Reimagining Talent Management and Technology in 2011
April 05, 2011

When I entered the human capital management space over a decade ago, the Internet had just started to transform the way companies recruit, hire and manage their workforces. Since then the technological transformations have been astounding: Social media, mobile devices and cloud computing are just a few. And although every talent acquisition and talent management system available today is about getting users to the short list of qualified applicants faster and more accurately and managing all the employee life-cycle data faster and more accurately as well, both of these goals are impeded by disparate technology systems and workforce data. Our workforce analytics benchmark research shows that nearly two-thirds of organizations are less than satisfied with the technology they have now, while only 9 percent are very satisfied with it.

Human Resources is responsible for providing the highest quality and most efficient workforce processes to the entire organization, but obviously there’s still a lot of work to be done more than a decade into the 21st century.

We’re here to help. Part of our 2011 agenda for Human Capital Management is to educate organizations on how to eliminate the manager/employee divide by identifying applications that use smartphones and tablet computers to promote workforce mobility and interactivity. We’ll also look at optimizing human capital potential and why utilizing social media for recruiting and evaluating talent is important As well we’ll explore deploying integrated talent management applications and adopting workforce analytics and metrics across the cloud and on-premises. We’ll look at unifying compensation activities into an integrated system, which is critical for the business as a whole; connecting people to improve knowledge sharing across activities via business collaboration systems; and the necessity of dialogue between HR and Finance on the value of the business case for human capital management.

This all goes into what I call talent management reimagined: to acquire, to empower and to retain talent more effectively. This reimagining must include the right talent acquisition and management technology, which can help your organization screen, assess and select the very best talent; manage the inordinate amount of data you now collect to assess, appraise and train those currently in your employ; and in collaboration with Finance and operations, analyze all your workforce data to manage your entire business and retain your top talent.

We can thank five fairly new business technologies for enhancing our ability to do all this: business collaboration, social media, analytics, business mobility and cloud computing. My colleague has identified these five areas as the business technology revolution in 2011 , and all are directly relevant to human capital management. Because they’re so new, we’re still in the early adoption phase for most if not all of them; laggards abound everywhere. However, those of you who are embracing these technologies now across all your lines of business – finance, operations, IT, supply chain, sales and marketing, and every other facet of business today – will be ahead of your competition for at least the next few years.

So please, don’t just sit there and blink.

As I previously pointed out in “Business Collaboration Brings Together People and Technology,” at the heart of this revolution is true business collaboration, which brings together people and technology to increase productivity and performance for competitive advantage. Business today requires us to communicate and collaborate via a variety of tools and services, including email, phone, instant messaging, video chat, the social Big Three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), other online networks, webinars, podcasts, blogs, wikis, the company intranet – and even face to face from time to time. To do this of course we use land lines, cell phones, smartphones, tablet computers, laptop computers, desktop computers, the Internet and the magic of cloud computing. New benchmark research on this topic is forthcoming from us this year, and we’re excited about it.

Social media is the shiniest object in the room, and for good reason. Recruiting, marketing and sales groups have embraced social media to facilitate networking, sourcing, branding and content sharing, but many organizations have been hesitant to allow social media across the enterprise for fear of inappropriate online behavior leading to litigation, network viruses and other risks. But the fact is social media has created new communication channels that allow for transparent collaboration and knowledge sharing, and businesses must find the right ways to use it. Social media still offers quite a few “free” services for organizations, and it’s necessary to begin measuring the return on them and predicting whether they’ll still be around in the coming years, as well as assessing how talent management technologies are incorporating them.

HR must be a better business partner, and workforce analytics can help the department do that. A problem is that employee-cycle HR data is still fairly new compared to more mature business intelligence analytics. In addition many organizations use several disparate HR systems, and pulling together data from all of them can be harder than pulling your own teeth. Our workforce analytics benchmark research reveals that for 77 percent of executives and managers, the performance of the workforce is the most important metric, but spreadsheets are the technology most commonly used for workforce analytics in 62 percent of organizations and it isn’t coincidental that nearly half of organizations (48%) are less than confident in the quality of information that is generated by their analytics. If this information is so important, organizations need tools that can deliver it reliably

You can’t turn around these days without seeing a smartphone, a tablet computer or a netbook in your colleagues’ hands, and this year the market will be flooded with an even wider array of choices. The growth of the global virtual workforce has combined with the diverse ways we work now to drive demand. Social media, collaboration and mobile technologies also are contributing to more demand for real-time communications and data access in every employee’s hand.

We’ve come a long way from software installed on office desktops and LANs to software as a service (SaaS) and cloud computing. The on-premises software market continues to get compressed as more companies move to SaaS and cloud deployments of their HR, talent acquisition and talent management software. But whether an organization wants a public or private cloud implementation, the technology is there and many human capital management vendors can provide all the options for business users with less reliance on IT resources than ever before.  

Human capital management vendors are integrating all of these technologies into their systems, and we’re going to help you evaluate the technology landscape via our Value Indexes and benchmark research. We’ve just launched our latest Total Compensation Management research survey, and what’s coming includes a new Performance Management for Talent Management benchmark as well as research on social media’s influence at the intersection of recruiting, hiring, learning, development and retention, and the business benefits therein. Business collaboration (mentioned above) and mobility for talent management will be other key focuses this year as well.

I’m more excited than I’ve ever been in participating in the interaction of HR supplier and buyer, and I promise to be an objectively honest voice, sometimes acerbic and at others amusingly refreshing (I hope), in the middle of all the traffic and noise.


Team - Ventana Research


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