From the Classroom to Boardroom… Tracing the Evolution of a Talent Mangement System!!

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Globalization has changed us into a company that searches the world, not just to sell or to source, but to find intellectual capital – the world`s best talents and greatest ideas.– Jack Welch

In the boardroom bunkers and in the cubicle-filled trenches, the early skirmishes of the next war are being fought. But unlike a conventional war, this war doesn’t need truckloads of arms and ammunition, …it’s a war that truly is of a different kind…a war where most of the action is guerrilla warfare  to poach the best and the brightest minds for their skill sets, knowledge, capabilities and unique talents…Some call it ‘Old wine in a new bottle’…”A fight for Survival’ while some call it ‘War for Talent’…or a ‘Global Business Pandemic which is changing the rules of the game’..Whatever the name you choose to give….it is classroom theoretical concept that now has become the business imperative discussed and debated by every Senior Leader.

This blog is my personal narrative and a short story of a rather long and arduous journey of implementing Talent Management process. Like many in the field of Talent Management, we at Group Human Resources were dumbfounded with the challenge of finding our ‘A’ Listers in a complex web of 110 companies in 16 different sectors spread across 23 geographies of the world. With the origins of Talent Management initiatives during the turn of the 21st century, today this process has the potential  to alter the dynamics of the way we do our manufacturing business around the world.

Step1-Institutionilizng Core Talent Management process and Manual Record Keeping : After conducting multiple awareness sessions with our Senior Leaders to garner their support for this initiative, we designed our Core Talent Management processes with a tactical focus of recordkeeping.

Step2: Automating most Talent Management processes with PeopleSoft HCM: As the initiative gained momentum and a higher buy-in from Senior Leaders, here was our chance to climb another level on the Talent Management Maturity ladder by establishing a system of record – PeopleSoft HCM, automating the Assessment Centre Report process by our 3rd party Assessment Centre vendors, specifying the possible career trajectories for our ‘A’ listers – or top performers and capturing their Individual Development plans that were actioned upon and monitored regularly. PeopleSoft HCM gave us the perfect platform for automating, collecting and mining this rich source of data required to bolster the Talent Management process.

Step 3: Integrating a Talent Management system with the HCM system: With the career and succession planning data automated and easily retrievable, we embarked upon a mammoth task of designing the critical management dashboards within Hyperion BI for all our Senior Managers. Our dashboards gave a snapshot of the Leadership Pipeline, the status cum success of our Talent Management processes,  key information about our High Performers including attrition analytics etc required for better decision making on managing talent better.

While many organizations like mine are currently on Step 3, they are all striving for a unified system of talent management which would extract data from their Financial systems, Manufacturing and Business software as well as their Payroll and Accounting solutions to help managers make holistic decisions on talent management. After all, the key differentiator in a world of product, service, marketing and information commoditization is ‘Talent’ and managing it only makes business sense 🙂

References: Future of Talent Management |Taleo Research Study.

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Taleo Business Solutions!!

Talent Drives Performance - Taleo Talent Management

Phew !! that’s an impressive list of credentials for a Company that was founded in 1996..almost a decade after Dave Duffield founded PeopleSoft – one of the best in breed ERPs in the market today. I had heard about Taleo’s Recruiting Solution about 4 yrs ago when my previous employer was scouting for the best Recruiting solution after being a wee bit uncomfortable with PeopleSoft’s Recruiting solution.  Without a doubt, Taleo’s impressive User Interface and advance talent acquisition functionality stood out from the crowd. Having a bias towards peopleSoft, I must confess I didn’t give it much of a thought until I was given a demo of the system by Josh during my class at UC Berkeley and I was mesmerized once again with the impeccable UI and ease of configuration that this system gives to its users….So without a further adieu let me rummage through all the literature available and collect my thoughts to present a rather interesting take on …the good, bad and ugly of Taleo’s  Talent Management Solution.

So What makes Taleo Talent Management worth a mention?

1. Affordability: It’s simple with no initial capital expenditure. Like most of its contemporaries in the SaaS and Cloud Computing domain, users pay a monthly fee of $99-140$ per month. There is no software or hardware to buy which is normally a deterrent in these trying times.

