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Research Bulletin | 2012

BERSIN & ASSOCIATES

October 19, 2012

Integrated Talent
Management: A
Roadmap for Success
About the Author

As we move closer to the 2020 workplace, essential to any


organizations success is the ability to build and execute an
integrated talent management strategy.1 This strategy takes time,
necessitates the input and efforts of more than one department, and
requires stewardship from leaders across the organization.
This research bulletin will demonstrate:

Stacia Sherman Garr,


Principal Analyst

The business case for integrated talent management

The three-stage process for integrating talent management

How other organizations have integrated talent management

Bersin & Associates research has shown the strong benefits of


integrating talent management practices. For example, organizations
with fully integrated processes and systems show 29 percent higher
scores in employee engagement, 36 percent higher ratings in
leadership development, and 41 percent higher scores in creating a

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Integrated talent management is three or more connected organizational


processes designed to attract, manage, develop, motivate, and retain key people. These
processes include activities such as performance management, career management,
succession management, leadership development, learning and capability development,
total rewards, and talent acquisition. These processes are integrated through a common
interface, data platform, workflow, and cross-process reporting and analytics.

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pipeline of viable successors.2 The impact of talent management


practices on employee engagement is especially interesting, as research
shows that a 15 percent improvement in employee engagement can
result in a 2 percent uptick in operating margin.3 Integration may also
have an effect on the bottom line by leading to higher retention of
top performers and thus decreasing recruiting costs, or by allowing the
training department to more precisely budget development initiatives.
Along the path to integrated talent management there are a few
key truths:

A foundational understanding of the types of jobs, responsibilities,


and competencies your organization needs is necessary to integrate
core talent management functions and processes.

Integration matters. With a tightly integrated talent management


strategy that aligns to the business, organizations are able to thrive.

The specific path to talent management maturity may vary


depending on the organizations immediate and long-term needs,
but the general approach will remain the same.

Importance of Integrated Talent Management


Integrated talent management is more important now than ever
before. Many organizations are facing intense talent shortages resulting
from scarcities in critical skills, accelerating retirements, and increased
turnover. Integrated talent management is important because it
provides the organization with a clearer understanding of its talent,
the ability to make adjustments to its current approach given that
understanding, and the information necessary to plan for the future. An
example of this in action would be an organization that uses integrated

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For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.
3

For more information, Incentives vs. Recognition: How Do You Get Your Workers
Engaged Again?, Forbes.com/Eric Mosley, November 19, 2009, http://www.forbes.
com/2009/11/19/incentives-recognition-engagement-leadership-ceonetwork-employees_
print.html.

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talent management to identify its most-needed skills, determines how


KEY POINT
Integrated talent
management fuses
human resources
processes together

many more people with those skills are necessary, recruits for those
people (externally or internally), and develops a targeted plan for
retaining current employees who possess those skills. The globalization
of the workplace also increases the need for connectivity between
processes such as career management and learning and development. If
global career paths are tightly knitted with a learning and development
strategy, the organization can improve the success rate of expatriate

at the right places,

assignments and other leadership development initiatives, resulting

leading to tangible

in better-prepared leaders and the more efficient use of talent

benefits for the

management investments. Integrated talent management fuses human

organization.

resources processes together at the right places, leading to tangible


benefits for the organization.

Benefits
The goal of an integrated talent management strategy is to create a
highly responsive, high-performance, sustainable organization that
meets business targets, both today and tomorrow. Currently, only
7 percent of organizations have established a truly mature strategy
while many more, 44 percent, are developing a strategy with mature
processes.4 Our research shows that making the investment in improving
integrated talent management pays off, as the organizations with the
most mature processes achieve superior results:

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26 percent higher revenue per employee

28 percent less likely to have downsized from 2008 to 2009

40 percent lower turnover among high performers

17 percent lower overall voluntary turnover

87 percent greater ability to hire the best people

156 percent greater ability to develop great leaders

This information is based on our current research on the topic of Learning and
Integrated Talent Management, the report for which is due to be published in Q42012.
Please see our ongoing research in this area by visiting www.bersin.com/library.

