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How technology is changing talent management in 2021 (and beyond)

From cloud technologies to collaboration platforms, we explore a range of talent management solutions.

Nicholas Fearn

two women working in office
Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash.

Unleash Your Curiosity From cloud technologies to collaboration platforms, we explore a range of talent management solutions. 

  • Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the way businesses manage their employees has changed significantly.
  • Cloud technologies, in particular, are allowing businesses to transform talent management processes.
  • Organizations are taking a number of different approaches to manage both current and prospective talent in the modern business landscape — here’s how.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the talent management process. Using these, companies can improve diversity in the workplace, enhance the employee experience, retain and attract employees, increase staff engagement, drive productivity, and so much more. 

Although businesses have been using talent management systems and applications for years, they’re more important than ever in today’s increasingly remote and hybrid workplace.

But what technology solutions are businesses using for talent management, and why? From cloud technologies to collaboration platforms, we explore a range of talent management solutions. 

Talent management is rapidly changing 

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the way businesses manage their employees has changed significantly. Yvette Cameron, senior vice president of HCM global product strategy at Oracle, says: “Organizations had to transition to managing their entire workforce remotely almost overnight because of COVID-19, and the majority of organizations are still undergoing significant adjustments to a world where remote work will persist. 

“From confirming work credentials for new employees on the first day to talent forecasting for a fairly regular cycle, workforce management teams have had to re-think outdated and paper-based processes.”

Along with changes to the workplace brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are also witnessing changing employee expectations that require close attention. “At the same time, workers are increasingly expecting more personalized, intelligent self-service and consumer-like experiences in HR processes like career development and onboarding,” says Cameron.

“That’s where digital solutions have seen a huge increase in interest. For instance, pre-pandemic, many organizations held quarterly forecasting calls to assess any changes to talent or general business risk. With Covid-19, this has become a weekly practice,” Cameron adds.

The power of cloud technology 

While talent management is quickly changing, technology is proving highly useful in this area.

Cloud technologies, in particular, are allowing businesses to transform talent management processes.

Cameron says firms can use cloud innovation to gather real-time data about employee issues, concerns, and movements in order to identify gaps in the workplace, employee risk factors, and other issues.

She tells UNLEASH:

“This puts them in the driving seat when planning how they respond, whether that’s through developing training programs or even redeploying the existing workforce to fill critical new roles.”

Cameron explains that cloud technology is also making HR processes more agile. “A key example is empowering stakeholders to make critical workforce management decisions, quickly,” she explains. “Whether that allows a manager to recruit new talent without multiple sign-offs or submitting a pay increase on the go, via a mobile phone app, technology is empowering managers to make decisions quicker, easier, and at a better cost than ever before.”

In the increasingly connected and remote workplace, effective communication is paramount. And businesses should take steps to facilitate this. “The recent pandemic has also brought into sharp focus the importance of communicating with, connecting to, and supporting employees’ journeys especially in the midst of a crisis,” says Cameron.

“Companies need to be able to get employees the information they need to both do their jobs and live their lives no matter where they are. And because each company is different, they need to be able to design experiences that meet their unique needs while also designing an array of experiences tailored to each individual.”

Over the next few years, hybrid working models and digital HR solutions will continue to disrupt the workplace. Cameron says: “With a hybrid working model on the horizon, these digital solutions will help HR teams to provide a better employee experience, regardless of whether they’re in the office or working abroad. With streamlined processes freeing up time spent on admin, I’m looking forward to what’s next in delivering a great experience for our employees.”

Developing an innovative workplace culture 

Fostering a culture where employees are motivated to innovate and thrive is fundamental in modern business operations, says Debbie Irish, head of human resources for HP in the UK and Ireland. 

“We can’t be pioneers without a diverse talent pool – in terms of gender and ethnicity — and so across the business we prioritise our development of a thriving, balanced workforce using our global and local diversity, equity and inclusion principles,” explains Irish.

Her view is that technology can improve workplace diversity, especially in the recruitment process.

She says: “Recent research highlighted in the UK 52% of job adverts are phrased with gendered wording, making it unconsciously biased towards men. Technology can help de-bias hiring processes, and all HP job adverts are run through a ‘Gender Decoder’ language software before going live, and we’ve done for this many years.”

Although the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for businesses and their employees, the subsequent rise of remote and hybrid working has been positive across the entire corporate landscape. Irish says:

“In terms of how Covid-19 has impacted the way we look at talent management, it’s safe to say that this new hybrid working world means access to talent and the way our people interact with one another has never been easier.”

She believes that the use of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other collaboration technologies in the workplace will also offer significant benefits for HP and other large companies once the pandemic subsides. “Geography is playing a less important role,” she adds, noting that technology will allow the organization to continue re-inventing itself.

different approaches and technology 

Organizations are taking a number of different approaches to manage both current and prospective talent in the modern business landscape, according to Cielo senior vice president of global operations Matt Jones. 

“Organizations are starting to apply some of the principles of external sourcing and customer relationship management (CRM) strategy to internal populations of talent and are moving away from reactive internal mobility (a process that places the emphasis on the employee) to an internal talent marketplace approach where skills, profiles and the capabilities of employees are matched to the future needs of the organization. Individuals are then proactively engaged by a talent acquisition team,” he says. 

“This approach is driven by the greater flexibility we have seen where talent can be based geographically in multinational companies. On the other hand, external talent is becoming less location-based and is allowing organizations to find the right talent for the available role, irrespective of the candidate’s location. This is especially evident in vacancies where specific skills are in high demand, such as roles with a digital focus.”

As well as applying a wide variety of approaches and principles to the talent management process, businesses are also leveraging many different technologies here.

“Enterprise Human Capital Management (HCM) continues to be the backbone of many multinational companies, but there is now a realization that while these tools provide a connection to the enterprise resource planning strategy, they can be left lacking for certain use cases,” explains Jones.

“This means that investment will continue in CRM, AI, Intelligent Automation (IA) in the point-solution layer to give organizations what they need to identify, attract, engage, and retain top talent.”

While lots of talent management solutions exist today, how are technology vendors actually servicing organizations’ needs? Jones explains they’re increasingly becoming more connected to each other in order to solve multiple and evolving use cases. 

But despite this, he says there’s currently a gap in evaluating an organization’s tech stack before the purchase or sale of software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools. He tells UNLEASH:

“This can lead to ‘cluttered’ talent acquisition tech stacks that don’t quite meet the needs of the business. It is vital that vendors put the process and service companies want at the center of any technology selection and purchase.”

“Seamless technology solutions that are designed to meet todays’ talent acquisition needs are available, but it is important that they are also future-proofed for the recruitment needs of tomorrow.”

Jones adds that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many organizations releasing themselves from location-based team and workplace norms so that they can open up their internal and external talent pools. He says: “The acceleration of the virtual approach to work has facilitated this, and while there is little doubt many organizations and employees have been pushed too far, too fast, there are more innovative work practices incubating in this environment.”

Over the past few years, the talent management process has undergone massive changes with the rise of new HR and workplace technologies.

Today, businesses are using a range of systems and solutions for managing talent, and these are offering massive rewards. While these technologies have become even more critical during the pandemic, they’ll undoubtedly grow in sophistication and adoption in the years to come. 

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