Just a few short years ago, it really seemed like the vendor space was leading the market with all sorts of great new functionality and new ways to think about the world. After all, what would we have done if SoftScape had not coined the term “Talent Management”? (I’m pretty sure it was them, but I’m not 100% sure, so if I’m wrong, don’t crucify me please) Talent Management gave HR a completely new lease on life, helped us get the attention of executives, and got many of us the proverbial “seat at the table”.” TM provided us a way manage our Human Resources, whereas before we were just another resource.
The SaaS vendor space provided us with dashboards while the rest of the organization was implementing them, but HR didn’t have the budgets or the technical capability. We got analytics for cheap from vendors when our organizations didn’t seem to see the value of a $MM implementation for HR.
But lately, it feels like we’ve taken hold of all the new technologies and the opportunities it brought us and we are not trying to push our vendors faster and further rather than being tugged along. While vendors consolidate and focus on platform integration, we’ve all moved on to thinking about long term talent management that goes beyond the processes of today and looks at the planning for 2 and 3 years from now. We’re wanting to understand workforce planning and implement technologies to help us with it. We want to understand internal mobility and get a handle on how increasing mobility engages, develops and retains our employee base.
But it’s not really all the vendor’s fault. Sure, the vendors (some of them anyway) tell us they have some functionality, or that it’s on the way, but we in HR are certainly now pushing rather than pulling. The problem for the vendors is that most of the new work is pure analytics and decision support. To do workforce planning, we need to be able to project out where our businesses are growing and what skill-sets we will need a few years down the road. Often, HR does not yet have this level of visibility in the organization. Sometimes, the business as a while does not have the ability to know what the future brings in highly project and contract based businesses. Others of us have more stable sales and business cycles that can be predictable.
I think we’ve gone forward with our thinking, but both the HR and Vendor capabilities are lagging, and we have come to count on the vendor space to provide us a solution for our problems. Unlike with Talent Management where many of us didn’t even know we needed it, now we know we have an itch to scratch – and we are eagerly awaiting a stick to scratch it with. I’m sure it will be great… (just hurry up already)