2. Availability and Pure Web Architecture:  Accessible 24/7 from anywhere anytime as long as there is an Internet connection.

3. Usability: This is one area wherein I found Taleo providing the greatest advantage to its users mainly the candidates through its simple and intuitive User Interfaces . With the sudden rise of social networking sites like Twitter and Linked In used by candidates for job application purposes, Taleo has a built in integration with both these websites. Hence it facilitates an instant chat with a member of the Co’s recruiting team as well as allows a prospective applicant to find additional information through contacts on professional/ social networking sites like Linked In.

4. Integration to Microsoft Outlook: Coming from a PeopleSoft eRecruitment background, this was another fascinating feature provided by Taleo. All interview schedules can be entered in Microsoft Outlook which can further remind an interviewer about the interview scheduled for the day without having to login to the system and checking an equally complicated interview schedule calendar.

5. Configurable Workflow Mails: I still recall the nightmare I had to undergo while configuring the workflows in eRecruitment as the business processes were so individualized to certain sections of the user audience. Taleo allows us as Functional Consultants to configure individualized workflows. Hence we could better adapt the system to our real life business scenarios.

A very refined Advance Search Functionality: In PeopleSoft eRecruit, there was an inherent bug in the Verity Index which allows us to use the advanced search functionality. PeopleSoft n its vanilla avatar also restricted its users on a very limited fixed set of parameters to search a large and complex resume database. I still recall the times wherein my power users wanted resume searches to be based on uploaded CVs, testimonials, PDF resumes and HTML docs which wasn’t possible in the system. In one of the demo sessions, Josh demonstrated how Taleo allowed its candidates to upload not only .txt files but also .Doc, .PDF, .HTML files which seemed so practical in today’s time.

7. Ad-hoc Reporting: Even today, if I could lay my hands on a disgruntled user, it would be my Head of Group wide Recruitment as she wanted the flexibility to drag and drop fields used for her MIS and reporting which could never be standardized in a crystal / SQR report. The ease and flexibility which this feature brings definitely makes one of the reasons for a compelling business case for Taleo ATS.

The other side of the coin…the flip side of Taleo:

I do realise that demos or sales pitches by pre-sales teams are expected to invoke an -Ahhhaa effect on the audience so while I cannot discount the apparent advancements of the Taleo system, I cannot assume a perfect system devoid of any ugly truths.

1. Integration through Open APIs : While I may not be an IT professional to enumerate the complexities involved in integrating the Taleo Recruiting system with the Co’s System of Record by using the functionality of Open API, as a novice on this subject I can state with some degree of certainty that the path to integration of the 2 systems provided by different vendors, having no commonality in system architecture and database structure would not be for the faint hearted. Integration plays an important role when you have hired the candidate through Taleo’s ATS and now the record needs to be passed in the System of Record (employee database). Most integration using Open APIs are through non real time cumbersome batch processes which further results in time lag for data entry between the 2 systems.

2. Taleo is known for its ATS not Talent Management: If we were to trace the early beginnings of Taleo as a product and focus on its impressive list of Fortune 100 clients, you would see a trend towards Taleo’s forte being its advanced ATS. From a predominantly ATS product to a Talent Management application comprising of Performance Management, Career & Succession Planning modules, there is no comprehensive evidence of the business benefits of Co’s using these modules or to corroborate if these processes are mature and incorporate industry best practices.

3. Data Security – Although I am told that there is a detailed comprehensive encryption methodology of securing data, there is still an element of fear in my mind for fear of cyber pilferage or confidential Talent Ratings falling into the hands of cyber miscreants.

4.  Customer Support/ Helpdesk Assistance – Resorting to my past experience of working on PeopleSoft, I always knew that there was a very robust 24/7 Support infrastructure for its customers with predefined escalation clauses and SLAs which I used extensively during the nascent stages of project roll out and implementation. It may seem questionable to assume a similar support infrastructure that Taleo would provide to its customers in very remote corners of the world, akin to that provided by the Application Bigwigs like Oracle, SAP or PeopleSoft.

