Building a seamless talent structure

by 03 Dec 2009

Q. We recognise the value of integrated talent management but are having some challenges in executing the vision. What guidelines can you suggest to successfully transform this strategy, into a technology-based solution?

Let’s begin with a clear definition that will assist in selecting a suitable solution. I can say that integrated talent management is not a payroll system with some HR forms, it is not a Recruitment system and it is not a Performance Appraisal system. It could be an HRIS, but not by default. Technically, it’s a framework of tightly integrated HR processes that assist in making informed decisions which support your strategic objective as an organisation to be profitable and successful.

If you are starting fresh, avoid single- module solutions offering out-of–the-box implementations and slick interfaces. Their lack of integrated modules can introduce functional and technical issues that could get in the way of your strategic decisions. With this in mind, consider the holistic approach. Look for a secure, single-platform, workflow- driven system. It should be user-friendly, leveraging a single data source and include all the core HR modules with robust yet flexible reporting layers. But, most importantly, it should have a place to define your central framework.

It’s this central framework that enables the exchange of talent supply with business demand. This is the currency between capabilities and needs, and integrates all the HR modules. As an organisation you will need to develop meaningful and standard definitions of competencies, behaviours, and skills required throughout the organisation and relate those to a unit of demand such as a person, position, job, projects and training.

Once this framework is defined, you can then move onto mapping the various strategies processes and operational designs that will translate into your requirements document.

These include identifying your current and planned strategies for sourcing, recruiting, onboarding and aligning people with capabilities that match the business needs and verifying that people’s capabilities are understood, measured and developed, while meeting people’s needs for motivation, reward and progression. Finally, you need to define your reporting requirements that will drive planning, analysis and decision-making.

In all this, focus on results, define roles and responsibilities and look for quick wins to the business.

One thing to consider is that your strategies must be flexible enough to address employee age, culture and personalities, globalisation, industry consolidation and, the near perfect communication and connectivity that social software delivers.

Finally, rolling out a technology based talent management program is an evolving process requiring planning, commitment and realistic expectations. Plan for a for one-to-two-year journey. To ensure success you need to also tackle the cultural challenges and address change management. Allocate at least 30 per cent of your project resources to change management and training. Begin by branding the strategy, with the goal of increasing awareness and ownership. Once talent management is accepted as a strategic enabler to the individual, engagement will increase and results will accelerate.

Although the value proposition of an integrated talent management strategy is quite compelling, many organisations still struggle with silos of HR processes and technologies. A holistic view powered by an integrated Talent Management system will empower your business with insight, agility, and efficiency, essential for success in today’s challenging landscape.

By Ari Kopolous, national sales and marketing manager, Employee Connect