Talent intelligence: Know your people. Grow your business

by 09 Sep 2010

Employers must ask their staff the right questions in order to bridge the talent intelligence gap, says Lynne Salmon, senior marketing manager at Taleo

For any business to be successful in today’s economy, it is imperative that its talent management strategies align with its key business objectives, and are designed to keep the workforce motivated and engaged.

However, many companies struggle to link their talent management strategies to their business objectives, and the cost of that intelligence gap is substantial.

Up to 70 per cent of an organisation’s value is based upon the skills and experiences of its employees, and yet for most businesses there is simply a lack of visibility into how well the company’s highly trained and expertly skilled assets are being managed. For example, in the private sector most businesses know more about their PCs than they do about the people that use them.

LinkedIn and Facebook may offer more information about a company’s engineering staff than their HR technology systems have today. According to AMR Research, enterprises around the world are spending $100bn on Enterprise Resource Planning, supply chain and CRM systems while they are only spending $2bn on managing their most innovative asset; their people

If companies had the same visibility into their people as they do into their financials, supply chain or sales forecast, they’d have greater opportunities for optimising investments in their people that would directly impact the business. We call this the Talent Intelligence Gap and Taleo has built its entire talent management suite to deliver these kinds of analytics

A Taleo survey conducted earlier this year of 100 senior managers from Australia’s largest companies found that most businesses simply don’t know enough about their people, particularly in the post-GFC environment. They lack the analytics or insights that HR professionals need to meet their executive’s expectations of the HR function, and need to do more to correlate a talent management strategy to hard dollar business performance.

Of those 100 senior managers surveyed, 80 per cent want data on succession bench strength, but only 29 per cent have access to reliable data on it. Ninety-eight per cent said data on risk of loss of critical employees is important, but only 37 per cent have access to data that is reliable. Similarly, 88 per cent wanted data on top performers by division but only 26 per cent knew whether those top performers were on a career path.

Put simply, the majority of HR executives are not receiving access to talent data that is important to them.

In order to build talent intelligence within the enterprise, Taleo recommends building talent profiles using the most important talent data – including:

• An employee’s experience, skills and competencies. For example, are they specialist in the area the company works within, have they worked on large scale projects in the past and do they have client interaction / project management experience that best fits the role?

• An employee’s career ambitions. For example – do they aspire to career advancement locally, or running international projects? It is critical to align development plans and identify succession candidates.

• Employee performance ratings to ensure high performers are identified and retained.

• Performance information that identifies future leadership potential to fill the leadership pipeline.

• Critical skill sets that are at risk or the gaps in existing skills sets across the organisation.

Meaningful employee talent intelligence cannot be collected as an after- thought or as a separate process. It must be captured as part of the talent management process and be supported by HR data that is easy to access, easy to use and valuable to the business.

To read The Great Debate on Talent Management see the next issue of HR Leader magazine - hitting desks 14 September.

For more information on how your business can improve its approach to talent intelligence, please visit www.taleo.com.au or call (02) 9356 1900