Calling All HR Leaders, How a Simple People Directory Can Impact Your ELTV

5 min readJul 1, 2021

Hybrid working environments, employee wellbeing, employee engagement — all things that are at the top of many HR leaders’ minds as we enter the second half of 2021. Notice one thing that’s missing from that list? Increasing ELTV, otherwise known as “employee-lifetime-value”. ELTV is a term coined by Maia Josebachvili and is simply the total net value over time that an employee brings to an organization.

You’re probably wondering, how exactly can something as straightforward as an employee directory help with something as impactful as this? I’m happy to explain, but first let’s go over what ELTV is and the buttons companies can push to drive ELTV.

ELTV explained and its main drivers

There are four points in the employee lifecycle that have the most impact on the value that individuals can bring to their company.

  • Start — At this point, the employee has negative value to the organization as they’re not yet ramped up and significant resources are being allocated to hire, onboard, and train them.
  • Fully Contributing — After a while, the employee reaches the Fully Contributing point. After this point, the goal is to gradually keep employee value positive and rising over time.
  • Decision to Leave — When they hit a performance plateau they will make the Decision to Leave. At this moment, their performance will gradually decrease until their Last Day.
  • Last Day — At this point, they are gone and it’s time to go through the cycle again.

HR’s goal is to maximize the area under the curve by impacting each point of the employee experience (from Start to Last Day).

And how can HR do this? There are several variables that organizations can control to drive higher ELTV.

  1. Onboarding — Companies can shorten the ramp-up time of new hires in order for them to become a fully contributing employee sooner. [Related article: 3 Remote Onboarding Tips for a Better Employee Onboarding Experience]
  2. Hiring — Finding the right hire contributes to 3x revenue growth and 2x profit margins (Realizing the Value of People Managing, BCG).
  3. Learning & Development — Investing in employees can increase value a team member brings over time.
  4. Management & Culture — Competent management and a positive work culture help with retention. (72% of employees believe empathy drives employee motivation — Business Solver).

How internal hiring and employee directories impact ELTV

As mentioned above, we see that hiring is one of the most important drivers of ELTV. According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report, employees stay an average of 41% longer at companies with high internal hiring vs. those with low internal hiring. Additionally, an overwhelming majority state that internal hiring accelerates new hire productivity as well as the hiring process which we also know are drivers of ELTV.

[Related article: Why You Should Prioritize Internal Mobility in 2021]

But, where do you begin your internal hiring process and how can you improve it? It’s quite simple really. Where is the one place you go to when finding info about someone at your organization? For most companies that is their employee directory whether it be in their company intranet, HR system or in one of several communication tools like Microsoft Teams.

However, most employee directories only offer limited information into the actual skills of employees. Imagine the ability to search for anyone in your organization and immediately find Python experts, data analytics whizzes, and tax compliance law specialists.

Unlocking this type of knowledge that is buried within a network is so important at any company, especially at larger, disparate organizations where discovery is more difficult. This is the challenge HR faces when trying to recruit internally. How do people leaders find and discover internal candidates in an easy way to get an idea of who may be a good fit? When you’re tasked with finding an early-career engineer with experience in Python and a background in B2B SaaS, it’s most likely that a candidate like that exists in your organization, but the problem is finding them and onboarding them quickly.

Luckily Sift understands that challenge and is built to equip HR leaders with what they need — access into the skills of their organization. Searchable employee profiles paired with a comprehensive org chart make employees’ skills, interests, and experience easily searchable. HR leaders can search by skill and find qualified candidates in seconds. Specifically, skill levels help you evaluate candidates’ level of experience in a certain skill.

Shortening onboarding to improve ELTV

Whether onboarding people in person or remotely, making sure employees have the knowledge to start contributing sooner is pivotal to driving employee satisfaction. According to Bamboo HR, employees who felt their onboarding was highly effective were 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organization.

A lot of times onboarding is hyper-focused on administration i.e. making sure an employee has access to the tools that they need and that they are set up in the correct systems, however, there are several other factors such as employee connectedness and overall internal knowledge that are often overlooked.

The information that directories make readily available has a huge impact on onboarding. Most significantly, directories can accelerate the onboarding process by doing the following:

  • Providing critical internal knowledge like who does what and who reports to whom
  • Revealing common interests, languages spoken, educational background, etc.
  • Displaying shared communities like employee resource groups (ERGs)/interest groups

Sift accelerates onboarding and helps ramp up new employees faster by providing them with easy access to critical internal knowledge like who does what, who reports to whom, and who has the skills and expertise to help with problems and projects. All of these things help in not only shortening onboarding but helping build culture.

In developing the employee experience to meet the challenges of 2021, think about how you’re affecting ELTV and the tools you’re using to do so.

To learn more about what value a modern people directory would bring to your organization, check out our data report on modern people directory usage.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Sift’s Blog in June 2021.

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