All You Need Is One For HR, Talent Management

It has to be one of the biggest software industry no-brainers of all time — the idea to converge human resources management and talent management software.

As the software industry has been figuring out that companies may actually appreciate a converged HR and talent management system, customers either decided to purchase two separate systems, or chose the less expensive alternative of keeping talent management as a paper-based process. Triplicate forms, anyone?

Take McKee Foods Corp., which produces Little Debbie snack cakes, Heartland Cereal, Sunbelt snacks, and other goodies. The company has been using Workday as its core HR system for about 6,400 employees since April 2009. I recently spoke with several McKee HR and IT managers.

They’re in the early stages of testing Workday’s new talent management features, in the hopes of replacing an existing paper-based process they’ve used for the past 10 or so years. They’ve looked at standalone talent management systems in the past, but found them cost-prohibitive, so had stuck with paper. Obviously, a huge benefit of Workday 10 is that talent management is now part of the system — customers don’t pay extra and implementation is a business decision rather than an IT project.

Workday 10 Includes Talent ManagementIt seems counterintuitive that HR systems haven’t always included the ability to track and record such things as employee skills and goals — along with hours worked and absences — since the quality of a workforce is so important to any company’s success.

The biggest challenge, the McKee folks told me, would be the organizational change management required in moving from their currently well-defined process for managers to a new system. Floyd Walterhouse, McKee’s I/S Group Manager, says an implementation of Workday’s talent management system would be “90% culture and 10% technical.”

As are many things in the world of enterprise software implementations, right? But it’s clear users see real promise in the convergence of HR and talent management systems. It’s nothing short of a no-brainer.