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What Drives Success in Technology?

99 percent of users of talent management tools are the general workforce.

February 19, 2013
Related Topics: Technology
KEYWORDS talent / technology
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We live in an era where for the first time in history, consumers have access to better technology than businesses do. For years, we have counted on businesses being able to afford and implement technology that consumers have not been able to either pay for or understand. Times have changed in the last five years where technology is easier to deploy and the costs are significantly less, if not free.


In today’s world of talent management technology, the users of the tools are 99 percent the general workforce and 1 percent the individuals in HR. This means major changes are required to set the stage for the workforce. What are the areas of focus required today to ensure talent management technology is not only implemented but also truly adopted and used by the organization as a whole?

Focus on reinvention, with the workforce as the value receivers. Organizations can no longer expect the workforce to share information without them seeing value in the effort. Employees all over the world do a much better job updating their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles than they do their internal talent profiles simply because they see no value in putting their information in the system.

To make talent management technology work today, employees and managers must see the value of interacting with the tools and trust that HR and the business will leverage their data and efforts to utilize them within the collective workforce. The minute that employees are putting data into a system and their leaders’ actions don’t reflect knowing that data, adoption and the talent management technology dies. Talent management processes and deployments must be reinvented now from the workforce in instead of the HR function out.

The user experience must be marketed and sold continually throughout the tools’ lifetime. Talent management technology is not the same as a core HR or benefits technology deployment where once it’s live we move on to the next project. Deployments of technology directed at the workforce require approximately twice the cost and effort of the technology to market, drive change and focus on user adoption to guarantee success.

The technology aspect of a talent management project is the simple part. The culture, user experience and marketing is the most difficult part, and without it, projects do and will continue to fail. The other piece of this is it is not a one-time-serves-all message. Talent management is perpetual beta and must be thought of not as something that is implemented and left alone, but something that requires constant care and feeding as well as continual tweaking of data and processes to truly be outcome driven and a value add to an organization.

Employees and managers take part in adopting and consuming end-to-end processes, not technology modules. Throughout our history of talent management technology, we have become famous at implementing modules. We have a module for recruiting, one for performance management and one for compensation. While this is good for the HR function which can then phase in talent management functionality, the workforce being driven to multiple user experiences and disconnected processes has no real continuity as to why they are taking part in the process anyway and will continue to kill talent management technology projects.

We in the HR function work in silos; yes, I know that’s a bad word, but admit it, we do. Employees and managers will not work in silos without abandoning some part in the process. Also, the implementation of silos never provides employees and managers with the big picture they are looking for when it comes to integrated talent management.

We have better visions and direction to our purpose as a talent management function than we have ever had before. Let’s not waste this amazing opportunity by only focusing our efforts on the technology when it is by far the least important part of any talent management technology deployment now and into the future.

Jason Averbook is the CEO of Knowledge Infusion. He can be reached at editor@talentmgt.com.

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