There’s a disconnect between providers and practitioners on the functionality of talent management platforms.
By Madeline Laurano
The talent management technology landscape has evolved dramatically over the past few years. Leading organizations are rethinking their current strategies and technology options in order to respond to changing economic conditions. For those organizations looking to gain competitive advantage, innovation is at the heart of this transformation.
Yet what exactly does “innovation” mean for today’s talent management market? Are today’s providers trailblazers? Customers do not seem to think so. In a recent study by SharedXpertise (publishers of HRO Today), only 32 percent of practitioners said their talent management technology is innovative. Not surprising, since most providers take a myopic view of their solutions, often looking at competitors for strategic direction rather than customers. In today’s environment, innovation needs to create efficiencies by introducing new business models. To achieve this, innovation needs to be driven by customers. Anything else is marketing hype.
Given this disconnect between provider and customer, many organizations are turning to third-party providers to help meet their needs in recruiting, developing, and retaining talent. Three trends have emerged this year, providing organizations with innovative options that improve efficiencies.
A new look at technology. Historically, organizations relied on
two options for talent management systems technology: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) or “best of breed.” ERPs provided seamless integration, while best-of-breed providers offered deep functionality. More recently, these areas have been merging, as several providers (including Softscape, SuccessFactors, and SilkRoad) now offer both core HR and talent management functionality. Clearly, the market seems to be moving in one direction—toward a fully integrated talent management platform. Yet as these providers grow through acquisition, the actual integration has become a challenge, leaving customers feeling confused and misled.
In response, many organizations are looking outside of technology for scalable, integrated solutions to replace these systems. Salesforce.com has become an obvious option. Its AppExchange offers several recruiting apps that can provide similar functionality to a complete talent acquisition system. The AppExchange offers a cloud computing marketplace where customers can purchase native apps, including solutions by Jobscience and Riptide, to manage sourcing, screening, assessing, hiring, and on-boarding. While it is still too early to predict if Salesforce will gain significant market share in talent management, organizations are certainly considering this alternative.
Competition in social media. With more than 750 million users
on Facebook, 200 million users on Twitter, and 100 million users on LinkedIn, social media continues to revolutionize recruitment and retention. Organizations are not only taking a more active role on these sites but also rethinking traditional tools in favor of more innovative providers. (A few of these providers include Jobmagic, BraveNewTalent, and Zapoint.)
Talent acquisition and learning management are the two areas where “social” is a must-have. The majority of talent acquisition technology providers are looking to integrate with external sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter) to identify and attract talent, while many learning organizations are looking at developing internal networks. In fact, Gartner and McKinsey have both projected that the greatest spend on IT in 2012 will come from internal social networks.
While the ROI is becoming apparent, social media in talent management requires dedication and informed decision making around strategy, integration, and measurement. Many providers advertise strong social solutions but offer little more than marketing hype. Organizations simply looking to broadcast jobs or increase their followers will fail to accomplish the ultimate goal of social media—engagement, communication, and collaboration.
The role of video. Video has become a popular vehicle for
improving talent management strategies. It can enhance resumes, employer branding, job ads, learning programs, career development, and on-boarding programs. Virtual worlds are also attracting attention. Organizations such as Vestas Wind have created virtual worlds to help onboard and train, while companies such as IBM leverage YouTube and Second Life to achieve this goal.
While the role of video is still up for debate in most of these talent management areas, video interviewing has demonstrated its staying power for the obvious benefits in reducing travel costs and time to fill. HireVue, a leading provider in the space, differentiates itself as a true interview management system with assessment-based interviews through a partnership with SHLPrevisor. Rio Tinto, Google, and Dish Network are all examples of companies investing in video interviewing technology.
The landscape for talent management is complex, crowded, and often contradictory. Market consolidation, integration, and fierce competition only exacerbate this problem. Fortunately, organizations have options and are beginning to drive changes. We are
seeing innovation not only from startup providers but also from existing providers who are changing their business models and providing new levels of connectivity and insight.
Madeline Laurano is talent systems practice manager with Korn/Ferry International.