Intro to Talent Management Software

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Talent management software according to a recent Forbes Magazine article by Josh Bersin, “has now become a mandatory part of corporate HR infrastructure.”  In just a few years technology that was seen as a ‘nice to have’ or  even ‘unnecessary’ addition to corporate human resources have become indispensable to Fortune 500 in today’s highly connected talent marketplace.

The HR Technology vendors started adopting the term “Talent Management Software” a few years ago at the enterprise level and it has now reached companies outside of the F500 – most of the SMB and Mid-Market buyers (Under 15,000 employees).   With the term being someone loosely defined in the enterprise market, the widespread marketing use among mid market vendors can be confusing since each vendor seems to have defined “Talent Management” software differently.

So, what exactly is Talent Management Software? 

Talent management software is the supporting platform of what enterprises need in a cohesive talent management system – basically it is software to help recruit, retain and engage employees.  It is an integrated platform of products that used to be sold individually – and in many cases still can be from most of the vendors.   In a mature vendor – the reporting and analytics are approached in a more integrated way giving the organization better visibility to see the impact of one portion of the talent life cycle more directly on another.

While not all companies that offer talent management software include (or are good at) all of them, in general, there are 3 key components of Talent Management Software:


A basic applicant tracking system and on boarding process is now folded into many of these systems.  With many of the vendors that focus on Talent Management, the recruiting portion is not their primary specialty.  Of all the product segments, this tends to be the least mature within the space.   However, with the change in how the ATS is being used and much of the sourcing and activity being done in supplemental solutions (like Recruiting CRM, video interviewing, job distribution platforms, etc) this will likely just be your core for the other plug in play technology your recruiting team actually uses to fill jobs.

The role of the recruitment program in integrated Talent Management is better identify where successful employees are coming from and be able to target and recruit them more efficiently in the future.

Performance & Goal Management

Regular performance reviews have been common place at organizations for decades and the evolution to online management has become much more standard over the last 7 years with industry leaders creating software that went beyond moving the paper review to online. New performance software has goal management, ongoing dialogue, coaching training and more.   Making sure that both the leader and employee can see how company goals are integrated with work performance expectations is what the best performance management systems do.  The best talent management software states and quantifies those goals and realistically measures performance against those goals.

Then there are the residual benefits of the performance records that this kind of software produces. When managers can correlate trends on the company’s ledger with the peaks and valleys of performance records, the latter quickly becomes another company asset (or liability).  Many of the vendors playing in the Talent Management space excel at this section of the product.

Learning/Training & Development

Ongoing learning has been shown to have a direct impact on overall success of an organization.  Learning software allows an organization to distribute and track ongoing training and development of its employees.  While some systems come pre-loaded with training, it is really designed to allow you to have fully customized programs specializing on the needs of your industry, company and workforce.

Knowing how people are performing, being able to access and create development plans for them from the point of hire gives an organization a leg up on the competition that is not proactive or doesn’t have a way to effectively distribute and manage the program.

In addition to the core 3 – some vendors are also rolling in:

  • Compensation Management 
  • Succession Planning  
  • Recognition/Rewards


The real value  of the integrated talent management solution is the visibility and insight it provides to a company that uses it very strategically. Unfortunately, not all solutions are as integrated from an analytics and reporting ability – leaving them much more as a single solution sign on product and not truly integrated talent management software at all. Ensuring a true deep dive during demo and having people from each of the segments (recruiting, performance & learning) participate in the selection process from the beginning will help you identify where any product issues may come up within your organization.

  1. suresh says

    Hi Sarah, Thanks for sharing basic knowledge on widely discussed subject.
    Can you also share your inputs on learning/training and development software and a learning management system. Are they two different systems or a single one ?


  2. […] Intro to Talent Management Software, by Sarah White, HR Tech Blog […]

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