Streamlining performance reviews with talent management software

By Robert Half on 14 May 2014

As managers, we all agree that a performance review is beneficial and necessary for an employee’s career development. However, more often than not the thought of it brings a feeling of dread. What forms to fill out, the documentation, paperwork, trawling through emails... We’ve all been there.

One way to ease the process is by using talent management software.

What is talent management software and where did it come from?

The Human Resources (HR) function has evolved from being largely transactional to covering more strategic activities, and the need for processes to facilitate talent management has also grown.

Until recently, recruitment, performance management, compensation, employee development, and succession planning have been discreet HR functions although the connections and dependencies are apparent.

Talent management software applications offer modules for each function to replace heavily administrative tasks while standardising processes and collecting valuable data. Integrated solutions facilitate the sharing of information and linking of HR processes across the spectrum of the talent management cycle. So, performance reviews can be linked to development planning, goal planning, compensation and succession planning.

With the onset of integrating talent management systems with enterprise-wide employee data systems (HRM/ERP), the possibilities for generating and analysing Big Data has exploded.

More recently, stand-alone software is being gradually replaced by cloud-based or SaaS (software as a service), making automated talent management accessible to organisations of all sizes and enabling current trends of employee self-service and mobile application use.

How does it help the manager?

Far from the traditional method of shuffling multiple revisions of paper-based reviews, current talent management solutions make the tools for performance reviews available from anywhere, at a tap or click, while retaining security and privacy safeguards.

The right forms and current revisions are readily available with instructions and tools for their effective use, freeing the manager to focus on the review rather than the administration. From inside the system the manager can solicit feedback from others, incorporate employee-generated status reports and, when complete, send copies to the employee, upper management and HR.

Why would companies use talent management software?

Along with its labour-saving aspects, talent management software provides security over sensitive information. Rather than trying to control multiple copies of paper or electronic performance reviews, it is automated, while making current and archived performance reviews available to those who need them.

An automated process that includes tips and tools helps to ensure the use of a consistent process across the organisation. As steps are logged into the system, management and HR can see where each manager is in the process without looking over their shoulders.

Performance reviews are enhanced and rendered more objective when input from multiple sources is included. Many talent management systems include tools for incorporating feedback from multiple stakeholders on an employee’s performance.

Perhaps most importantly, automated talent management ensures that individual and consolidated performance history is available for fact-based decision making and compliance. With past and current performance reviews readily available to employees, HR and leadership, decisions about promotions, development, performance improvement and terminations can be made using objective, documented data.

How does it improve communication across divisions?

Within Australia, it’s been noted there is a need for talent with multi-level knowledge that can move across sectors.

Company-wide data can be easily compiled with talent management software to gain valuable insights into the workforce, such as identifying organisational areas of strength and weaknesses, assessing training and development needs, and retention risks.

It can also track skills, experience and performance as well as career aspirations of individual employees and match them with needs across sectors, deepening as well as broadening the talent pipeline.

How does it help the employee?

All this helps the employee who is being evaluated, as well as the manager and organisation by bringing objectivity and rigor to the performance review process. Most talent management systems utilise goal planning, which allows managers and their employees to plan individual performance goals that are linked to cascaded organisational goals. This shows employees how their work matters in the larger organisation, and how it can help them achieve their own career goals.

Talent management software has many benefits, however it should be noted that no matter how great the process or tool – it does not replace the human aspect of the performance review and of talent management as a whole. Managers still need training and skills when helping their staff to their best potential.

Jorie Basque is a Customer Account Manager at Halogen Software where she helps customers build their world-class workforces. She has more than 15 years of experience assisting clients improve their businesses through technology solutions.

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