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It’s TALENT WEEK on the HR Tech Europe Blog. This week is dedicated to how to recruit, retain and engage talent. 

There is no such thing as talent management software. That might sound a bold statement but think about it for a moment. The very phrase “talent management” is a nebulous catch-all for a variety of HR activities.

As soon as you lift the lid on the latest TM tech, you find that it’s actually carrying out a number of distinct tasks and processes under the “talent management” banner, including recruitment, onboarding, performance management, learning and development, compensation and reward, succession planning, career management, and even (to stretch the point just a little) social collaboration.

All of these HR functions can be stand-alone activities and carried out by an individual software package. And any tech branded as “talent management” is actually an amalgam of two, three or more of these sets of functionality. In other words, all TM software is integrated to some degree.

So, the question is, how many of these functions are supported by software in your organization, and – bigger question – how well is that software integrated? Does it communicate effectively, share data, and allow for more accurate predictions (let’s not forget that when it comes to analytics, the bigger the data pool, the more accurate the outputs)?

The most recent annual Sierra Cedar HR Systems Survey found that  29% of respondents are currently using an integrated TM suite of software (i.e. three or more of the above functions working together, hopefully seamlessly) and a further 42% are leveraging an HRMS with two or more incorporated TM modules.

So, integration is on the rise. And so it should be, because it’s good to integrate. First of all, the more TM components you deploy, the better your user experience (and with employee engagement being the perennial HR benchmark issue, any improvement in experience drives up engagement, commitment and performance). Second, there’s a bottom line return here. Sierra Cedar found that those organizations with more than four integrated TM components had a 6% higher return on equity (it’s always nice when HR can point to a hard financial return on people-oriented technology).

But integrated talent management goes wider than just patching together the assorted processes that focus on employee skills. The same survey identified what it called the, “Quantified Organization” which is a fancy label that indicates a high-performing business that is effectively using its data to drive performance.

One key feature of such an organization is that it combines talent management data with workforce management information and the contents of other business intelligence systems to enable more efficient data-driven workforce deployment in the long and short-term.

Put simply, the more widely connected your talent management systems are, the more practical business use you’ll get out of them.

Dave_FoxallThis is a guest post by Dave Foxall. Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HR technology market. Dave has published hundreds of articles for HRMS World – the independent resource for HRMS software professionals.

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