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92 percent greater ability to respond to changing


economic conditions

144 percent greater ability to plan for future workforce needs5

Levels of Talent Management Integration Maturity


KEY POINT
Only 4 out of 10
survey respondents
reported effective
incorporation of

Most organizations today have not achieved total talent management


integration. In 2010, almost half of U.S. companies said that they
had a well-defined talent strategy and, at that time, were working
to implement that strategy. Two years later, organizations are still
working to effectively implement their strategies. For example, only 4
out of 10 respondents to a survey by Towers Watson reported effective
incorporation of competencies into the performance management

competencies into

process a necessary baseline for understanding how well a job is being

the performance

performed.6 Furthermore, only 37 percent of respondents reported that

management

their organizations are adept at incorporating career development into

process a

the performance management process.7

necessary baseline

The path to integration can be difficult and time consuming. To help

for understanding

organizations understand what this process looks like, we developed

how well a job is

our Bersin & Associates Talent Management Maturity Model (see Figure

being performed.

1). This model describes the levels through which most organizations
move on their path to integrated talent management.

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For more information, Creating Agility Through Integrated People Management Process,
Bersin & Associates/Katherine Jones, Ph.D., July 2012. Available to research members at
www.bersin.com/library.
6

For more information, The Next High-Stakes Quest: Balancing Employer and Employee
Priorities, 20122013 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, Towers Watson,
2012, http://www.towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/7990/TowersWatson-GlobalTMR-SurveyNA-2012(1).pdf. This survey reviewed 1,605 employers across four global regions.
7

Ibid.

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Figure 1: Bersin & Associates Talent Management Maturity Model

Level 4: Strategic Talent Management

Fully integrated processes and systems used to make


business decisions; talent management is business-driven

Level 3: Integrated Talent Management


Heavy focus on connecting systems and processes;
single person / team responsible for talent initiatives

Level 2: Standardized Talent Processes

Talent processes are consistent and tailorable, with some integration;


several systems connected through manual processes

Level 1: Siloed HR Processes

Individual HR processes or silos;


may have systems in place but not connected

Source: Bersin & Associates, 2010.

KEY POINT

Each level, as illustrated in the model, indicates how far an organization


has traveled on the path to integration. At Level 1, organizations

Regardless of the

have yet to explore connecting talent processes or systems, whereas at

size or industry, all

Level 2, talent management integration has been embraced, but with

business entities

room to determine more connection points. Levels 3 and 4 represent

recognize the
benefits of an
integrated talent
management
strategy as their
operations increase
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the upper end of maturity with a talent management strategy that is


aligned with the goals of the business and with technology in place to
support collaboration across processes.
Some organizational demographic features can impact the likelihood
of an organization being more or less mature. For example, older
organizations are unlikely to be at the lowest level of maturity (though
few of them have made it to the highest level of maturity).8 It makes
sense that many of these organizations have moved beyond Level 1
8

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.

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maturity because integration is typically a phased process across multiple


years. Younger organizations, or those in industries slower to adapt to
new trends (e.g., manufacturing), find themselves primarily at Level 1 or
Level 2. The younger organizations may initially place emphasis on other
aspects of the business, such as product development. However, as these
organizations grow, they will recognize the benefits of integrated talent
management and allocate resources toward building a strategy in the
future. Regardless of the size or industry, all business entities recognize
the benefits of an integrated talent management strategy as their
operations increase in scope and complexity.
There are clear business advantages for organizations at the highest
level of the maturity ladder. Bersin & Associates research shows that
companies with standardized talent processes, residing at Level 2,
have double the turnover of high performers9 when compared to
companies at Level 4, which possess more strategic, business-driven
talent management.10

