Archive for the ‘integration’ Category

Most vendors offer a subset of talent management processes and then integrate the rest. Most common are recruitment and learning. 
But with every integration comes choices and trade offs. You need to decide what data to integrate. How to map different data structures, and sacrifice analytical reporting abilities across your whole talent management landscape. 


With all in one database that is not longer so. You get to do analytics. All data is connected​, and data gathered in recruitment can be used in performance, even offboarding. You can truly do employee life cycle analytics. But what is the sacrifice in that case? Yes there is always a sacrifice, anyone telling you otherwise is not telling you the truth.


You don’t get best of breed functionality in every single sub process. But do you need that? Let’s look at learning. With a learning module built together with development, succession and performance you get an awesome ability to get a system that identifies learning based on input in other processes. But it will be as part of the learning module. A module often with limitations in how to make appetizing portals and maybe give externals access. 


So then you go for a state of the art learning module, and loose some of that awesome powers from the learning module being able to peek into the whole employee to suggest learning. But you can build awesome appetizing portals. 


So what to choose. And all things being equal. Go for one database. Unless you export it all to a data warehouse is that the only way to make sure you have the full power of reporting and analytics. And you want that. The data is your possibility to learn about your employees and their behaviours. That way you can develop them better and also decrease retention. And that is pure gold. 


So whenever someone suggest integration ask what is the cost in analytics and predictive behaviours. And unless you have a clear case outlining the upside  that is bigger than the loss, don’t. 

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This is a piece of retrospective of the birth of Talent Management suites, from a personal perspective. And some thoughts about today

When I started doing Talent Management (1997), it was not called that yet. The company I worked for started with Competency Assessment and management. We soon found out that while it was all fine to know what the gaps where, we needed support to close them, and the Development plan was born in our system. 

As the company had a background in general consultancy we also had the profile in there for selling consultants, so the CV data was put in there quite early. 

By the year 2001 we had got ot the web version for employees and managers, but still not for Admins, that came 1-2 year later. 

So by now we had 

  • The CV
  • Competency profiles, with requirements
  • Development plans

A couple of years later Succession planning was added, together with 360 assessments and a basic learning module. We had more or less arrived at the Talent Management suite without ever aiming for it. Dont even knowing they were the goal when we started. I think we redesigned the Development plan 3 times during the journey. But we ended up having a really integrated system as we had built it all from scratch by ourselves. 

At the same time the market was divided into the TM suites that were integrations of different beast of breed systems, and small beast of breed systems doing mostly just one thing. (why we did not be a huge hit? We were a god system, but a very Swedish one and with no possibility to configure processes for other than typical Swedish usage)

The customers of 197 had no idea, mostly, what they wanted, or why. 10 yeare later they had an idea. And now they wanted it all and produced detailed RFP:s that was impossible for anyone to meet without clever bending of the truth. So the customers wanted systems that they could change to suit their old paper based processes, and the software companies tried to manage that as best as they could, and the project failed. 

Today the market is changing i a number of ways. 

  1. Customers are starting to realise that integration sometimes beat fancy features. If you get a system that is truly one integrated system that works seamless between the different part of the Talent Management processes, you dont need all fancy features. 
  2. Paper based and computer based are very different. The old paper based processes are not very good when computerized, and dont take advantage of what we can do with phones, tablets an computers. We now see the emergence of processes designed for being computerized, with continuous performance management as an example.
  3. The “Whats in it for me” perspective is spreading. Every user of a Talent Management system needs to get something out of it, or they will not use it (or use it minimally). The employee and manage need to see clear benefits for them, or they will fill in the forms when prompted to do so, and do it badly. 


So in 2014 we see that we finally are starting to get successful Talent Management projects, with all kinds of users actually using the systems and getting clear benefits from it. It took us early 2 decades to get there. Where will we be in another 2 decades?

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So you are doing Talent Management, trying to align goals, keep track of the career plans and build succession benches. Trying to get a compensation policy in place, keep track of all HR data and creating competency requirement profiles for all your positions.

A bit much?

To much?

Probably yes. So what to do? Start with one thing and do it really well and then onto the next one?
That’s one idea, what you need to keep in mind doing that is that every time you add a new part you need to revisit the old one to add to them to be able to use the new data you have. Otherwise you will just be creating silos.

The other way is to just start small and enhance it all I stages.

