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Materiel Advantage: A winning talent management strategy requires technology to bolster the troops.

by Kate Pavao

CEOs are worried about talent management. PwC’s 15th Annual Global CEO Survey, published in 2012, found 31 percent of CEOs believe talent constraints have limited their ability to innovate; 29 percent said they were unable to pursue an opportunity (pwc.to/N2hBkB). It’s no wonder that 78 percent of CEOs plan to change their talent management strategy in the next 12 months.

Blessing Headshot

In April, Oracle completed the acquisition of Taleo, the leading provider of cloud-based talent management solutions that help attract, develop, motivate, and retain human capital to improve performance and drive growth. The combination is expected to help executives optimize costs while recruiting and retaining the talent they need.

Investing in people makes sense, says Jason Blessing, senior vice president of products and technology for Oracle Taleo solutions. “As people gain more skills and expertise, they become more valuable to the company,” he says. “Ultimately, it’s people who come up with ideas and insights that drive new products and market opportunities for companies.”

Here, Blessing talks to Profit about how Oracle customers can gain from the acquisition of Taleo, and how to create a talent management strategy that works for today’s workforce.

Profit: Why is talent management a C-level issue?

Blessing: In the coming decade, baby boomers will start retiring. Many baby boomers are key leaders—vice presidents, directors, and C-level executives—so this segment of the population is leaving a big void in the workforce.

Also, the generation coming into the workforce has a completely different set of expectations about how their career should be managed. They want higher-fidelity conversations with managers about how they’re performing, rather than annual contact during an employee review. They also want to understand how their work relates to the overall strategic objectives of their company.

Companies can build talent rather than buy it, which is always the most expensive approach.

Profit: How does Oracle’s acquisition of Taleo help Oracle customers address these challenges?

Blessing: Oracle already has great global human resources capabilities, such as core HR, payroll, and benefits. Taleo adds great talent management software designed for managers and employees to manage the people side of the business.

Our recruiting product helps companies find and track top talent; our performance management product allows employees to set goals that align with overall corporate objectives; our compensation software allows managers to pay for performance.

Also, Taleo offers succession-planning software to make sure there’s an ample pipeline in the talent pool. And we offer learning software, so younger managers can access the training and tools they need to move into these roles as they become open.

Profit: How can talent management software help managers identify hidden talent within their ranks?

Blessing: Oracle Taleo applications feed into common talent profiles for employees, which aggregate work histories, performance reviews, and some of their strengths and competencies.

Employees can also express interest and capabilities tangential to their jobs. Perhaps somebody is an engineer, but has a law degree and would like to become an attorney and help open an office in a new geography. This aspect of the profile plays well with workers of that younger generation wanting to take control of their own development plan.

Having better composite statistics about the skills you have in-house can help you better staff new projects and reengineer business processes. Companies can build talent, rather than buy it, which is always the most expensive approach.

Profit: What is the impact of social networking?

Blessing: One of the biggest expenses for any HR department is the money spent recruiting and interviewing prospects. Social networking can completely revolutionize sourcing, making finding employees more affordable and effective.

Executives are asking employees to connect trusted contacts, via social networks, to open positions. Studies show new hires referred by an employee have a much higher retention rate. Oracle Taleo technology allows customers to distribute job openings through social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Our customers see tremendous ROI on candidates coming through these networks.

78%
OF CEOs
plan to change their talent management strategy in the next 12 months. (Source: PwC’s 15th Annual Global CEO Survey, 2012)

Also, prior to Facebook, the concept of activity feeds, following objects of interest, and robust discussions among groups online did not exist. Nor did the user interface have constructs for them. Bringing those constructs into the talent management software gives our tools a consumerlike look and feel, making them more familiar and easier to use.

Profit: Can talent management software help executives protect against fluctuations in the market?

Blessing: Having a better thumbnail of what your workforce looks like—what employees’ skills and competencies are, where people are located, how much you’re paying for labor in different markets—is strategic information that allows leadership to react as economic cycles ebb and flow. That way, executives can distribute their workforce to meet business opportunities that have the strongest ROI.

Kate Pavao is a regular contributor to Profit.

 
 
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