Why there’s hope for Talent Profiles
Posted by Amy Wilson on September 1, 2009
PeopleSoft introduced the concept of comprehensive profile management in 2005. Since then it has become a requirement of any integrated talent management platform. The idea is to provide a full picture of people and jobs (not just competencies) so that organizations can make more effective talent-related decisions. Everyone agrees it is the right end goal.
Trouble is, right now it is very much an end goal. Last month, Leighanne Levensaler of Bersin wrote that organizations (even the early-adopting, ahead-of-the-curve kind) have been slow to adopt (and more importantly, profit from) comprehensive profiles. Leighanne has done mountains of research and has found that there are several reasons for this. Some are vendor limitations, but the #1 issue is that organizations just aren’t ready. However, I think there’s hope. And here’s why:
First, we need to re-do the Profile to Competency equation.
The idea with profiles is to provide a fuller picture of people, to capture more information about jobs, etc. Fuller? More? To me, that sounds like Profiles > Competencies. Well, no wonder implementing profiles sounds like an impossible dream! Very few organizations can get a competency framework identified … and now they have to do more? So, the first thing we need to do is change the equation to Profiles < Competencies. Profile Management can include competencies, but it can also include far simpler things that can be extremely beneficial to organizational decision making. For example, the profile may include past experiences, mobility preferences, and key interest areas. Just understanding what people are really thinking and doing can get you pretty far in your talent strategy. Getting that all lined up across organizations and job levels can come later.
So this brings us to our next hurdle. How do we get people to tell us what they’re thinking and doing?
Second, we need to re-do the Profile to Pronoun equation.
The idea with profiles is to collect as much information as we can about people, so we can use portions of that information to start making decisions about them. Hey, if I were a “people” I would absolutely want to give you information. (so that you can start making decisions about me? … hmm maybe not). That sounds like Profiles = capture information about them to make decisions about their future. And you wonder why, even if you have notifications and approvals on your self service, the people are not contributing? So, the second thing we need to do is change the equation to Profiles = share information about me so that I can make decisions about my future. It’s all about me! The profile should be considered a mechanism for self-development and advancement first and foremost. Once you wrap it in sticky, helpful processes, your people will contribute. Simple information at first. Then more.
And, voila! You’ve got yourself a profile management platform. And, it’s helping you make more effective talent decisions sooner. Now, you can start insisting it be secured according to your needs.