One of the definitions that has always perplexed me is talent management. If I talk to a dozen people, I'll get several different answers about what talent management is and its individual components.
Lisa Sterling, director of people engagement at Ultimate Software, brought the concept of talent management into focus for me during last week's Connections 2012 conference. She defined talent management as the umbrella covering talent acquisition, onboarding, performance management, compensation, succession planning and career development. More importantly, she defined it as a business process not an HR process.
Now some of you might be saying, "I already knew that." But this is where Sterling shook up conventional wisdom by adding the workforce business data we're hearing about. For example, thousands of employees are reaching retirement age every day. And the Millennial population will outnumber Boomers in the workplace by 2015. Voluntary resignations have reached their highest point since 2008.
It's this kind of business data that is impacting the definition of talent management.
While the components of talent management might remain the same, as business pros we must change our approach to stay current with the times. Sterling cited three well-known examples of how current trends are changing the face of talent management:
1. Technology - It was only a couple of years ago when we were introduced to tablet computers. And now they are a staple in our work lives. Mobile technology is creating opportunities for employees to stay engaged at different levels than before.
2. Social Collaboration - Tools like Yammer allow employees to exchange ideas, solve problems and stay connected no matter where they are. Companies are able to leverage these tools to create a more informed and productive workforce.
3. Social Media - Communication has become individualized. Employees are able to have valuable conversations on a variety of social networks. And we all know the company benefit of good communication.
What I found exciting is that Ultimate Software recognizes these business trends and is enhancing their solutions to meet the changing face of talent management. Sterling said it best when she talked about talent management being a journey not a destination. There will always be new business insights we have to consider. They will always cause us to redefine talent management. The real question we have to keep asking ourselves is "Are we ready for the future of talent management?" Because that's what will keep our business ahead of the curve.