Where’s the Beef in Talent Management Technology?

By Posted in - Talent Management on December 21st, 2010 0 Comments

Talent management technology is great for solving efficiency problems and honestly this is where many companies want their technology focus.  Let’s automate performance management and get rid of all the paper … let’s automate the tracking of candidates for open positions and get rid of all the manual actions … let’s generate automated talent profiles on our current employees and consolidate the information we have stored about them.  That is all well and good … and there is real value in bringing greater efficiencies to core talent management processes.

However, while these solution platforms have contributed substantial efficiency gains through process automation, there is reason to question whether they also have made contributions to increasing talent management effectiveness.  Talent management effectiveness answers more difficult questions such as:

– Okay, I can efficiently handle candidate workflow for open positions but … hmm … can I confidently say I am making the best hiring decisions?

– I have automated my performance management process but … hmm … can I confidently say who my best performers are in terms of results and competencies?

– I have consolidated my talent information but … hmm … is any of the information actually predictive of future success?

The current state of talent management technology reminds me of the old burger commercial where the consumer laments “Where’s the Beef?”  There are four components (types of beef) necessary to move talent management technology from “efficiency” to “effectiveness”:

1.  A unified talent management platform – Companies have to move away from buying single point best of breed solutions … one vendor for performance management, another for applicant tracking, and another for internal talent reviews.  Unified platforms have the advantage of having all relevant data in a single data base.  Talent management platform purchases should be based on who provides the best overall ROI across all talent management processes.

2.  Reliable, predictive measurements – You cannot manage what you cannot measure.  In order to improve talent management effectiveness, you need to populate the unified system of record with predictive and reliable talent measurements related to successful performance.  Sadly, the concentration on process automation has neglected generating the talent measurements needed for effective talent decision-making.

3.  Well-designed reporting analytics – Once a unified talent system of record has been populated with proven measures, it is critical to leverage those measurements through thoughtfully designed analytics that drive and inform the talent decisions made by managers.  Effective talent management requires going beyond automated processes to presenting line managers with reliable information in a format that supports evidence based decision-making.  On demand reporting should help managers answer the four basic talent decisions that need to be made for any pivotal talent pool:

– Who are my top performers both in terms of results achieved and how those results were achieved?

– Where do I focus individual and group development efforts to maximize ROI?

– Which of my top performers also possess high advancement potential and where should I focus their career development efforts?

– Which of the high performing high potentials are ready now for a higher level of responsibility?

4.  Complete competency models (content) – Competency models are the glue for integrating talent management processes.  They provide a common language for defining success in all positions.  Competency models should include definitions, key behaviors, performance standards, interview questions, and developmental suggestions.  Technology providers rarely provide pre-populated competency models.  Instead they offer third party models for an additional fee.

Given the lack of these key components in most technology platforms, it is legitimate to ask the technology vendors, “Where is the Beef?”

Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

About Patrick Hauenstein, Ph.D.

Patrick Hauenstein is the President and Chief Science Officer for OMNIview. During his free time Pat likes to cook. He is particularly fond of traditional southern cuisine. Pat is also an animal lover ...
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