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Successful talent Management

Sean Conrad | April 19, 2013
Best practices for implementing a talent management solution

Perhaps you need a Talent Management solution but aren't sure where to begin to make sure you get the best return on investment.  Begin by answering the question: what do we need to solve?

It may be bigger than you think

The most typical pain points in talent management usually surround performance appraisals - a process often dreaded by managers, subordinates and HR for its high levels of stress, administrative burden and uneven application. But talent management is much larger than just performance management with its accompanying headaches.

In 2011, the UK's CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) published research identifying eight drivers of sustainable organisation performance:  alignment, shared purpose, locus of engagement, assessment and evaluation, balancing short- and long-term horizons, agility and capability-building. Nearly all of them are impacted in a major way by talent management.  Talent management includes goal-alignment, evaluation, performance management, employee development, succession planning, compensation and recruiting.

In short, everything that involves putting the right people in the right positions and equipping them, holding them accountable and rewarding them for doing the right work in the right way.  All or any part of these can be part of a talent management solution.

What is your Talent Management strategy?

Take some time to look at the big picture. Map your current talent management processes to determine how they can best support the drivers of your organisation's performance now and in the future. Although the process of implementing a talent management solution can help you align and institutionalise best practices, automating poor processes is not going to solve your problems, so address these core issues first. Ask yourself what needs to change in your current processes so they help you to:

  • Recruit, develop and retain candidates for leadership and mission-critical positions for now and the future
  • Identify areas with gaps in performance or skills and build or buy talent to fill the gaps
  • Align efforts and performance with organisational priorities, initiatives and goals
  • Help employees know what is expected of them and what they can do to advance in their careers
  • Encourage and reward high performance
  • Address poor performance
  • Support managers in building capabilities and leading their employees
  • Engage and motivate agile employees

Identify requirements

Most likely a number of the things you identified in the previous step can be at least partially addressed through implementing a talent management solution, such as ease of use, consistency, accountability, information sharing and security. From here, you can begin to identify and prioritise system requirements and compare with provider offerings. Some things to consider:

  • How important is the ability to match our current processes rather than introducing new ones?
  • Which processes should be part of the solution?
  • Which processes should integrate with each other and how can the solution facilitate integration?
  • Are separate modules available and can others be purchased later as needed?
  • Can we be assured of data security and privacy - absolutely essential when dealing with employee data - while at the same time being able to share talent information in a way that helps us view and use our human assets effectively organisation-wide? For example, succession planning for critical positions is greatly enhanced when you can build candidate pools from discreetly shared information about high potential employees, their career aspirations, their skills and experience and developmental needs.
  • How do possible solutions support compliance with regulations impacting recruiting and other talent management practices?
  • How well will the system reduce administrative burden and paper records?
  • What kind of training and ongoing support can we expect?
  • What is the projected cost and return on investment?


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