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Tools for Talent Management


Staffing in a slowed economy requires more than a conservative approach and a skillful balancing act. When times are as tough as they are now, a healthy dose of the right technology may be just the tool needed for smart and cost-effective labor management.

Chris Twyman, CEO of Brookline, Mass.-based talent-management solution provider Zapoint, spoke with Chain Store Age senior editor Katherine Field about ways to identify, hire, manage and retain associates at a time when the process couldn’t be more difficult—or more important.

Given the current economic climate, how important is talent identification and management for retailers? 

Today, managing talent is a central issue for organizations worldwide and has established itself as a key business strategy. Yet many organizations are unprepared and unequipped for locating, maintaining and developing high-potential employees. These pressing concerns have given rise to talent-management software applications. By definition, talent-management tools are designed to automate a company’s efforts to hire, manage and develop employees so individual and collective talents are focused on meeting strategic business objectives. Talent-management technologies are essential in a low-growth economy. The right talent-management-software technology helps organizations optimize their work forces to take advantage of new opportunities to deliver significant business-performance benefits in the midst of financial constraints.

Why are more and more retailers turning to technology to identify, hire and maintain their talent? 

Retailers, not unlike most companies, need to identify high-potential employees to help ensure the satisfaction of corporate goals, as well as for future high-impact positions. However, intensifying competition among retailers has created challenges in retaining employees and the valuable knowledge they possess about the organization, processes, strategies, even buyer and customer relationships. Not only is this costing retailers thousands of dollars in replacement and new-employee training expenses, but retailers risk far more if they lose critical employees—their most knowledgeable workers—to the competition.

How can retailers best avoid exorbitant expense, and high risk, associated with hiring and retention? 

As previously mentioned, talent-management tools are designed to automate a company’s efforts to hire, manage and develop their work force. The right technology solution empowers line-of-business (LOB) managers and HR practitioners to identify future leaders for future high-impact positions, deploy the skills necessary to carry out corporate goals, build plans that foster employee retention and development, and empower workers to capture and share invaluable knowledge to empower and drive innovation.

What are the specific benefits to be gained from injecting the right tech tools into the talent-management process? 

Despite widespread adoption of human-resources management systems (HRMS) and talent-management software applications, many companies still find themselves unequipped for locating, maintaining and developing high-potential employees. Part of the problem resides in the fact that many of the talent-management software applications are designed to automate one or two discrete HR functions as opposed to managing the entire talent-management value chain. In doing so, many of these applications provide disparate views and insights into talent, making it impossible to integrate across HR functions.

With the right tools, LOB managers and HR practitioners can instantly identify high-potential employees, understand the relationships between certain skills and business outcomes, make fact-based decisions to redeploy existing resources to expand into new markets, and properly align employee skills and performance to corporat goals.

What is the Zapoint Enterprise tool, and how does it work to help accomplish what you’re describing? 

Zapoint Enterprise is an online, multi-functional talent-management application. Designed using HR and recruiting best practices, the latest in Web 2.0 and social-networking technology, Zapoint provides an effective and simple approach for identifying high-potential employees and optimizing the work-force talent. Zapoint streamlines talent-management processes and helps business managers establish the link between talent and business performance. The tool allows businesses to identify the skills necessary to carry out company objectives, and identify high-potential employees critical to an organization’s success. Zapoint Enterprise combines integrated capabilities and features for work-force planning, skills benchmarking, performance and goals management, succession planning, enterprise social networking and various work-force-related analytics and reporting.

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