Whether Taleo’s Talent Management Suite can rival that of the larger Best in Breed Application systems like PeopleSoft, Oracle, SAP etc .. only time can tell. However, its without a doubt a competitor which only a fool would choose to ignore….So lets  wait and watch this race for some more tech trivia!!

The Tech Debate (Part 2)- Opting for ERP’s Superior Integration Opportunities v/s SaaS’s Open APIs.

benefits of erp -scope of poornataAlthough the need for talent management is critical, many organizations flounder when it comes to effectively leveraging a state-of-the-art technology solution. The primary difficulty lies in sharply diminished business benefits when organizations fail to take advantage of talent solutions that integrate fully with the core human resources (HR) system of record and with each other. As a result, organizations often miss a decided competitive advantage when it comes to areas such as user adoption, the optimal use of technology and employee development, which is so critical in the talent shortage. Often this failure stems from poor strategic planning and—as statistics show—selecting niche or silo-ed solutions a-la-carte.
An integrated approach is ideal for the forward-thinking organization expanding its talent management scope or for an organization exploring talent management for the first time. Real-time integration that optimizes all aspects of talent management can best be achieved with a solution from the same vendor that provides the core HR system.
“It’s helping us ensure that our performance management is more organized and more effective. It’s giving us better quality and better control of our HR processes. That’s particularly important in a large and fast-growing global organization—to be able to keep track of your people wherever they might be.”
—JoAnn Moeller VP of HR, Compensation, Benefits and HR Information Management, Office Depot
Today’s changing business landscape demands that HR aligns its processes, practices and strategies with business objectives. This demand can only be met by a comprehensive solution that effectively manages an organization’s talent and the entire Human Capital Management (HCM) lifecycle together. An integrated talent management framework from Oracle delivers this success via a holistic view of talent. Oracle’s single, modular, enterprise-wide system supported by a single data source provides consistent data and business processes and a uniform look and feel that together establish the foundation for insightful decision-making and profitability.
INTRODUCTION“It’s helping us ensure that our performance management is more organized and more effective. It’s giving us better quality and better control of our HR processes. That’s particularly important in a large and fast-growing global organization—to be able to keep track of your people wherever they might be.”

benefits of erp -scope of poornata

“It’s helping us ensure that our talent management is more organized and more effective. It’s giving us better quality and better control of our HR processes. That’s particularly important in a large and fast-growing global organization—to be able to keep track of your people wherever they might be.”

—JoAnn Moeller VP of HR, Compensation,Benefits and HR Information Management, Office Depot

Although the need for talent management is critical, many organizations flounder when it comes to effectively leveraging a state-of-the-art technology solution. The primary difficulty lies in sharply diminished business benefits when organizations fail to take advantage of talent solutions that integrate fully with the core human resources (HR) system of record and with each other. As a result, organizations often miss a decided competitive advantage when it comes to areas such as user adoption, the optimal use of technology and employee development, which is so critical in the talent shortage. Often this failure stems from poor strategic planning and—as statistics show—selecting niche or silo-ed solutions a-la-carte.

An integrated talent management framework can be defined as a secure, single-platform, workflow-driven system that leverages a single data model and is inclusive of the core HR system of record and all talent processes. Integrated talent management—because it is by nature integrated—equips organizations with a broad range of functional and decision-making capabilities for strategically handling today’s and tomorrow’s business issues within a consistent, end-to-end framework. The system empowers the organization with insight, agility, efficiency and consistency in talent management.

Today’s changing business landscape demands that HR aligns its processes, practices and strategies with business objectives. This demand can only be met by a comprehensive solution that effectively manages an organization’s talent and the entire Human Capital Management (HCM) lifecycle together. An integrated talent management framework provided by any Best in Class ERP vendor delivers this success via a holistic view of talent. It’s single, modular, enterprise-wide system supported by a single data source provides consistent data and business processes and a uniform look and feel that together establish the foundation for insightful decision-making and profitability.