Where to Start: The Foundation of Integrated Talent


Management
KEY POINT
Integrating talent
management
requires that senior

What is the first step to moving an organization toward an integrated


talent management strategy? Although it may appear that aligning
processes is the best place to begin, the foundation of integrated talent
management is actually getting the right people on board to establish
and then execute the strategy.

leaders understand

Integrating talent management requires that senior leaders understand

and support

and support integration efforts and that business leaders throughout

integration efforts

the enterprise (with support from HR) implement and own many of

and that business


leaders throughout
the enterprise, with
support
HR,
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A high performer is an employee who is a key contributor, demonstrates high


performance, is capable of a lateral move, may be qualified for a broader role within the same
profession, and has reached the potential to move upward in a management capacity.
10

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.

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those changes.11 The best place to start for any organization trying
to improve its talent management integration is fostering executive
sponsorship, engaging business leaders, and aligning the right
employees to make planning collaborative.12 Involving leadership early
in strategy development engages them in the process and improves buyin. Inviting both leaders and departmental employees to initial working
sessions and kickoff meetings is one way to encourage participation.
The business leaders driving the changes should also be responsible
for identifying resources across the business that can support the
integration of talent management.

A Talent Management Integration Roadmap


With broad support, HR can now focus on integrating talent
management. In Figure 2, we outlined a phased approach for
doing this:
Figure 2: Phased Approach to Integrating Talent Management

Foundational
Integration

Development
Integration

1. Job/Competencies
Definition

1. Learning &
Development
2. Leadership &
Capability
Development
3. Career Development

2. Total Rewards
3. Performance
Management

Talent Pipeline
Integration
1. Succession
Management
2. Talent Acquisition

Source: Bersin & Associates, 2012.

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11

For more information, The High-Impact Learning Organization: WhatWorks in


the Management, Governance and Operations of Modern Corporate Training, Bersin &
Associates/Josh Bersin, May 2008. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library
or for purchase at www.bersin.com/highimpact.
12

For more information, Creating Business Alignment: The Role of Talent Advisory
Councils, Bersin & Associates/Stacia Sherman Garr, September 2011. Available to research
members at www.bersin.com/library.

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Foundational Integration
KEY POINT
The first step in
integrated talent
management

The first step in integrated talent management includes three


elements: ensuring that everyone understands the responsibilities and
behaviors required by the organization, determining how people will
be incentivized to stay in those positions, and identifying how those
employees will be assessed. These elements all fit under what we call

includes three

foundational integration.

elements:

As part of the foundation (see Figure 3), an organization may

ensuring that

begin with an analysis of the talent infrastructure. This includes

everyone

job architecture (also known as a career framework at some

understands the

organizations) and role definitions. To do this, many organizations

responsibilities

define the roles at each level within the organizational hierarchy and

and behaviors

how reporting structures align. Next, HR determines how jobs are going

required by the

to work together. This may lead to adding detail to job profiles and

organization,

identifying which jobs report to others. Job profiles typically include the

determining

required skills, competencies, certifications, work experience, and other

how people will

attributes required for success in a particular role. The process might

be incentivized

take a while because other tasks may also be necessary, such as plotting

to stay in those

and weighting jobs based on their relative importance and contribution

positions, and

to organizational success.

identifying how
those employees

Figure 3: Core Elements of Foundational Integration

will be assessed.
These elements all
fit under what we
call foundational
integration.

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Talent
Infrastructure

Competency
Management

Source: Bersin & Associates, 2012.

