Purpose – To provide a further examination into the explanatory factors of employees' mobility for organizations wishing to improve performance by keeping right employees judging from their goal orientation and organizational commitment. Design/methodology/approach – The multivariate statistical methods (MANOVA) together with a longitudinal design are used to test the hypotheses generated from the theory with data gathered from two Taiwan-based financial institutions. Findings – Suggests that those who quit for what they perceive as upwardly mobile career moves and those who enjoy in-house promotions both demonstrate a greater degree of positive learning goal orientation than their colleagues who remain stationary in long-term positions with the same firm. Makes note of the inability of performance goal orientation and organizational commitment to explain employee mobility behaviors. Research limitations/implications – Generalizability is limited due to the concentration of this longitudinal-design study on two institutions of a single industry in Taiwan. Practical implications – Provides a positive advice for organizations to create mechanisms and environment that can engage learning-oriented employees as meaningful contributors in principal challenges and to use learning experiences to revitalize them and deepen their commitment. Originality/value – This paper clarifies the influence of goal orientation and organizational commitment upon employees' mobility and identifies their relationship with findings suggesting a direct link between positive learning goal orientation and positive job performance.