HRMS and talent management software: a complete guide

Unlike many HR ‘categories’, talent management is more of a business strategy than a particular set of procedures. In fact, it incorporates a number of functions and processes and can cover pretty much the whole employee lifecycle.

The following text looks at the key issues associated with talent management software, including:

  • What is talent management?
  • How can talent management solutions benefit your company
  • Identifying your requirements for talent management software 
  • Core talent management software features
  • Five of the best HRMS talent management options


What is talent management?

As stated above, talent management includes several HR activities – including succession planning, hiring, learning and development, performance management, and career planning – all with the aim of recruiting, developing and retaining the best possible employees in light of the organization’s strategic goals and priorities.


How can talent management solutions benefit your company?

As a strategic activity, the key stakeholders for talent management will be senior executives and those in C-suite roles.

As such, it can be essential to demonstrate the potential organizational benefits of investing in talent management automation and software.

Apart from enhancing the basic purpose of talent management to establish the right people in the right position at the right time, the specific advantages of a talent management solution are as follows:

  • More strategic role-filling: talent management information (and the foundation of useful software is the information it contains) can be used to more accurately pinpoint the skills and knowledge you need in which roles and where that resource can be found; both internally for promotion purposes, and externally for recruitment.
  • Better hiring processes: talent management software can be used to automate aspects of your hiring process, including creating talent communities and pipelines, tapping into social media, and gamification of elements of the assessment process. (Just the use of gamification can be attractive to certain candidates – especially Millennials – portraying you as a forward-thinking, technology-minded employer).
  • Better performance: when taken as part of an integrated HRMS, talent management software can access the full breadth of your HR and workforce data. Given that nowadays, the majority of interactions are electronic and therefore recordable and recorded, that data can be used to provide targeted feedback and improve both individual performance and teamworking. In the context of talent management, this is a valuable tool for developing individuals with potential.
  • Onboarding and training: again, by tapping into the wider HR data reservoir, onboarding and training strategies can be optimized (put simply, by identifying which strategies work best for which types of employee) and then tailored to provide identified talent with the development and support they need to fulfill their potential.


Identifying your requirements for talent management software

As with any HR module, identifying your requirements for talent management software hinges on the usual twin influences of strategic business goals and stakeholder consultation. Ask yourself what business questions or challenges do you plan to solve? This will help you decide on the focus of your talent management strategy; e.g. tracking and recruiting from external sources, retention of existing high performers, or long-term development of skills and capabilities.

Gather your talent management requirements successfully with our comprehensive HRMS selection checklist

Within that context, the following factors which are particularly relevant to talent management…

Integration with other systems

The increasing expectation is that HR modules ‘talk’ to each other and this is particularly important with talent management which, as stated above, includes a number of HR activities. Where this comes to a head is in the user experience: poorly-integrated packages result in poor and/or buggy functionality. The simplest option is often a fully-integrated HRMS that seamlessly applies onboarding, learning management, performance management, and analytics & reporting to a talent perspective.

Impact on recruitment

Consider your current process’s shortfalls and how talent management software could be used to make improvements. For example, by exploring such metrics as‘abandoned job applications’, i.e. the number of applicants who start but fail to complete an online application (the process may not be intuitive, the form may ask for too many non-essential details, and the answer may be a better applicant tracking system).

Correlation between job requirements and development options

If you expect to retain talent once you have it, you’ll need to support and develop those individuals to get where they want to be (and where you want them to be). The identification of key skills and experience needs and then linking those needs to the learning options and activities that will help produce them is critical.

Current and desired talent culture

What is your organization’s attitude to nurturing talent? Is it encouraged? Is it effective? A talent management solution as part of a wider adoption of HR technology is part of encouraging the acceptance and embracing of a broader ‘talent philosophy’.


Core talent management software features

The following are the main features you should be looking for in a talent management package:

  • The key functions are: recruitment, onboarding, learning management, performance management, collaboration and feedback tools
  • All processes should be highly customizable, capable of fitting your needs and requirements, including company branding.
  • User experience should be intuitive, simple without being simplistic, customizable, and encourage participation in the talent development process.
  • Integration with other HR and business systems is highly recommended, if only for the access to an expanded dataset and bringing talent management to your analytics and reporting dashboard.
  • Social media integration is essential to the use of modern recruitment options; it is also beneficial to employee engagement, encouraging collaboration via familiar channels.
  • Multi-channel recruitment can be easy with job advertisements being pushed out to a wide variety of jobs boards and social media automatically.
  • Gamification of recruitment and learning elements can drive both engagement with talent processes and attract the job applicants you’re searching for.
  • Goal setting and alignment functionality can be used to link performance goals up and down the management hierarchy, ensuring a good fit.
  • Benchmarking of reward and remuneration packages for specific roles is useful – put simply, across the organization, do reward levels match performance levels?
  • The performance management process can be automated, even a simple notification system that prompts talent and talent manager to take the next step in the process can be transformative.-
  • Identifying career paths can be a valuable talent retention tool – today’s employee is happy to ‘switch horses’ to another employer if they cannot see a route forward with you.
  • Talent analytics is essential to validating your strategy and validating progress. Do you need predictive analysis (e.g. spotting ‘flight risk’ employees), compliance (responding to legislation and regulation), or process improvement (e.g. focusing on results and user experience)?

Use this HRMS features list to identify more feature requirements for new software


Five of the best HRMS talent management options

Though individual organizations’ needs and requirements will of course vary, what follows is a short list of well-established vendors providing talent management software to start you on your search:

  • SuccessFactors by SAP: in their own words, SuccessFactors are, “…driving business alignment, optimizing people performance and building competitive advantage through people.” This is reflected in a market-leading enterprise-level talent management-focused suite of applications, including recruitment, onboarding, performance, compensation, learning, and succession & development.
  • Cornerstone: another enterprise-class suite, with functions grouped under Recruiting, Learning, Performance and HR (the last being an umbrella heading that includes data-based reporting, analytics, and self-service tools.
  • Oracle: offering to “manage the entire talent lifecycle”, Oracle functionality includes sourcing candidates, performance and goals management, continuous learning, a talent review process, and career and succession development.
  • Halogen TalentSpace: a full suite of applications from another leading name, Halogen offer a focus on coaching and feedback which may fit your development culture.
  • Workday: with the aim of developing “tomorrow’s leaders”, Workday offers alignment of talent with business goals and priorities, succession planning and monitoring, and ‘performance by potential’ reporting.
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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

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