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KEY POINT
Nearly two-thirds
of organizations
find that
competencies
serve as a solid

Many organizations will also focus on developing or refining


competencies at this point. Competencies are used to identify the
behaviors necessary to execute job requirements, establish criteria for
evaluating performance, and identify areas for improvement. Nearly
two-thirds of organizations find that competencies serve as a solid
foundation on which to begin integration, and many organizations
use them to help with job leveling.13 For example, job leveling may
involve ranking jobs into tiers or bands that represent responsibilities

foundation on

with regard to management or individual contribution. Skills and

which to begin

competencies will later feed directly into other talent processes such as

integration, and

performance management, learning, and career management. As such,

many organizations

identifying competencies early is critical.

use them to help

Many organizations next shift their focus to total rewards14 and

with job leveling.

performance management (see Figure 4), with the intention of clearly


mapping objectives and rewards back to the overall talent management
strategy.15 Using the job definitions and profiles identified in the
foundational section of the talent management integration roadmap,
market analysis should surface data to support salary and incentive
decisions for most, if not all, roles. The effective use of the results
from the market analysis is key to determining the right total rewards
package. Many organizations find it beneficial to use an integrated
market analysis and job pricing tool and database at this stage so that
they can most effectively map particular roles to compensation.

13

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For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.
14

Total rewards includes incentives, compensation, and benefits.

15

For more information, The Next High-Stakes Quest: Balancing Employer and Employee
Priorities, 20122013 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, Towers Watson,
2012, http://www.towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/7990/TowersWatson-GlobalTMR-SurveyNA-2012(1).pdf. This survey reviewed 1,605 employers across four global regions.

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Figure 4: Integrated Talent Management

Performance
Management

Career
Management
Talent
Infrastructure
Succession
Management

Talent Acquisition
Competency
Management

Leadership
Development

Total Rewards

Learning & Capability


Development
Source: Bersin & Associates, 2010.

KEY POINT
Total rewards
and performance
management

In parallel, or following the integration of a total rewards approach,


is a build-out of an effective performance management process. Total
rewards and performance management connect naturally because
many elements of total rewards, such as bonuses or incentives, are
often aligned with ratings and reviews from the performance appraisal
process. Performance management will later integrate with other

connect naturally

processes such as learning, talent acquisition, leadership development,

because many

and career management. (See Figure 4.)

elements of total
rewards, such
as bonuses or
incentives, are
often &
aligned
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Case in Point: ACTIVE Network, Inc., Tackles Integrated


Talent Management for a Rapidly Growing and Diverse
Workforce
With 25 acquisitions in the past five years, 35 offices in eight
countries, 4,000 employees, and a recent initial public offering,
ACTIVE Network, Inc., is familiar with making rapid changes in a
geographically and generationally diverse organization. ACTIVE,
founded in 1998 and headquartered in San Diego, California,
seeks to make the world a more active place by building the
technology that powers the worlds activities.
Rapid Business Growth Exposes Talent Management Challenges
In parallel with its explosive business growth, ACTIVE began
to experience increasingly visible challenges related to its
talent management processes and procedures. Some of those
issues included:

1,700 different job titles for 2,500 employees

Undefined career paths

Inconsistent salary and rewards structure, which was not


tied to performance

Complicated performance management process,


in which employees were rated on more than 20
separate competencies

Disparate paper and technology systems

Gaining the Support of Leadership


To address these challenges, ACTIVE launched a three-phase
approach to integrated talent management that will help
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the company align processes and, ultimately, engage, grow,


and retain top talent. The company took this approach based
on feedback from employee engagement surveys and an
analysis completed by an employee task force, which included

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Case in Point: ACTIVE Network, Inc. (contd)


20 top performers from across the organization. Working
collaboratively with HR, the task force developed a business
case that was presented to the C-Suite for input, buy-in, and a
commitment to invest in proposed initiatives. John Martinez,
ACTIVEs director of total rewards, stated, We have great
support here, from C-Suite to senior leadership to employees.
The leadership team agreed to a progressive move toward
integrated talent management that will involve new systems
and processes through 2013.
A Solid Foundation and Initial Integration Points
The foundation of the phased approach, which began in 2011,
was to rationalize the job titles in the organization. During
this phase, ACTIVE identified the responsibilities and skills
required for different jobs, distinguishing between technical and
nontechnical roles. The first year was entirely focused on this
process of rationalizing titles and compensation. Through this
process, ACTIVE was able to reduce 1,700 job titles to 800. The
company also instituted a formal process for determining how
new roles would be integrated into the existing set. ACTIVE then
leveraged a team, which included top performers, to identify
the traits necessary to be successful and codified them as the
organizations competencies.
With competencies established, total rewards was selected
as an initial integration point for ACTIVE. In early 2012,
ACTIVE established a market-based pay structure that fit the
organizations geographic diversity and took into account
multiple tiers and job types, distinguishing between technical
and nontechnical career tracks. ACTIVE also restructured
performance management to focus employees on three to
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five goals (down from as many as 20) and aligned pay with
performance. Martinez explained, The parallel process was
coupling pay decisions with performance. In the past, merit
increases occurred in July, and appraisals were held in March.

