is critical to continue building a strong bench of teachers and leaders of color.

“It is important to understand how internal recruiting programs impact diversity and inclusion. It was great to see Uncommon Schools’ focus on results and diversity.” – IRA Judge, Gerry Crispin, Co-founder & Principal, CareerXroads.


Supporting employees with aspirations for leadership positions with dedicated support and fellowship programs proves to be a catalyst for internal mobility success at Uncommon Schools. This year, internal promotions account for 70% of operations leadership and 95% of instructional leadership hires. 


From the beginning of the pandemic with its widespread furloughs and layoffs to the current boom in hiring, the past 18 months have forced talent acquisition teams to pivot quickly and think strategically. On behalf of SmartRecruiters and our All-Star team of judges, through the launch of the Internal Recruiting Awards, we are pleased to help celebrate those organizations who are truly bringing internal mobility to the forefront of their hiring process. 

Want to hear more about these award-winning programs? Join us on September 21, as we bring together the IRA winners in a discussion led by judge and industry expert, Jim D’Amico, to talk through their innovative approaches to internal mobility, share success stories, and look at the future of internal recruiting. Sign up Today!

For more information on how SmartRecruiters can help with internal recruiting, click here.

Ryan Frazier

Customer & Partner Marketing Manager, SmartRecruiters