Add goals (but don’t align or cascade), some development (but don’t competency profiles yet). Make sure you get some processes started and keep them integrated. Then add bits and pieces on it step by step until you get the integrated world you dream about.

And start out with the items that the employees can use. Don’t start with requiring everyone  to assess themselves and everyone else in 360 assessments. Why should they do it? What’s in it for them? Start with goal sharing or something that starts cooperation.

Add bits and pieces, and every time you add something ask yourself 3 questions

  1. Is this integrated
  2. What’s in it for the employee?
  3. Is it needed?

Is it integrated?

That’s the whole point. NEVER add a silo. Make sure you can use and reuse your data. Make sure you combine it and make the best of it.

What’s in it for the employee?

If you ask the employees to participate. To devote their time and effort you better make sure its worth it, not just for the company, but for them. Otherwise they will not do it and when they do it it will not be done with the heart in it, just fill in another form to get HR/manager quiet. So give them reports, give them opportunities, give them cooperation and recognition.

Is it needed?

Last question. The effort you just asked everyone to do. Was it worth it? Or did it just add to the complexity?  If it was only worth a little to you, don’t do it. Make sure that you and the rest of the organization spend your time wisely. Only add to your processes if the win of doing so is greater than the cost of adding it.

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Do you have a compensation manager,  a recruitment manager and someone else doing performance?

And who has the overview? Who gets the reports spanning more than one process? If you work in silos a silo free talent management suite is a waste. You will not get the benefits. Its when you start to organize yourself silo free that you will be able to think silo free, work silo free, report silo free.

And 1+1 is suddenly 42

At a dinner with our CEO we talked about cascading of behaviour from top level to middle managers and down. Question was why it does not happen, why is leading by example sometimes not enough? Answer we arrived at is that one factor is that it is hard to push people out of their comfort zone. You might need a coach, for by them self they will probably not do it.

That got me thinking on silo free talent management, and why it is not happening. We have all these experts. But are they able to push themselves out of their comfort zone? Probably not.

Sure you will still need people with different areas of expertise, but don’t let the experts live their life in their silo. Have them train each other so that any one of them can work in anyone else’s area. Its when you apply your expertise on other sub processes you will get the insights you need. Its when you force people to think outside their comfort zone you will get the stunning results.

So use your experts. For e them out of their comfort zones. Cooperate.

Let 1+1 be 42

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When trying to use a Silo Free Talent Management process you will need to pend time on your definitions. You need to have ONE set of definitions that are used in all sub processes from Sourcing to career planning to learning. wont do to have different ones for how will you then use them integrated and how will you get meaningful reports out of it?
Something I see is a confusion about some common definitions.
  • What is a development plan?
  • What is a position?
  • Job is that HR or Talent Acquisition?
  • Job family or job?
Whatever you do, make sure you have the definitions straight. If you don’t how will your managers and employees ever understand what they should do? I will offer some suggestions to a central set of these definitions.

A person make no mistake about that. Not any abstract entity. Is always a human being and always real. As a person they have ONE skill set and ONE career. Might have more than one role, but how can they have different skill sets, they might just utilize different partsof it.

A seat in the organisation. Might have a requirement profile tied to it. And hopefully one or more employees.

The template for the position. Is not connected to the organisation but might have a requirement profile tied to it. An employee is not connected to a job, they are connected to a position that is of a certain job. So Lars (employee) is sales manager in Stockholm (position) that is of the type sales manager (job).

Job family
The job family is a group of jobsthat belong together. Junior sales accountant, sales accountant and sales manager might all be jobs in the the family sales.

Career path
Is NOT a job family. The career path is a series of jobs, but they might be in different job families. A move from delivery consultant to product manager to marketing manager is probably a path in 3 different job families, but not a very uncommon one.

Whatever you do, make sure your definitions are clear, and not unique. If you define career paths as a series of positions it might make sense, but will anyone understand it when every time they Google get other definitions back?

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Well, finally we are at the final post in this mini series. We will now summarize it all.

  • In part 1 we went over the basics of integrated development activities.
  • In part 2 we examined what these activities can be, and what we need to support them.
  • In part 3 we talked all about competencies and followed an employee from hire to fire.

