Keeping up with HR jargon: Talent Management Systems

October 14, 2020 Mark Debono

HR software is now considered a strategic buy for companies who are transforming their (traditional paper-based) operations to digital, supporting their HR teams and enabling them to make better strategic decisions when it comes to managing people. As the tools change, so does the language, and new acronyms are creeping in. With the language of HR changing, we’ve created a series of blog posts to help explain the most common new forms of software, what they do and their benefits. This post explores the role of Talent Management System

What is a talent management system?

Talent management in general focuses on the management of people within a company and bringing the best possible value from employees. It’s the part of HR that is the most business oriented, and as such, the business has high expectations for its success. It’s no surprise then that most talent management activities directly link with the business’ goals – and if you want to know more about aligning your HR and business goals you can read Survitec’s story here. They involve (but are not limited to): the hiring, onboarding and development of employees; connecting employees and driving collaboration; managing performance, career development and succession plans; providing learning and retraining to employees and performing employee assessments, appraisals and compensation management.

Talent management systems aim to make these talent management tasks more unified and integrated. Typically, they integrate key areas of talent management by using software to simplify and create one hub for recruiting, onboarding, performance and goal management, learning management, compensation and salary planning, career development and succession planning. They also reduce the admin time required from HR teams, and make talent management smarter through data, providing reporting, analytics and machine learning on topics such as goal management, performance management, talent pools, employee engagement, candidate management and more – all through one HR portal.

Since talent management is centred on employees, talent management systems also provide a holistic view of employees and anticipate the future talent and skills needs across the organisation. Consequently, HR people in charge of talent management (often known as HR development managers, or HR business partners) are aided by talent management systems to offer advice and answer questions on a range of topics including: “How can I ensure my recruiting attracts the best candidates?”; “Does my onboarding contribute to higher retention?”; and “Do my managers have regular conversations with their teams?”

Talent management systems are, of course, used by employees too – not just HR – and so it’s important that they are user-friendly. To be successful, any talent management software being implemented should have an excellent user experience, be accessible through mobile devices – not just desktop – and be fast. Companies should also think about elements that employees might be used to in their everyday tech interactions, like chatbots and recommendations through predictive analytics, which could further improve the talent experience.

So, what are the benefits of implementing a talent management system? If companies choose well and integrate a successful system, they can expect benefits such as:

Attracting top talent: Recruiting systems will be simpler and more efficient for recruiters and candidates alike, improving employer branding and reducing time-to-hire.

Boosted employee motivation and engagement: Management will have a better means of identifying learning needs among staff and supporting their career progression – ensuring employees have greater job satisfaction and support. Management can also determine the best internal employees for leadership roles and ensure they are on track for those positions.

Lowered risk of skills gaps: With a holistic view of employees, HR will be able to see where the company is at risk of having skills gaps, where employees need to bolster their skills to avoid gaps, and what kind of people may be best to hire to avoid talent shortages altogether.

Improved talent retention: From an excellent hiring process, to slick onboarding, to seamless employee management – a good talent management system makes for a great employee experience and can improve retention. This also lowers costs associated with employee turnover and hiring.

Greater business performance and client satisfaction: More engaged employees perform better, and better performing people keep clients happy and improve business performance.

Improved HR processes: For talent management to be strategic, HR processes like onboarding, performance management, etc. must run smoothly. In addition, the talent management system has to include the most modern methods to engage employees: AI-based recommendations in training and succession, transparent mobility, ongoing performance reviews with regular conversations and social feedback. This optimises processes making them more efficient and effective.

Watch Drax Group’s story for a real-life example of how a talent management system has helped to unite global employees as one team, engaged employees to push through digital transformation and ensured the right talent for the future.

Who uses a talent management system?

Talent management systems are used by any company that wants to better engage their employees. Since many companies invest in people (starting with their salaries), it makes sense for companies to also invest in a talent-centric approach that can bring consistency and broader benefits than a bigger pay cheque can.

Used properly, these systems can bring many benefits to management, HR, and employees generally, such as better talent attraction and retention, improved goal management, fewer empty job roles, better business performance and more. All of these groups also feel the benefit of how the software-based system can tie together formerly disparate systems into one HR portal – creating a single hub for people management.

So, we go back to the same categories of users as for HCM or LMS:

The employees themselves need talent management software to access the required learning in their progression plans, share knowledge with each other, apply to open positions internally, give feedback on their peers and more. With so many of the talent management system’s benefits affecting this group, it’s important that they have simple, convenient, user-friendly, and mobile-ready access to the system at all times.

Managers need talent management system access so that they can have a clear overview of their team, evaluate people’s performance, give feedback to others, assign training courses and more.

The HR team needs an efficient system that gives them a comprehensive view of skills and competencies across the entire organisation, an ability to plan global activities (training, performance reviews and more), a means to anticipate and plan for skills gaps, and a way to manage the future workforce and recruitment for it.

The C-suite uses talent management systems to have a consolidated view of all the company’s employees, to perform advanced searches of people within the organisation and their abilities (e.g. who has the best competencies to manage a new project?), and to plan a global talent strategy for the company.

External partners, resellers and clients may also use a company’s talent management system in order to access particular information and to communicate with the organisation (for example, to be trained on new products or give feedback).

As is clear, talent management systems can be used in many different ways and by many different groups within the organisation. From a strategic standpoint, HR and recruiting teams will use it the most, alongside management teams, but every employee within an organisation will end up feeling the benefits from it. It’s important, however, for those buying talent management software to conduct a proper assessment before investing in it to ensure they’re looking for the best possible system for their organisation’s needs. Strategic HR is a competitive market and new companies are popping up every day to help companies in the war for talent and employee engagement – so research is critical to make sure your company doesn’t end up with something unsuitable.

 A talent management system is also the best way for HR to measure the impact of its workforce on the business. Through advanced analytics tools, organisations are able to have accurate data and metrics on their employees. Success measures can be HR-centric (for example, figures around retention, employee happiness, recommendations, compliance risk reduction, etc.) but also business-centric (for example, being able to benchmark talent performance against other companies and being able to build a competency-based project team).

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, why not read our other posts in this series, on LMS (Learning Management Systems), ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and HCM (Human Capital Management). And if you would like to find out more about how you can help progress on your own digital transformation journey, take a look at our resources here.

About the Author

Mark Debono

Area Vice President at Cornerstone OnDemand

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