History of Talent Management 101



So how did we get where we are with performance reviews in the first place? Let’s start by taking a look at the history of talent management.

Enter performance reviews.

In 1950, Congress passed the Performance Rating Act. The law was meant to establish a method to rate federal employees. They were marked as one of three subjective levels: outstanding, satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Private and public companies quickly followed suit, rating employees and recording compensation and rewards based on those reviews. Companies also considered the performance review as a way to protect themselves from potential legal squabbles.

Enter forms and spreadsheets.

In an effort to track and manage performance reviews, many in HR developed their own, paper-based versions of a performance review or used available templates. These paper-based forms were stored in an employee file in HR and/or by the employee/manager.

With the introduction of spreadsheet software, the data received from the paper forms was then entered into spreadsheets for bonus and compensation purposes, and to ensure the “box was checked” for each employee’s review. Despite their best efforts, employees and managers were still dissatisfied with this annual rite of passage.

The bottom line was too much time and effort was spent on traditional reviews without the expected results.

Enter automation.

Much has been written about the demise of the annual performance review over the last few years, and the rush to remake a process that both workers and their bosses felt needed repair. Originally, many software vendors simply automated existing processes, using existing performance review forms as the model. Using an old automated process metaphor, they were simply “paving the cow path” because no improvements to the process or structure were made.

The results were somewhat disappointing, with a modular approach, which required users to log in and out of various modules to perform various talent management activities, with data that didn’t transfer from one module to another, and a menu approach to pricing. Many of the earlier systems also required the installation of software to client servers, along with the maintenance and upgrade issues that follow.

Enter automation 2.0.

Fortunately, that has changed and nowadays is changing more rapidly with new vendor entries into the talent management software world. This has forced everyone to take a hard look at the purpose of performance reviews, and make a major shift to a focus on performance improvement and development. Talent management now encompasses not only performance management, but includes succession planning, leadership development, learning and many other processes that were once separate and distinct activities. In fact, some have now coined the phrase talent development or performance development vs. management.

In addition, most vendors are taking an online, integrated, turnkey approach to talent management. As a result, user adoption has improved, costs have come down and the opportunity to analyze employee performance data is much better.

Enter employee engagement.

Now, combine all we know from the above with the increased focus on tackling employee disengagement, which according to a recent Gallup survey is close to two-thirds of workers. The most competitive and productive companies may have the best workers, but when disengagement sneaks in, it can not only take a toll on productivity, it can also affect top talent.

It’s been found that the answers to improving employee engagement lie within talent management itself by using:

  • Competency-based performance development
  • Individual performance goal setting
  • Effective, continuous feedback
  • Coaching and training for performance
  • Rewards for a job well done
  • Social recognition

At the outset, Talent Snapshot® has taken a  process-driven, integrated approach to talent management, making sure that the solution is turnkey and the user experience is intuitive and easy.

Give us a call at 513-528-9700 or contact me by email at jackie@talentmanagementllc.com to discuss your needs and for an online demo.

To view previous stories, click here.

Jackie Messersmith is President and CEO of Talent Management LLC. Talent Management provides consulting services to small to mid-size businesses to put an employee engagement culture and talent strategy in place, and is the developer of Talent Snapshot®, an integrated, competency based, online talent management solutions. Jackie can be reached at 513-528-9700 or jackie@talentmanagementllc.com.