Challenges integrating other Niche SaaS based Talent Management software and Your System of Record (HCM) Application

Having come from a HR cum technology background in a fairly large global conglomerate setting, I believe niche vendors’ products like Avature, EmpTracK, Successfactors might offer shorter implementations and dazzling user interfaces (UIs). However, their offerings introduce functional and technical issues that can keep HR from managing talent efficiently and making informed decisions as a strategic business partner. In my previous company, we had several niche products for various Talent Management processes however when Group HR needed to do any HR analytics required for the Borad of Directors, it was a herculeon task to gte the data and analytics from each of these niche products since they lacked integration. Also this the base foundation tables were specific to the niche systems, problematic symptoms emerged like the failure to find answers to strategic questions around the complete suite of Talent management processes, diluted business benefits due to short-term fixes, unforeseen costs caused by complex integrations and batch processes often connected to technology difficulties and other red flags.

The second important argument in favour of the integrated talent Management solutions is that multiple solutions from multiple vendors result in multiple competency models and foundation basics with each differing from the one in core HR—thus causing a heterogeneous collection of applications with vast duplication of effort. With PeopleSoft being implemented, one of the greatest benefits was that when the ePerformance module highlighted an area of concern or a development need, the need integrated seamlessly with its learning, career development and succession planning modules as a by-product of integration between the modules through its in-built Integration Broker.

Finally, in the words of Douglas A. Ready and Jay A. Conger, “To meet the challenge, companies must rethink how they hire, train and reward their employees, placing those tasks at the heart of their business plans. In doing so, they have an opportunity to address all these separate problems with a unified plan, rather than waste time and resources attacking each of the issues individually.”

References:

1.Integrated Talent Management: Extending the Value of a Strategic Framework |An Oracle White Paper, March 2008.

2.  Douglas A. Ready and Jay A. Conger. “How to Fill the Talent Gap.” The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2007. [online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB118841695428712511.html], para 2.

Tech Debate (Part 1) – Voilla !!! Business Case for Web 2.0 and SaaS Software.

web2inenterprise_latestWhen the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.

– Chinese proverb

The world of ‘Talent Management’ is changing at a bewildering pace. Everywhere new conceptual models are being developed, new talent management software is being released, new Talent Management strategies are devised and a new highly skilled workforce is marching into our organizations…thereby challenging our conventional wisdom in many ways than one. We are in the midst of a new wave of talent management where talent and brainpower are becoming the predominant currency. ..ofcourse leveraged by the new Web 2.0 and SaaS technology.

So, the next obvious question that will strike any intelligent mind is how does the application of Web 2.0 and SaaS translate to better Talent Management in organizations of the future?

In the past couple of works, I have been reading and watching demos of various Talent Management application suites using Web 2.0 and SaaS software as a part of my course at UC Berkeley – HR systems and technology. Having come from a prior PeopleSoft HCM and Hyperion implementation experience, I must confess I was biased towards ERPs and discounted what various gurus spoke about Web 2.0 and SaaS software. However, this blog is a starting point of new revelation that Web 2.0 and SaaS may herald a new future of Enterprise Software and below mentioned are some points that I was intrigued by.

a. Knowledge Transfer and Best Practice Sharing: How many of us in HR use Twitter, Blog sites or wikis to understand the latest HR policies or process as implemented in HR. Today as a part of my project assignment I use Twitter, Linked In and Blog sites to connect to millions of people, mentors and product managers to gain knowledge about my project assignment. It’s like business consultancy for free. Apart from social networking sites, most SaaS applications are built on global HR practices which are easy to deploy and configure to the organization’s needs.

b. Facilitates in-depth knowledge of our employees:  Although I worked in the niche area of identifying the company’s future leaders, I would seldom have in depth information about their interest, skill sets, aspirations and project assignments the way most Social Networking sites would detail. As I started using the social networking sites more often, I realize that there is a vast repertoire of information that most people in HR would long to get their hands on but their ERP systems limit their search.

c. To develop an internal communication tool for your company:  Having worked extensively on PeopleSoft and its Portal application, I have always longed for simplicity and ease to connect the Company’s Senior Leadership with the voice of its employees. While I’d say PeopleSoft did allow us to do it…company blogs are a perfect way to communicate your voice to employees and vice versa. I’ve seen CISCO systems do that effectively.

