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Micah Fairchild The Top 4 Talent Management Software Trends to Watch

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 By Micah Fairchild

Trends to Watch in Talent Management Technology

It can be a uniquely defined challenge to parse through all the software vendor and blogger hype to determine what trends need to be watched for the coming days. Indeed, soon-to-be-released product-centric articles and slanted software reviews for marketing purposes can skew the validity of any given prediction. Likewise, sometimes it can be a fool's errand to benchmark against trends that are going nowhere. To that end, in order to provide some much needed sanity to this "trend" market, HRLab.com is pleased to share its review of the top trends for talent management technology (marketing and hype free).

Talent Technology Trend # 1: Collaboration

Whether focused on social platforms, mobile delivery, synchronous or asynchronous content, collaboration has entered into the "trend" world in force. Indeed, according to Gartner's Thomas Otter and Jeff Freyermuth, "Employees are leveraging social software tools and networks, like Facebook, and tools such as wikis and blogs are being used to manage and improve policy creation and communication". Though the collaboration "trend" has been around for some time, this area of software technology is still considered by many to be emerging. In fact, a recent Accenture study found that over 42% of organizations believe that organizational knowledge sharing is a pressing challenge.

Though easily adaptable for use in any business function, collaboration tools are particularly well-suited to talent management because it allows for person-to-person connection throughout the employment lifecycle. As such, expect for continued HR adoption in this area as more organizations grasp the importance of company forums, employee profile pages, communities of practice (CoP), and connecting with current and potential employees for attraction and retention purposes. However, it should be noted that, based on recent research from Cornell and Harvard, accessing the true benefits of collaboration software relies on establishing a culture that supports the idea of collaboration in the first place.

Talent Technology Trend # 2: Employee Engagement

The recent shifts that have taken place in organizations world-wide have changed the way engagement is viewed. Fewer key employees are considering themselves to be fully engaged (Corporate Executive Board (CEB) recently found 1 in 3 to be dis-engaged) at the same time that an increasing number of companies are finally catching on to the importance of engagement. This confluence of factors will mean that more companies will be considering HR solutions to the vast and complex elements of engagement given the facts that a) engaged employees out-perform their colleagues; and b) more employees are actively seeking work elsewhere. While engagement software strategies run the gamut as far as how they will connect with talent management (given that almost all "engagement" vendors are small Software-as-a-Service operations), it's important to note that engagement is a "leading" indicator and should be integrated into an organization's system at a point where the most data can be tagged with it and the most utility can be gained from it.

Talent Technology Trend # 3: Social Recruitment

For all the noise out there about social networking and the myriad other incarnations of using Facebook and Twitter to accomplish business goals, the truth is that using social media outlets for certain processes (like e-recruitment) is a win/win—a win for engaging a potential employee and a win for proactively utilizing technology to its fullest. While undoubtedly not the first time social recruitment has been mentioned in one of these lists, this is a trend that will continue. In fact, CareerXroads' 10th Annual Source of Hire Report: By the Numbers indicated that organizations are increasingly (39%) turning to social media methods for prospective candidate management. Indeed, even the software vendor landscape has changed to account for social media involvement; with companies like behemoths Oracle and Salesforce.com incorporating social integration points around their own business software applications. As well, Facebook and Twitter are no longer the only social channels on the web for this solution, with business-oriented sites like LinkedIn, Yammer, Socialtext, Socialcast, and Jive all carving out their piece of this pie.

Talent Technology Trend # 4: Predictive Analytics

Though it may seem cold and calculating, the economic and demographic realities of the employment landscape will increasingly force companies to have to quantifiably predict where HR efforts need to be and what patterns of behavior employees will likely follow. Indeed, as Monster's Sanjay Modi opines "The more capable the organization is in predicting what is going to happen, the better are their chances to be competitive in the market".

An off-shoot of core Business Intelligence platforms, efforts are underway in a number of larger companies (think IBM, Google, Starbucks) to predict the likelihood of any given talent management action actually happening. For example, how many employees will transition upwards, outwards, or laterally from Sales? Of those employees who transitioned laterally, what were their identifying characteristics (i.e. skills, education level, learning and development outlays, performance, etc.)? The questions and specifics keep drilling down to the granular level and theoretically, by knowing the answers to these questions, predictions can be quantified as to the likelihood of other employees that fit that same patterns.

As opposed to traditional "lagging" metrics (like exit interviews) that can be used for after-the-fact analysis, this talent trend will focus in on "forward-looking analytics that push well beyond traditional metrics", says Forrester's Zach Thomas. Though too soon to accurately predict which companies will be the front-runners in predictive analytics, North Carolina's SAS, IBM, and SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), as well as a host of other smaller software companies are looking to bring analytics to a wider audience—looking to put prediction at any organization's fingertips.

What's the Future of These Talent Management Software Trends?

While it is certainly impossible to know the future of how each of these talent management trends will play out, organizations should be cognizant of them nonetheless. These trends are coming out amidst a set of global changes the likes of which have not been seen before. Therefore, a thorough understanding of these trends and how your organization will choose to address them is not only necessary, it is critical if your company is to achieve the opportunities and benefits from new talent management software technologies. End

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For all the noise out there about social networking and the myriad other incarnations of using Facebook and Twitter to accomplish business goals, the truth is that using social media outlets for certain processes (like e-recruitment) is a win/win."

 

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