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Talent management needs more tech investment, says PA Consulting

PA Consulting Group’s Jennifer Cable, a talent expert, is quoted in an article in Personnel Today. The article looks at the findings of PA’s talent research, The Future is Fluid. The research found that although talent management is top of most CEOs’ agendas, their enthusiasm to invest in HR technology does not reflect this.

According to the survey findings, there is a mismatch between chief executives’ desire to get talent management activities right and their investment in technology; only 3.6% of CEOs and HR directors had a coherent approach for analysing talent-related data.

Jennifer points out: “The say-do gap is huge. It seems that talent management is belief led rather than metric led, but you name me another critical area of competitive advantage where activity is not being backed up with concrete data.”

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A key problem, she explains, is that HR-related IT “seems to be a poor relation for investment”. But without embracing analytics, and big data in particular, employers are unlikely to be “agile enough to have a strong chance of securing talent in areas where there are growing skills gaps”.

Big data systems could be used to build up a comprehensive picture of employees but as Jennifer points out, this isn’t yet being done: “Absolutely no one is doing this today – it’s more of a cutting-edge idea. It’s about having the confidence to do it, but also about creating the business case for the expenditure.”

A small number of companies are “starting to take lessons from marketing”, she adds. This involves pulling data from disparate systems, ranging from human capital and performance management to training in order to create a single view of the employee – not unlike the customer relationship management systems of old.

Jennifer concludes: “Just think how much richer and more effective conversations with employees could be if you had all of this information at your fingertips, rather than relying on a quick half-hour conversation during an appraisal. This kind of technology offers a massive opportunity for HR.”

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