Talent Management Technology: Automate and Analyze Your Metrics

Oct. 23, 2008
It is the combination of technology, tech savviness, and concrete planning that ultimately guarantees best-in-class talent management.

The manufacturing sector requires special attention to its HR processes, simply due to the very nature of its recruitment practices. Corporations such as Consolidated Container Co. and Brother International have to not only keep track of regular hires, but also hourly-employees, part-time workers, and walk-in applicants on a daily basis. In this context, figuring out which application is the best fit for your company's profile and future production trajectory is a essential to managing talent.

HR gurus everywhere are championing talent management technology as the next step to twenty-first century tech savviness, but what does this mean for the average manufacturer? To address these concerns, we have found key differentiators to consider when "shopping" for talent management solutions. Formulated on client survey responses in the manufacturing department, our focus boils down to the following issues: what software solutions are right for your organization? Additionally, how can you optimize their strategic value? Are you getting a good return on your investment?

Implemented strategically, HR technology can boost manufacturing ROI, improving both the quantity as well as quality of your human capital. Yet left to its own devices, it functions as all other unmanned oars behave: deadweight.

For those of you who have yet to select and implement HR software, talent management technology can appear to be an intimidating investment. But it doesn't have to be. Talent management applications can save you significant amounts of time and money simply by virtue of automating and streamlining everyday HR processes. Get rid of all the resumes piling at your desk. Ditch tedious hours plugging information into excel sheets. Let go of Microsoft Word. Efficiency boils down to software that speaks to the heart of most HR problems, that is, time-consuming manual operations.

But let's take it one step farther. Talent management applications can function as a stepping stone to a potentially larger picture. If leveraged to run and track relevant workforce analytics, HR solutions can very well make a bottom-line impact on business outcomes. "Truly strategic talent management often involves higher-level thinking. You have to identify clear business goals and deliverables, then possess the drive to meet those goals via meaningful workforce metrics," explains Susan Vitale, marketing director of iCIMS. "I'm not saying automation is a step down. On the contrary, it's a very forward-looking shift, one enabling manufacturing companies to juggle part-time workers, hourly-workers, and walk-in recruitment processes with more ease and efficiency. I'm only pointing out the potential to achieve more with your talent management applications-run reports, surveys, etc. Automate and then analyze your metrics."

Talent management solutions can offer more than resume storage space or upgraded excel sheets for manufacturing moguls. They can serve as tools for broader change, revamping your company's entire approach to HR. That being said, listed below are five key factors to consider when deciding what talent management applications are best suited for your organization and how to make the most out of them:

  • Establish clear business goals. Determine what quotas, deadlines, projects, or problems you are trying to solve in the long-run. Are you looking to cut costs? Decrease time-to-fill? Boost ROI? Improve your retention rate? Or standardize recruiting practices? Asking the right questions are often half the battle.
  • Think smart, think strategy. Talent management applications are only a means to an end. They have evolved from being merely automating tools and resume storage-space into forces that enable corporations to empower themselves-realize smart business goals by leveraging relevant workforce metrics. The possibilities are endless: performance evaluation, key trend identification, surveys, data reports, and the list goes on. The real challenge rests in strategically deploying these functions to drive and attain your talent management goals. Automation is but the first step in an overarching process. Strategic thinking additionally involves asking yourself what your company's plans for future growth are. Are you growing or maxed out already? Growing firms have growing needs. So why purchase a point solution that will become obsolete when your business expands? Scalable solutions are a better choice, preferably talent management suites or platforms rather than niche applications.
  • Seamless integration. How well-integrated are your applications? Segregate modules equate with increased user difficulty and non-standardized data, which, in turn, make meaningful analysis and tracking metrics that much more cumbersome. Non-integrated talent management solutions, in short, simply don't communicate well with each other. So recognizing these potential pitfalls, selecting applications that are more integration-friendly is integral.
  • Look for user-friendly software and follow-through with intensive employee training. Are your application tools inherently easy-to-use? Are your employees, in turn, comfortable using the system? There's no point installing new software if no one bothers to use it, or worse, uses it inappropriately because it's inaccessible. HR directors need to take the initiative to make certain they purchase practical-minded solutions and coach their staff thoroughly on how to operate them. Maximize your technology ROI by focusing on product accessibility and system adoption.
  • Proven client satisfaction makes all the difference. A product is only as strong as the people behind it. When shopping for talent management solutions, keep in mind a vendor's business values, support services, as well as commitment to client training and education. Ask for references, not to mention a provider's client retention rate. Especially during this economic recession, partnering with a technology vendor that is financially stable, profitable, and reliable in the long-run can make or break your recruiting and retention rates.

At the end of the day, knowing the right issues to address and the right levers to pull will ensure profits for manufacturers, as they stay up-to-date with HR's evolving surface. It is the combination of technology, tech savviness, and concrete planning that ultimately guarantees best-in-class talent management.

iCIMS is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider focused on solving corporate business issues through the implementation of easy-to-use web-based software solutions. For more information visit www.icims.com or view a free online demo of the platform at www.icims.com/demo.

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