Integrated talent management suites “support multiple strategic human resources applications on a unified platform to enable integrated talent practices,” says Leighanne Levensaler, director of talent management research at Bersin & Associates. “The common environment facilitates better communication, alignment, planning and decision-making through consolidated talent information and more effective service delivery for end users.” The applications and functional capabilities supported by a talent management suite will vary significantly depending on the solution provider's heritage and progress on their product roadmap, according to Levensaler.
A comprehensive talent management suite includes support for such core applications as workforce planning, recruitment management, performance management, career and succession management, learning management and compensation management. In addition, suites support new practices that require a greater focus on integration, such as workforce planning and career management and pay for performance.
On the surface, such applications might seem to be of little use to companies now, when hiring in many companies has come to a standstill, and rather than focusing on grooming successors or planning incentive pay programs, many companies are downsizing and freezing salaries. Amid net job losses in the U.S. totaling some 5.1 million in 2008 and the first three months of 2009, hiring also would appear to be a low priority.
But those payroll employment figures mask the fact that the U.S. economy is full of churn even in the downturn, says Al Campa, chief marketing officer for talent management software firm Taleo. Federal data show that in January there were 4.9 million separations, including quits, layoffs, discharges and retirements. But there also were 4.5 million hires that month.
Taleo said that in the fourth quarter of 2008, a record 27 new customers signed up for its “enterprise” recruiting software—that is, its hiring application designed for large organizations. Taleo, one of the largest recruiting application vendors and a seller of performance management software, says it now has signed deals with more than 660 organizations for its enterprise software.
Wise companies are using the downturn to do such things as improve their career site, says Larry Kleinman, head of the global talent management practice at Kenexa. A beefed-up jobs site and better candidate assessments will give firms a head start when the economy begins to recover, says Kleinman, whose company provides recruiting software and a variety of assessments including skills testing.
“If you’re smart, you’re really preparing for a year, a year and a half from now,” he says.
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