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Focusing on the Whole Person

This is part of a special advertising section focusing on the talent management outlook.

Monday, April 2, 2012
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Have you ever looked up an acquaintance or business contact on a social-networking site? Did you notice how much you can learn about him or her in seconds? Social-media sites have provided an interesting precedent for HR by delivering a more holistic view of a person -- from work experience to personal passions to family life -- that peers can easily access to decide whether or not to network with that person online.

Social networking has tapped into the fundamental truth that people are multifaceted individuals. We all know this intuitively. The influences of work, peers, knowledge, skills and experience are inextricable from one another in understanding the whole person. For HR -- this has meant an emerging trend of viewing employees as holistic people -- rather than just evaluating skills, or performance ratings, or past work experience in isolation.

Progressive HR teams are applying the lessons of the social phenomenon in their own business environments. HR leaders today are demanding people-management technologies that support the view of the holistic employee. This means HR and talent-management applications don't just list people's skills, salary history or prior jobs. Strategic HR teams are now looking for technology solutions to support a multidimensional view of their people. What motivates and inspires them. What their aspirations are. And how best to cultivate their talent and potential to optimize business results.

By harnessing a view of the whole employee, managers and HR can more quickly and effectively identify high performers, develop succession plans, assess strengths, handle performance issues and more.

Since many of us don't have time to wade through siloed systems, different reports, lists and spreadsheets to gather all the available data on employees -- the right HR technology platform can be extremely powerful. With the right technology -- you can access a more comprehensive view of each person, and gain insight into your talent gaps, near instantaneously.

The Lessons of Social Business

When you visit someone's LinkedIn or Facebook page, you typically don't just see a segment of that person. Instead, you see a more complete view of that individual: his or her strengths, preferences, personality, skills and unique goals. HR solutions that consolidate end-to-end HR data can provide consolidated views of key employee information, which can be used in both decision-making and career-development processes.

For example, end-to-end HR solutions allow managers to look at all aspects of an individual such as historical performance ratings, salary, education, job functions and other relevant details. This new level of flexibility gives managers a holistic view of the employee, which enables them to complete a more objective performance assessment. When assessing performance and assisting employees with the creation of goals, it can be helpful to have a person's work experience, prior years' performance details, training, skills and certifications, and historical compensation details readily available.

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Talent Analytics that Open Silos

Many HR teams are divided into functional roles such as recruitment, training, benefits management, etc., so many of us are used to thinking and acting in these silos.

With the new idea of a person-centric, holistic approach gaining momentum, HR teams can go beyond traditional HR functions to innovative HR that makes strategic workforce decisions and impacts overall business results.

Using a human capital management solution with comprehensive information on employees, you can combine metrics such as wages, performance ratings over time, previous managers, details on those managers, time-and-attendance patterns, and job history to determine not just if someone is performing as needed but also why they are successful or not successful.

By using talent analytics from end-to-end functionality, HR can do much more than just identify trends and patterns within the workforce. This intelligence can signal causes of performance problems that would not be otherwise readily apparent, and even better, the level of detail with these analytics can save an important resource from leaving the company or being terminated.

People can be complex, and only by viewing skills, competencies, background, interests and more through a holistic analysis can HR work with leadership to successfully and strategically manage the people your company depends on to make decisions that drive and impact the business.

The result means tighter alignment between talent management and company strategies.

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