Five signs your talent management software doesn’t work

The ‘war for talent’ has never really ended and until we’re all replaced by machines or artificial intelligence, it will continue. More and more, having the right software is becoming important for organizations – from creating talent pools and pipelines, to recruiting key players, to grooming future leaders, to pinpoint succession planning, your talent management module has a lot of aspirations to deliver. Here are five signs that it may be falling short.

1. Problems integrating with other systems

HR technology doesn’t operate in isolation anymore. We expect our various modules to be communicating, exchanging data, and triggering actions in each other in a symphony of coordinated people management. However, that’s not always the user experience; especially if you adopt a best-of-breed strategy and mix and match your software packages. You might have bought a full range of best-fit functionality but they don’t always play nicely together.

If your talent management module isn’t syncing with your onboarding system, or learning management, or performance management, or analytics & reporting, then you may have a problem.

2. Your hires are overly-influenced by the c-suite

CEOs and senior leaders may talk a good talk about engaging the best talent but what that often means in practice is ‘people like them’. Talent management systems identify talent based on criteria determined by the organization: competencies, experiences, personal traits, etc.

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If your system is consistently turning up people that are essentially C-suite ‘mini-me’s, you may need to recalibrate in line with what your business needs, as opposed to what your business is.

3. You have a culture of compliance and conformity

By definition, talent is not stupid and if your culture is based on mimicking those further up the ladder then your talented employees will actively display copycat tendencies in order to further their career. Worse, such a culture actually encourages them to hide genuinely individual or unusual behavior, even if it’s good for the business.

An organization looking for rapid expansion probably needs people who are delivery-focused, self-reliant, and highly assertive about new ideas. A talent management module that prioritizes people who fit in and are unlikely to rock the boat is unlikely to help.

4. Your talent doesn’t stick around for long

This may not be a problem with your software but it does indicate a problem with your strategy. If you find you’re investing plenty in identifying and developing your talented employees only to see them leave for better opportunities elsewhere then you’re not making good on your promises. When you identify and invest in talent, it’s on the understanding that you’ll recoup that investment later, usually by placing that talent in a position of greater authority and impact.

If you don’t follow through and ‘cash in’ on that investment, it’s effectively a broken promise. If your talent management module is focused on talent-spotting at the expense of talent-placing, you probably need to adjust your strategy.

5. You’re not saving time

The overriding purpose shared by all business software is to save you time and resources. If, after implementing a new talent management system and operating it for a while, you find the business is expending as much or more time on talent management that should be a red flag, and one that probably indicates one of the above issues.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

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 HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall