May 19, 2021 by Jason Contant
When acquiring talent, organizations should consider using employee data to glean insights into the best internal hires for their teams, one tech vendor suggests.
There has been some debate within the Canadian P&C industry about whether to look outside the company — or even the entire industry — to acquire talent. But ZL Technologies Inc., a tech vendor, thinks employers should focus their search within the company, leveraging employee data to focus their search.
“Employee data represents the keys to the human side of the corporate kingdom, and from it, practically every aspect of performance can be analyzed using technology available today,” Kon Leong wrote in a Harvard Business Review blog last week. “The possible use cases are limited only by the imagination.”
Leong is the co-founder and CEO of ZL Technologies, a software and cloud vendor to large enterprises for information governance and analytics solutions. ZL Technologies is based in Milpitas, Calif. (in Silicon Valley), but has an office in Vancouver.
Two digital trends have coalesced in the past year to make the task of identifying internal talent much easier, Leong wrote in his blog, A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying — and Retaining — Top Employees.
First, remote work has increased the sheer volume of digital communications and work product generated by employees, propelled by the mass adoption of collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Second, says Leong, “since organizations are usually obliged to manage this ‘unstructured data’ for litigation, compliance, records-keeping, and privacy [purposes], some have taken the next step of leveraging it to glean insights, or ‘people analytics.’”
Leong’s article highlights the benefits of internal hires. For example, internal hires, on average, receive higher performance reviews and cost less than their external counterparts. Sixty per cent of hiring managers suggest internal recruiting could be improved by better identifying skills in existing employees, the blog said.
Leong was referring to a 2020 report from LinkedIn Talent Solutions, which combined survey results from more than 7,000 talent professionals in 35 countries (Canada included), LinkedIn behavioural data, and 40 interviews.
Data can elevate a company’s hiring practices beyond the typical ‘intuition-based approach’ to an evidence-based decision using meaningful, but easy-to-miss indicators, Leong suggests. In addition, apart from using people analytics, organizations can analyze email and other messages to drive better internal hiring and promotion decisions (keeping employee privacy top-of-mind, Leong said).
“For example, high-performing employees often leave electronic communication trails that cross departmental boundaries and place them in the center of informal networks, which can be identified through people analytics,” the blog said. “Similarly, subject-matter experts can typically be found through lexical analyses and by examining criteria such as who gets asked the most questions by other employees.
“Organizations that harness these insights can significantly reduce the level of difficulty involved in finding internal talent and matching them with promotion opportunities.”
Organizations abound with new, unfilled positions and old positions that may have lost significance in a virtual environment, Leong observes. “A program for repositioning and promoting proven employees to higher-impact roles can enhance corporate agility and should be a required first step when seeking — and redefining — talent,” Leong writes.
Technology is revamping talent acquisition and management, the blog concludes. “Solutions are actively being devised for many areas of HR talent management still stuck in the shadows. Technology can be the candle, but you do need to strike the match to illuminate your options — and kindle the glow that nurtures your talent pool.”
Feature image by iStock.com/sesame