The Role of Talent Management Systems in Building Work Environments

TJ Fjelseth, CHRO, Equian

TJ Fjelseth, CHRO, Equian

Many companies today are moving away from employing a workforce tied to brick-and-mortar offices, and are instead engaging, informing and employing their human capital in a virtual office setting. Telecommuting and virtual work relationships have garnered more interest from HR teams and leaders in the past few years than it had in the decades that preceded it. This presents a shift in work culture in many organizations and in the philosophy of HR management.  

HR teams have often excelled in defining the skills and attributes needed of candidates based on the requirements of a specific position in their company. What HR teams have more recently missed is the opportunity to paint a picture of their company that speaks of versatility and a growth-conducive, virtual work environment. Today’s candidates, perhaps more than ever before, look for companies that function as buoys or jumping off points for their career growth. Today’s candidates look for organizations where they can invest their time and efforts and experience a strong employment value proposition (EVP). Leading-edge human capital technologies offer smart and efficient talent management suites (TMS) that give HR leaders the ability to offer a strengthened EVP for employees while also offering new insights to employee engagement, performance, and retention.

"From a technology standpoint, companies that leverage TMS automation and analytics will gain key insights about their culture and their workforce in order to have the winning edge in organizational performance"

Around the world, there is a marked increase in the need for human capital analytics to be incorporated with other key business performance indicators (KPI). Talent is the scarce resource that an HR leader – who now also serves as an economist — must allocate with the business’ performance goals in mind. Human resources teams and their CHROs are required to be up-to-date on the KPIs of the organization and to correlate these metrics in terms of workforce and human capital investments. The task is to provide organizations the ability to assess and improve bottom-line performance, while keeping in mind the human element. This requires today’s CHROs to speak the business’ language, to understand the performance metrics of the business, to understand the nuances of organization’s human resources, and bring these elements for meaningful, strategic decisions.

Correlations in these types of data, which are often hidden from view, can bring about astounding insights. For example, the cause of a company’s poor performance in one realm may exist hidden in a seemingly unrelated realm such as a relationship between past-due payments for nursing care and low engagement / high-turnover among patient care staff. From a technology standpoint, companies that are utilize analytics within their talent management systems are beginning to win the day. Open ended dashboards that bring together the business KPIs and human capital data into one environment are enabling better human capital management.

Organizations that make the investments needed to deploy these comprehensive talent management technologies can are a step ahead of their competitors by building work cultures that people are attracted to and want to join. After all, which would you prefer, constantly looking for the right candidates to fill open jobs or having top candidates show up on your doorstep ready to convince you that you should hire them! Technology savvy HR departments can be laser-focused on and ready to respond to changes in the work environment that impact employee views of the organization’s EVP and their likelihood to remain with the organization. Being responsive to these work environment factors allow the organization to protect their culture and to retain top talent.

Strategic human capital leadership is strongly influenced by and built on a foundation of data, mixed with the CHRO’s insights to business objectives, market conditions, emerging trends in employee performance and a dose of courage to “say it like it is.” Predictive analysis is showing great promise in talent management systems, particularly with their ability to capture disparate data and build insights which are meaningful for the HR team. When mixed with the wisdom and courage of an experienced CHRO, it’s a game-changer. For example, predictive analytics tools that use specific data elements, such as length of commute to office, performance reviews, and merit increases can increase the speed and accuracy in targeting individuals who represent a high flight-risk factor to the organization. Technology-enabled HR teams that shift their attention and energy to trend-spotting, decision making and action-taking will experience greater success.

Nevertheless, talent management systems still have room to evolve. One such aspect is in developing a compelling performance management approach where real time information about each individual’s goals, aspirations, and performance objectives is captured along with actual results. This presents an opportunity for TMS vendors to develop a simple mechanism of capturing key information in regular conversations between individuals and their manager and then streaming that data into a performance analytics engine. Such a module must add value to the performance management process, overcoming the mundane task of filling out appraisal forms on an annual basis.  

Another area where TMS designers must catch up is in the use of online employment portals that confound candidates with non-intuitive navigation paths, overly-detailed applications, and unfriendly verbiage.  Younger members of today’s workforce, who are extremely comfortable with self-service, often find these employment portals to be off-putting and will quickly take their employer shopping elsewhere.  

HR teams that are intent to add strategic value must deploy robust TMS automation to free up time normally spent on high-frequency, low-value tasks, in order to have the time needed to spot emerging trends and to develop meaningful solutions.  The right talent management solution can eliminate many instances of inefficiency and drive greater results by the HR team, through strategic, data driven decisions.

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