4.Expand your reach to candidates:  A no. of recruiters have their pages uploaded on Facebook and other well known Recruiting sites e.g. www.recruitingblogs.com wherein jobs and vacancies are posted and candidates are sourced. This is especially being used for campus recruitment to some of the premier B-Schools.

5. Affordability:  Most SaaS application suites unlike their predecessors – The ERPs are highly affordable and do not require an additional paraphernalia of IT infrastructure. I still recall my PeopleSoft implementation days where days and weeks were devoted to costly Hardware and Software installations by equally costly hardware and software experts. Even the total project time for a global implementation of our magnitude was 180 days which would also add to the project deployment cost. Most SaaS application suites are ready to use (if you are not looking for customization) & can be commissioned immediately.

6. Available Anywhere Anytime:  All SaaS applications is available to any user who has access to Internet hence its accessible 24/7 – 365 days of the year. This enables employees to access the software from their main office, from home or any place they are traveling to.

7. Constant Updates and No IT problems:  This is a rather interesting feature for which most people like me with ERP implementation experience would heave a sign of relief. Every time a new upgrade or a release patch is required to be installed, its like living a nightmare !! However unlike ERPs, SaaS applications are updated with new features regularly and Software bugs are fixed in real time by the vendors. So its time to say goodbye to all IT problems that we as implementers are confronted with on an ongoing basis.  SaaS vendors have their own maintenance and support Department which look after the day to day maintenance and bug fixing.

8. Customization Available: Recently I attended a webinar on Configuration vs Customization by one Talent Management application vendor – Workday. It was fascinating how most backend customization that would be required to tweak a system business workflow to an organizational TO BE process can be avoided by allowing most users to configure systems to their needs. This was perhaps one of the greatest boon that a SaaS and Web 2.0 enabled application would allow vis a vis other reputed ERPs.

While this blog is only the beginning of an end project deliverable on which Talent Management ERP best serves the needs of an increasingly global and fiercely competitive organization with an insatiable appetitive for mergers and acquisitions. This blog signals our story that is yet to unravel on how Talent Management enabled through a Web 2.0 and SaaS platform has the potential to change our ways of working in HR beyond recognition.

References: Web 2.0 and SaaS factor by Gireesh Kumar Sharma, Saigun Technologies.

Are U Ready for a Recruiting Shift???

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more about “Jobs2Web: From Career Site to Recruit…“, posted with vodpod
An extremely interesting presentation to show the remarkable shift in Talent Sourcing and Recruitment. Is there any company on the World Wide Web who has used this Careers Portal and can stand testimony of its revolutionary nature…??? A topic as great a conversation starter as this one is a fantastic opportunity to share  experiences – the  joys and hardships :).

My project presentation..In pursuit of the best Talent Management System.

The ‘People’ problem in Talent Management

McKinsey

“The War for Talent never ended …it has just begun in ways we cannot imagine or comprehend.”

Increasingly, companies view the ability to manage talent effectively as a strategic priority. Yet my academic research leads me to conclude that senior executives  in most Fortune 500 Companies across the globe, largely blame themselves and their business line managers for failing to give this issue enough time and attention. I strongly believe that Talent Management is the key to weathering this raging storm of ‘Global Recession’. There is a need to transform this corporate rhetoric into an organizational reality where all executives need to rethink new innovative ways to attract, retain and motivate their people.

Having worked in the niche area of Talent Management and more specifically Talent Identification and Development, I find it a mockery of sorts when most Senior Managers quote their employees as their most important asset. Yet, my experiences with many of them state that most of them are bewildered with the challenges that this niche area confronts them with. Also the widespread belief that expensive efforts to address this key issue have failed largely compounds the frustrations of Senior Leaders. As a part of my project assignment for the Berkeley HR systems and technology course, I decided to delve deep into this widely spoken corporate rhetoric by leveraging the power of Technology. While I begin my quest to explore the 5 best in breed talent management tools available to large companies today, I also would draw on my Talent Management and HR experience where ever necessary.

As they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step so lets begin our journey. If there are any Talent managers or technological wizards who would like to share their experiences…….I’d love to hear from u.