Could Employee Data Portability be the Future of Employment?

Do you remember when cell phones first came out? If you were with Verizon and you wanted to switch to Sprint, you actually had to change phone numbers! Think about how that would impact your world today. We switch from company to company, go-between social apps all day long, never worrying that our “profile” our data, won’t follow us.

In the mid-2000s the FCC finally made the determination that we should be able to move our phone number from one carrier to the next. Our phone number was part of our personal data. It’s how people recognized us.

Now, think about how our jobs are similar to our phone number, in terms of data.

You go and work at company A. You do a great job. You want to use that great work to get a new job at company B, but company A is restricted from telling company B anything about you, besides maybe some dates of employment.

What if we had a full digital file of everything we did at company A. Our performance records. Our training and development records. Maybe even records of peer reviews, etc. Exactly which jobs you held and what you did.

Do you think that would help you get that next job?

For most, it would help a bunch. If you sucked it might hurt your chances, but hey, you sucked, get better at your current job and turn it around!

Workday has been working on making employee data portable between Workday customers. That is close, and it’s definitely a step in the right direction, but so far you can’t take your Workday record and take it to a competitor HCM solution like Oracle or SAP. But, if you worked at three Workday HCM shops in a row, theoretically they are putting into place the ability for you to make your employment data portable.

That’s really cool! Because one of the biggest issues we face as candidates and as employers is truly knowing what someone has done previously, and letting a potential future employee know what we have actually done. Unfortunately, way too many people flat out lie on their resume/application/LinkedIn profile, that it’s hard to take any of those things as concrete proof of work.

I actually really like the idea of employee data portability. We allow employees to have a copy of their employee file, but so often, there isn’t really any substance in those files to help an employee get their next job. I also, get that if you had a negative job experience, you might not want that, but let’s face it, most people have some negative job experiences along the way, and I think all of that would come out in the wash.

We are the collective of our experiences, not just our most recent experience. As a hiring manager, I’m looking for trends and growth, understanding an individual might have made a bad job choice that didn’t fit well, and that might pop out. But, I also like the fact that if someone is truly a bad apple, that will also pop out.

We are all quickly becoming portable data sets. Facebook, Instagram, Snap, TikTok, Twitter, etc. already know this. Most consumer marketing pros already know this. Employer technology tends to lag behind, but I think we are all headed down a path where one day getting hired will be less about your resume or profile, and more about your complete data set you can show an employer with a simple click.

5 thoughts on “Could Employee Data Portability be the Future of Employment?

  1. Individuals can and should do this for themselves. Catalog or spreadsheet your accomplishments and make PDF file of the evidence (bonuses, performance appraisals, atta-boys/girls, etc.) Could they be just more exaggerations or lies, sure, but if there are documents with email addresses, signatures, etc. to substantiate, it could be very helpful when pursuing your next career opportunity.

  2. I love this idea but fear it would only work for corporate. It would save me, as a candidate, a huge amount of time, while also showcasing my work. However, I generally work for startups, and employee data doesn’t really exist.
    How would this trickle down to be adopted by startups and SMBs?

  3. To use their WorkDay ‘profile’ to complete the application? Sure
    To use it to populate their onboarding forms? Sure
    To give a random hiring manager access to your history like that? Nope. For a variety of major reasons.

    Here’s one. Give it a year and we’ll see this written on job descriptions:
    *Must have have previously worked at a company with WorkDay.

    • The example was just that, using Workday. I’m not advocating you must work at a WD company to apply. It’s the idea of being able to have one employment record you can take with you forever.

      • fully agree, i’m thinking of HR/Hiring managers down the road.. able to see the full history of one candidate, but not another. Simply because of where they worked in the past.

        Knowing the way that we misuse and overvalue volume of information vs quality of information – we could expect to see hiring managers and first round screeners showing a strong preference towards applicants coming from other WD employers and the more robust work history that is shown.

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