So now to the conclusion

I will here try to summarize and give lists of what you need to look for. The whole post is a  bit system centric and not how you later implement it as I for once actually think that you need a system that gives you all the opportunities to build your process. With a good system you will get a support for parts of the process that would never have been possible if you did it all on paper or in Excel.

The Development activity – basics

First we need the development activity. In post 2 we agreed that we need

  1. What are we doing?
  2. When are we doing it?
  3. Any cost connected to it?
  4. Double assessments (both of how did the employee do, and how good is the activity)

For some of the activities we might need

  1. Sub activities
  2. Summaries
  3. Progress notes
  4. Appointment scheduling

And the integration points

Our activities could be connected to other processes

  1. Career plan,
  2. Succession planning
  3. Performance management
  4. OnBoarding
  5. Stand alone (yes some could be that)

And then we want to reuse our knowledge

We indentified a need to be able to build a library of activities. That library should contain:

  1. What we did
  2. Did we address a competency gap with it
  3. Did we succeed
  4. Assessments
  5. Costs

We also wanted a good integration with our competencies so we could

  1. Identify activities from our library based on competency gaps

And use other knowledge

If we have a LMS (Learning Management System) we want to be able to integrate that one, preferably with all data as in our development activity catalogue.  A development activity could be a training item in the LMS.

Thats it folks

Well actually its not. You still need to map out all the details in your process around development activity.

  • If you have a catalogue, who can add to it?
  • What are the rating scales use for assessments
  • The whole workflow around an activity
  • Are you buying a training catalougue with your LMS or building one yourself?
  • Build or buy Competency framework?
  • social feedback on activities (s0mething I totally ignored so far because its a huge area of its own)

And so on. But we have a start to get there, We just need to remember:

We need a fully integrated development activity process

We have touched a lot of other processes, but hey, its silo free talent management so its supposed to.

Next steps

Now that we have the integartions mapped out and the basics in place we whousl consider items like

  • Social feedback
  • More engaged employees
  • Competencies
  • the workflow

And we will do that in 2012. So keep your eyes open.

Happy New Year

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We have come to the 3rd part about the development activities and why and how they should be integrated to other Talent Management processes.

Initial overview of the Development landscape you will find in part1.

In part 2 we explored the requirements on our system by different types of activities.

Now its time to go into competencies, the other big integration point, and see how we can get a maximum efficiency out of our processes if we have them integrated in a good way.

We have shown that regardless of type of activity we often end up with a common set of requirements. We also end up with a number of integration points in our system. But what about competencies? If we integrated them too we might end up in Talent Management heaven. (just might mind you)

Imagine the following scenario

We have an open position we need to fill. What we start with is to look at the competency requirements on the team that this position is part of, have a look at the other team members competency profiles and produce a gap analysis. With that one we know what we need to fill the position with, in matter of competencies at least.

We then do an internal search with that competency gap analysis as a basis (and we also use career plans preferred jobs, mobility and relocation info as input as well as any succession data we might have in the system). We dont find anyone this time, so we go to next step

With our gap analysis, and our competency requirement profile on the position and job we head over to create a requisition for our recruitment sub process. As we know what the job profile looks like and we also know what is the most important parts (our gap analysis) our system helps us in creating a job advert and also attach screening questions to our application form that are relevant for what we need.

Later we have a good candidate that meet our criteria and its time for the interview. Our helpful system provides us with some interview questions based on the job, position and our earlier gap analysis. It also lists a range of activities that this particular candidate would need to go through before entirely be up to speed. We now have the information about how long time that might take, and the cost.

We hire the candidate and in the OnBoarding we have a list of development activities for the new employee. The list is produced based on the gap analysis and position requirements and the answers our candidate gave during the application process. From that the sytem did a candidate gap analysis, went into its list of development activities and pulled out a best set for this employee. All you have to do is approve them.

The employee goes through OnBoarding and the development activities. Some of them end up as a record in the employee profile, some of them prompts an addition to the competency profile for the employee.

After a couple of years the team is overstaffed and you need to downsize. The analytics in the system gives you the different scenarios on what competencies you need and how to get a best match with the available team. As always you will end up with a shortage somewhere so the system can not only give you the best scenario, it also produced the list of development activities with time frame and cost you need to plan.

Convinced you need a good integrated system?

In next part we will summarize it all in bullet points to get a list of integration points and data you need to support it. But now lets head home for Christmas and we will get back to development and conclude these posts after Christmas.

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