The current state and future possibilities of talent management

Name of Publication: HRM

We look at the ways talent management in Asia-Pacific is being enhanced through targeted technology and software applications.

In this age of volatile business conditions, and ever-present disruption for every industry, talent has become the most important differentiator among competitors.

Having the best people and skills on board is now the difference between success and failure, and organisations are scrambling to ensure they are offering great jobs that reward, and motivate that talent to stay.

But this is not just a recruiting problem. And it’s not just a retention issue either. This is a talent management challenge that demands employers and HR consider every point in the employee lifecycle to give each member of the workforce.

There’s no doubt technology can be a great help in this endeavour. But it’s important to apply the same logic to any software system, because HR leaders need much more than just a recruitment-focused package or a performance management system.

The most effective talent management software solutions have multiple units, seamlessly integrated, to ensure end-to-end coverage of all employees, all the time, and at every point in their journey with the organisation.

Preparing for change

This end-to-end requirement makes talent management software a particularly challenging investment area for many HR leaders.

Experts advise that whatever services the team has access to, it is important to leverage them to the fullest possible extent.

This could mean adjusting, or overhauling, organisational culture and processes to enhance the employee experience in line with the technology available.

“Talent management technology needs to be adopted in conjunction with a change management plan to provide readiness and buy-in to transform the organisation alongside the tool,” says Vikrant Khanna, Asia Lead, HR Transformation and Cloud Advisory Services with Alight Solutions, which is a key partner of global HR technology giant Cornerstone.

In order to get the most out of a comprehensive talent management tool, Khanna says organisations need to first design a culture of learning.

“Companies spend billions on corporate learning each year, but their efforts often have little or no impact due to lack of resources, minimal dedicated employee time, and inefficient processes,” he says.

“In order to succeed, they need to inspire their employees to take control of their learning and career development, and implement it in a way that is part of their employee’s daily work flow.”

Russell Porter, HR Strategy Advisor with SAP SuccessFactors, agrees. He says many HR leaders may not be used to taking such full ownership of a solution like this, but it is vital that this department is the one to lead the change.

“Most IT departments are used to owning and running projects, and often become the stewards of business transformation initiatives,” he says.

“While it’s important for IT to be on board and intimately involved, it’s critical that HR takes the reins – projects without HR ownership risk being seen as technology upgrades, not strategic transformations.”

The buy-in roadblock

Having this level of planning before implementing a complete talent management solution will go a long way toward overcoming the next most important challenge: winning the buy-in and support of the senior leadership and the organisation as a whole.

Porter advises HR leaders to identify key stakeholders, and then understand each of their expectations from HR and the project.

The goal is to educate and inform them about the benefits of the project “well in advance of any funding request”.

“Stakeholders in the organisation may include the CEO, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Information Officer, and any other groups or individuals that have direct or indirect influence on the approval for the HR project,” he says.

“Typically, they are part of a steering committee or board that provides project funding.”

Porter urges HR leaders to spell out the particular “value case” for the project. “(This) is not the same as a business case.

It demonstrates how the HR project will contribute to organisational objectives, satisfy the needs of key stakeholders, and meet financial objectives.”

Coming up in talent management software

The talent management solutions market is always evolving, particularly as providers like Cornerstone and SAP SuccessFactors find ways to integrate different specialist functionalities into their end-to-end systems.

Khanna says there are some exciting new tools for improving learning and learning management in particular.

“Cornerstone’s learning experience platforms are driving new learning cultures across businesses,” he says. “The tool mirrors personalised consumer platforms like Netflix to provide users with artificial-intelligence-powered just-in-time content to any device, anywhere and at any time.”

On performance reviews, Cornerstone also has some new developments that are helping businesses streamline their operations.

“Functionality within the tool includes manager and peer-to-peer feedback, collaboration, and ‘badging’ tools. Managers can have a toolbox of assets to support their teams through social, collaborative, and formal feedback processes,” Khanna says.

Of course, the biggest improvement in recent years, has been the rapid uptake of cloud technology, combined with the saturation of mobile devices.

Almost every talent management tool will now have mobile functionality for both administrators and the end-users (employees) – and this is something that has been driven by demand in this part of the world.

“In many ways, Asia has been a ‘mobile first’ market,” Khanna says. “Processes on mobile are helping drive faster transactions and rapid adoption, and are truly making things easier and more personalised for employees.”

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