How to Grow Your Career, Without Leaving Your Company

Lisa Earle McLeod
3 min readApr 20, 2023


Much has been written about the need to change jobs every few years. Moving around keeps you learning, and more engaged, and is correlated with a higher income. Yet, moving around your health insurance, getting all new coworkers, and learning entirely new systems is a tall order. Constantly leaping can result in constant exhaustion. Plus, what about if you actually like your company? Should you hand in a resignation based on the assumption that your salary will benefit in the long term?

Increasingly more people are opting to stay, rather than job-hop, for a variety of reasons. Long tenures with an organization can be positive if you’re moving around internally. The new growth opportunities, stretch projects, and continuous learning keep the energy high while staying in a somewhat similar culture provides reassuring familiarity. Data from LinkedIn’s 2023 Workplace Learning Report shows that when employees make an internal move, they are 75% more likely to stay with the company at the two-year mark, a time when close to 50% of people are electing to leave.

Unsurprisingly, given the big pay-off (retention of top talent) the C-suite is now hyper-focused on mobilizing employees. Surveyed executives said ‘keeping employees motivated and engaged’ is a top priority. The second priority is giving employees opportunities to move into different roles within the business.

Internal moves can be the best of both worlds; Companies keep great talent and engaged employees grow their careers.

But if internal moves are so great…why aren’t more people making them? According to this year’s LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning Report, only 15% of respondents say their organization encouraged them to move into a new role. While it’s true that many organizations are prioritizing giving employees opportunities to move into different roles in the business, there is a disconnect between what they’re saying and what they’re doing.

That’s not uncommon. Organizations tend to aspire to do things long before actually doing them (Sustainability, DE&I, living wages, the list goes on). So while the aspiration for internal mobility is there, the behavior lags behind.

If you’re a leader who can start the conversation, and internal mobility is something that’s possible for someone on your team, you should be the one to start the conversation.

I know, I know. You don’t want to lose a strong performer. I hear you. But I would suggest if you have a strong performer who wants to advance you’re going to lose them externally if you don’t find a way for them to advance internally. The question for all leaders is- would you rather lose your best people to a bigger job at this company, and have them see you as someone who helped their career flourish? Or would you rather they quit and go somewhere else, because they felt like you were holding them back? In most cases, one of those two things is inevitable. Your choice.

But even if your boss isn’t reading this and making the first move, you’re not powerless. If you want to advance without leaving here’s what you can do:

  • Soft launch the idea by speaking in hypotheticals. Asking about career growth or expressing your desire to learn something new can lay the groundwork for an internal move later. It also gets your boss thinking.
  • Don’t change jobs, change projects. If you’re looking for more, taking on a flex project or working with another team on an initiative can give you some of the growth and expansion you’re seeking.
  • Seek mentorship. If you’re looking for career growth or an internal with your current company, seeking a mentor can help. Mentors (who are not your direct boss) are often privy to other opportunities internally. They can also guide you on how to make the move in a way that preserves your reputation (versus erodes it).

If you’re approaching that 2-year mark (or 20-year mark) and feeling the itch, you don’t need to pack up your desk and turn in your laptop just yet. An exciting opportunity might be a few doors (or zoom rooms) away.



Lisa Earle McLeod

Lisa is an advisor, consultant, and speaker who works with senior executives and sales teams around the world. She is the author of five bestselling books.