Talent Mobility at the North Pole

Santa’s Helpers on the Move

Published on Dec 6, 2023

Written by Elaine Pierson

north pole talent mobility

The North Pole is a hub of holiday magic, powered by the skills and dedication of Santa’s helpers. Want to know the secret behind Santa’s seamless operation? The internal talent mobility strategy that keeps his workshop adaptable, resilient, and most importantly, magical.  

But we’re here to give you the inside scoop, it’s not quite the magic you might be thinking. It’s the magic of data. Santa has been using talent intelligence in his holly jolly business for years. Join us as we explore how Santa informs the career development of his helpers, enabling them to adapt to the changing landscape of toy making and festive operations.

Just as the best-selling Christmas toys have evolved, so have the skills in Santa's Workshop.  

From the Hula Hoops of the '50s and the Etch-a-Sketch of the '60s to the Rubik's Cube, Beanie Baby craze, and video game consoles, popular toys have come and gone over the decades. Not only have the items on Christmas lists changed, so have the tools and technologies used to make them. From wooden toys to high-tech gadgets, Santa and his helpers have embraced the challenge of staying relevant.

But activities at the North Pole extend far beyond toy manufacturing. The business encompasses everything from reindeer training and security operations to food and beverage services (cocoa—not too hot, extra chocolate, shaken, not stirred, please!) along with transportation and logistics. Santa's team of dedicated helpers fill a diverse range of roles to ensure the smooth function of this entire operation.

To facilitate all that the North Pole does, Santa maintains a thriving talent mobility program that leverages the talent of existing employees (helpers don’t grow on mistletoe!) and that offers many long-term benefits. 

talent mobility strategies

Improve Employee Retention Rates

Ensuring that Santa’s Workshop and the entire North Pole operation remains staffed with skilled workers is crucial for meeting Christmas Eve demand. Santa knows that a strong talent mobility strategy helps with retaining top talent: employees who make an internal move within their organization have a 75% chance of remaining at that company after two years of employment. 

Fill Skills Gaps

Gone are the days of tinkering away with simple tools to build toys, and children no longer rely on paper and pencil to let Santa know their wishes. Technologies are fast evolving, and Santa’s helpers need their skills to keep up. Eighty-seven percent of organizations (even the North Pole!) know they have a skills gap or will have one within the next few years. By taking a proactive approach and performing a skills gap analysis, Santa can ensure his operations and helpers are equipped to respond to changing demands of the modern day holiday.

Expand Their Talent Pool

With a well-structured talent management system, Santa maximizes the potential of his current workforce—there’s no need to recruit external candidates from the South Pole when he has all the talent he needs up North! With an up-to-date job architecture, Santa is able to identify helpers with the right skills to move into open roles, or ones who are equipped to learn new skills for those positions. Seventy-one percent of global organizations rely more heavily on upskilling and reskilling to fill roles, and the North Pole makes that list. 

Create a Culture of Employee Engagement 

Transparency is key in Santa’s Workshop, so Santa’s helpers have clear visibility into the career opportunities and training available to them. Fifty-nine percent of employees say training improves their overall job performance. By defining, communicating, and cultivating skills required for various roles, from Postmaster to Chief Reindeer Handler, Santa empowers employees with a positive culture of growth and productivity.  

For an example of how Santa is mobilizing talent, let’s follow the career path of one of his top performing helpers, Tinsel Frost. 

Tinsel Frost first joined Santa’s workforce as a Mail Clerk, playing an important role in the NPPS (North Pole Postal Service) to ensure Mr. Claus received the handwritten notes from millions of children. In this role, Tinsel developed a keen understanding of what children worldwide hoped for in their stockings on Christmas. Not only did he learn about how demand varied across demographics and markets, he also learned how to prioritize and manage the influx of letters, setting the stage for his busy career up north. 

The next step in Tinsel’s path was a move from Mail Clerk to Order Filler.

Recognizing Tinsel's efficiency and knowledge on toy demand, Santa transitioned Tinsel to the position of Order Filler. In this role, Tinsel was responsible for meticulously selecting and gathering the toys requested in each child's letter. This position further honed Tinsel's organizational skills and attention to detail, ensuring that every child's wish was fulfilled with the utmost care.

career transition

Next, Tinsel skates into a critical job in Santa’s Workshop: Quality Control. 

With a proven track record ensuring the right gifts reached the right children, Tinsel Frost was promoted to Quality Control Specialist. In this position, Tinsel intricately inspected each toy to uphold Santa's commitment to quality and consistency in order fulfillment. The distinguishing skills he gained filling orders, and further refined in this role, were key in preserving the magic and joy Santa's gifts symbolize across the world.  

distinguishing skills

Tinsel’s proficiency in related skills provided support for his recent promotion to First Line Supervisor. 

As Tinsel continued to excel, Santa not only recognized the skills Tinsel had developed were suitable for a transition, but also the management qualities he possessed. In this supervisory role, Tinsel leads a team of helpers, overseeing the cross functional aspects of toy production, quality control, and order fulfillment. Tinsel's passion for the North Pole’s mission and his ability to inspire team members guides efficiency in the workshop.

common skills

Tinsel Frost's career progression highlights Santa's strategic (if not magical) approach to talent mobility. 

Each role Tinsel held not only built upon his existing skills but also introduced opportunities for career development and progressive responsibility. From handling individual letters to supervising an entire team, Tinsel's journey showcases the diverse skill set required in Santa's Workshop and the support provided to cultivate one. 

North Pole talent management