How Behavioral Data Supports Internal Mobility

Posted on March 28, 2022

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Employee ExperienceKerry WangQuality of HireTalent Models/Personas

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Organizations with thriving cultures embrace internal mobility when it comes to employees taking on new challenges and roles. And while events of the past two years have forced many to jump right in (with both positive and negative results), moving forward, the ability to evaluate, develop and support growth opportunities for employees will be critical to overall company success.

It’s no secret that talent growth (or internal mobility) is good for employees and the business. It taps into the passions and desires of your talent, while improving business performance. And, it can be critical for attracting and retaining the right people, not to mention improving overall morale and engagement. Supporting lateral moves also improves employee experience by allowing employees to find a new role without forcing them to quit and go through the full hiring process again (plus, it helps the organization improve retention).

But before you can enable talent growth and mobility, it’s important to understand employees holistically using behavioral data. But what are the types of behavioral data that are important when evaluating talent, and their potential to grow?

First, let’s quickly define behavioral data. Many people think it’s basic soft skills, but it’s so much more. It includes data associated with traits like creativity, decisiveness, adaptability or risk-taking. It’s how a candidate works with others, what motivates them to make an impact, or how they like to structure their work. In essence, it’s data that’s collected observationally about how a person acts and behaves in a particular environment, like the workplace.

So, the question becomes, what behavioral data should an organization be measuring to ensure they get a well-rounded and holistic understanding of a candidate and that best positions team members for future internal mobility? We measure four types of behavioral data at Searchlight:

  • Competencies
  • Strengths and Gaps
  • Cultural Alignment
  • Career Interests

Behavioral data can be used in internal mobility programs in a variety of ways. First, it lets talent leaders find new roles for employees that are interested in moving. Workplaces can support employees making lateral moves by suggesting new roles that are a fit for their skills and traits. Measuring behavioral data allows them to know, with data, what new roles might be a fit. Otherwise they’re relying on guesswork and intuition, which is susceptible to bias and difficult to scale.

Some organizations will even use behavioral data to place employees on a team in the first place. In this model,  department leaders assign new employees to a specific role and team after they are hired (rather than hiring for a specific role), based on which team they mesh with.

Analyzing behavioral data can also help keep teams balanced. For example, if a team is dominated by relationship-oriented people that prioritize getting along, they might benefit from adding a few truth-tellers that prioritize giving honest feedback. Measuring behavioral data allows HR and talent leaders to understand these issues and make adjustments that produce more effective and balanced teams.

Kerry Wang

Co-Founder & CEO Kerry is the co-founder and CEO of Searchlight. After studying both Org Psychology and Computer Science at Stanford, she loves nerding out on all things people, psychology, and tech. On the weekend, you’ll find her reading a book or watching reality TV.

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