Talent (Human Capital) Management and Sports? Sign Me Up, Please! - Part 2

Part 1 of this blog post introduced some mixed feelings and doubts that we might still have about the noble concepts of talent management and human capital management (HCM). This skepticism lingers in spite of the many indicators of the usefulness of these concepts in mitigating some imminent global workforce challenges, which were outlined in Part 1.

Accommodating "Generation Y"

Let us not forget about the looming demographic shifts, given that the baby boomers are on their way out. One group that has been receiving a lot of attention is the so-called Generation Y: the group mostly in their 20s that has recently entered or is about to enter the workforce. These dudes and dudettes haven’t just adopted the use of the Internet – they have grown up with it, and they rely (live and breathe) on it.

A key characteristic of basically all Gen Y candidates today (which might belong to earlier generations, like the Gen X) is that they are keen consumers of Internet technology. They are accustomed to using websites such as Amazon.com, Google, Facebook, Ask, LinkedIn, Twitter, Travelocity, and eBay (to name but a few), often on a daily basis, to buy what they want, go where they want, stay in touch with their friends and family, get their work done, and do it all and more with ease.

So, when it comes to looking for a job, they transfer their job-seeking experience to the corporate brand, and they draw on their consumer web experiences to set their expectations for their online job seeking experience. There are a number of characteristics associated with a technologically savvy generation of job seekers.  These characteristics include:

  • The ability to do job hunting, in a 24x7x365 manner;

  • Expectations of instantaneous responses coupled with a short attention span ("That was so yesterday!");

  • Desire for immediate feedback and rapid results (“Dude, where is my offer/promotion?”);

  • Demands for flexibility (often to be able to work in pajamas and sleepers, or at least to bring their pet iguanas to work);

  • Assumed free exchange of information/access to more information for decisions (e.g., “A mate just sent another job opportunity via Facebook to my iPhone.”);

  • Tendency to migrate towards better opportunity and growth (vs. loyalty); and

  • The attitude to move back with parents and volunteer for a “higher cause” than to work for a jerk.

It is thus small wonder that recruiters are increasingly use LinkedIn and Facebook in their efforts, while talent management software providers begin to offer the integration to these social networking sites as a matter of course.

Talent Management and HCM Defined (Sort of)

The phenomena and factors outlined both here and in Part 1, coupled with every company’s need to align people directly with corporate goals, are forcing human resource (HR) departments to evolve from policy creation, cost reduction, process efficiency, and risk management (i.e., all those “paper and pencil pushing”) tasks to driving a new talent growing mindset in the organization. One important distinction is the evolution of the difference between tactical and administrative HR and strategic talent and human capital management.

In a nutshell, transactional HR activities are administrative overhead, whereas talent management is a continuous process that should deliver the optimal workforce for the company’s business. In this new model, instead of being the owners of mundane processes, forms, and compliance, the HR staff should transform into the strategic enablers of talent management processes that empower managers and employees while creating business value.

First of all, there is confusion about whether HCM and talent management are the same thing, or perhaps one area is bigger and broader than the other. I, for one, personally tend to believe that HCM is the broader concept that includes both the administrative HR & payroll functions and talent management as the strategic component. However, as it typically happens in this industry, the talent management’s scope of applications (that are needed to support HCM processes designed to manage a company's greatest asset, i.e., people) is defined differently by industry analysts and consultants.

Still, most define talent management to include the following: recruitment, performance management, competency management, succession management, career development, and incentive and compensation management (ICM). Other talent management modules can include: workforce planning, learning management systems(LMS), as well as workforce analytics, portals, and dashboards.

Talent Management Software Examples

As an illustrative example, Taleo’s on-demand talent management applications suite currently comprises solutions for companies to assess (including workforce planning and analytics), acquire (i.e., source, select, and onboard), develop (i.e., manage performance, manage career, and plan succession), and align their workforce for improved business performance (via goals management, internal mobility, and reporting).

As another example, the Authoria Talent Management  suite is also an integrated, on-demand solution that addresses the strategic talent management lifecycle, from hiring through compensation, performance, benefits communication, and succession planning. Also,  by delivering role-based dashboards with analytics and workflow tools, the vendor aims to help managers improve business performance through better people performance. Authoria’s “plan-attract-review-reward-develop wheel” of applications involves the following modules:

  • Authoria Recruiting drives the hiring of top talent;

  • Authoria Performance aligns employee actions to company goals and captures performance against competencies.  Managers are given coaching in-context to ensure standardized, best practice performance appraisals. Besides coaching, the competency support enriches the entire talent management lifecycle;

  • Authoria Compensation comprises Authoria Incentive, which automates incentive compensation, and Authoria Salary, which improves accuracy, auditability and cycle times of compensation management; and

  • Authoria Development & Succession leverages performance data to identify and develop top talent.

Let me for example flesh out the succession planning and employee-development module capabilities that allow line-of-business (LoB) managers and human resource (HR) professionals to assess bench strength, and fill critical roles with high-potential, top-performing employees. This latest functionality, which Authoria showcasing at the recent HR Technology Conference & Exposition, empowers LoB managers and HR professionals with:

  • Talent Pools – Whereby employees with high-leadership potential can be identified for critical roles, since managers and HR professionals have access to performance, education, work history, and other relevant information on potential successors;

  • Succession Slates – Can be developed and maintained to readily identify high-potential employees to fill key roles;

  • Succession Organization Chart – The availability and readiness of successors to key positions can be viewed directly from actionable org charts; and

  • Bench Strength, Bench Health, Diversity, and Utilization Analytics – So that managers and HR professionals can view the slate of potential successors, and evaluate the readiness and flight risk of those people.

As the underlying technologies, Authoria’s role-based dashboards allow managers and employees to access reports and track workflow. The dashboards serve as a common starting point for a consistent and integrated approach to all aspects of talent management. Finally, Authoria Communications, the company’s original product, provides personalized benefits and policy communications to employees, with the idea of reducing costs and improving value.

Similar definitions and portfolios of talent management applications would come from Halogen Software, Kenexa, Lawson Software, SucessFactors, Oracle PeopleSoft HCM, Ramco Systems, Softscape, Workscape, Kronos, and so on. In the recently unveiled “Integrated Talent Management Practices Study” by IBM Global Services and the Human Capital Institute (HCI), the survey was based on the following six talent management dimensions:

  1. Develop Strategy -- Establishing the optimal long-term strategy for attracting, developing, connecting and deploying the workforce;

  2. Attract and Retain -- Sourcing, recruiting and holding onto the appropriate skills and capabilities according to business needs;

  3. Motivate and Develop -- Ensuring that people's capabilities are understood and developed to match business requirements, while also meeting people's needs for motivation, development and job satisfaction;

  4. Deploy and Manage -- Providing effective resource deployment, scheduling and work management that matches skills and experience with organizational needs;

  5. Connect and Enable -- Identifying individuals with relevant skills, collaborating and sharing knowledge, and working effectively in virtual setting; and

  6. Transform and Sustain -- Achieving clear, measurable and sustainable change within the organization, while maintaining the day-to-day continuity of operations.

Finally, there are the HCM and talent management definitions from Wikipedia.

Part 3 of this blog post will analyze how integrated talent management suite can help HR departments that are currently in distress, and finally explain my buying into the talent management concept via some major league sports examples. In the meantime, please feel free send me your comments, opinions, etc. I would certainly be interested in your personal work experiences as an employee or employers, as well as with leveraging this emerging software category per se.
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