Integrated Talent Management Basics

In today’s rapid-paced business environment, it’s all too easy to forget one of the most important themes to emerge in the HR function of the last couple decades – integrated talent management. It’s the Holy Grail of what talent management departments and personnel should be about. Making it happen is no easy task, however, which is why it seems to slip off the radar screens of so many organizations. Here are the basics of integrated talent management to keep in mind:


Bringing various functions together. Remember that the basic goal of integrated talent management is to keep various functions from becoming separated from one another into functional silos that fail to weave together into an integrated whole. This means making sure there are clear connections between such functions as talent acquisition, workforce planning, performance management, learning/development, compensation/benefits, and succession planning. Each one of these functions must be thought of as the spoke of wheel. If you take a bicycle wheel and remove one of the spokes, it’s only a matter of time before other spokes come loose and the entire wheel becomes a compromised, dysfunctional mess. That’s what integrated talent management aims to avoid. Each individual function is part of a whole that affects all the other pieces of that whole, which is why integration is the goal.

Alignment to company strategy and goals. The most essential starting point for integrating talent management functions is to align all of them with organizational goals and strategies. The latter must absolutely drive the former. What is too often the case is that units within an organization make talent decisions based on what their unit needs, without looking at the bigger organizational picture. That’s when things start to fall apart. All decisions about talent must be made within the context of the overall company’s strategies and goals, not based on the needs of individual departments and units. And that means that unit directors must be well-versed by company leadership in just what those bigger goals and strategies are.

Integration is aided by robust technologies. Another essential aspect of integrated talent management is making sure you have the technological platform needed to facilitate integration of what might otherwise be disparate functions. The choices here are endless, and I’ve reviewed various talent management software packages in articles on this website that are worth checking out, because not all talent management software packages are created equal. It’s important to get the right technology that fits the unique integration needs at your company.

If you know that integration is lacking among your various talent management functions, what should you do? Here are five essential steps to engage in a course correction:

  1. Form an integration team. You need a group of people to serve as a guiding force and be internal champions in the process – they should be people who have some clout and are tech savvy as well. There should be at least one from the C-suite.
  2. Diagnostics. This should include not only assessing the lack of integration, but also defining why integration needs to happen and what you expect to get out of it.
  3. Technological direction. If you’re lacking integration, more than likely you’re going to need a new technology solution to facilitate integration. Take the time to clearly define what you need a new solution to deliver so you choose the right one.
  4. Getting buy-in. All your efforts at integration are for naught if you don’t have buy-in from the right stakeholders and leaders in the organization. To get that buy-in, you need robust communication strategies as well as a very strong business case.
  5. Implementing and Evaluating. Having a clearly defined implementation strategy is essential, as well as a plan for dealing with resistance. Then you need to evaluate progress and show results in order to make the change lasting.

Fully integrating your talent management functions is not small feat, but the tangible benefits of doing so vastly outweigh the pain of change. Make it a priority at your organization today.

March 27, 2015   Updated :April 3, 2015   ITM basics, talent management   

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