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Case in Point: ACTIVE Network, Inc. (contd)


There was a disconnect in timing. People instead want us to tell
them how they are doing and then immediately reward them.
Coupling pay decisions with performance was a huge win.
What Is Next?
By the end of 2012, ACTIVE will have launched its new career
path portal and supporting career management processes.
The system will enable employees and managers much better
transparency into employees skills and competencies, as well as
the required skills and competencies for future roles.
By 2013, ACTIVE plans to have jobs clearly defined, a complete
competency model, and a total rewards strategy mapped to

KEY POINT

performance. ACTIVE then expects to complete its three-phase


approach by aligning its training and development programs

The order in which

and systems with the career and reward processes. e

an organization
chooses to
address career
management,
learning, and
leadership
development may

Development Integration
Once competency models and jobs are established, along with
compensation and performance management processes, the
organization can focus on how employees will develop within the
organization. Specifically, HR should identify the desired career paths16

vary. However,

within the organization and the learning necessary to ensure that

because all three

employees can follow those paths (see Figure 5).

processes have
natural synergies

The order in which an organization chooses to address career


management, learning, and leadership development may vary.

among them, they

However, because all three processes have natural synergies among

should be analyzed

them, they should be analyzed and planned for together. For example,

and planned for

an organization could focus first on defining career paths, given the

together.
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job responsibilities and competencies already developed. This enables


employees to see the potential directions they can move within the

16

Career path refers to a planned, logical progression of jobs that may include lateral
and vertical movement within an organization.

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Figure 5: Integrated Talent Management

Performance
Management

Career
Management
Talent
Infrastructure
Succession
Management

Talent Acquisition
Competency
Management

Leadership
Development

Total Rewards

Learning & Capability


Development

Source: Bersin & Associates, 2010.

organization, understand the competencies and skills necessary to


perform the jobs under consideration, and develop a plan for getting
there. To help employees with these efforts, the organization also needs
to create the learning and leadership development support necessary
for moving along those various paths.
Alternatively, the organization could conduct a gap analysis of lowand high-performing employees within various roles (based on data
from performance appraisals and other assessments), create learning
and leadership development resources to address those gaps, and
then determine potential career paths. In 2010, slightly more than 40
percent of organizations reported that their performance management,
learning, and career management processes were linked in this way.17
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Regardless of the approach an organization takes, it should involve


looking at these three elements together.

17

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.

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Talent Pipeline Integration


The final areas to integrate are succession management and talent
acquisition (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Integrated Talent Management

Performance
Management

Career
Management
Talent
Infrastructure
Succession
Management

Talent Acquisition
Competency
Management

Leadership
Development

Total Rewards

Learning & Capability


Development
Source: Bersin & Associates, 2010.

KEY POINT
A strong talent
pipeline must be
enabled internally

Succession management and talent acquisition integrate tightly with


many of the talent management elements already discussed, as shown
in Figure 6. For example, talent readiness (a critical part of succession
management) depends on the leadership development, learning,
and performance management resources in place. Recruiting and
hiring initiatives should be closely aligned with assessment results

through succession

(from leadership development, learning, or career management)

planning and

and outcomes from the performance appraisal process. Furthermore,

externally through

recruiting should be explicitly linked to career management resources so

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that current employees can learn when a position they were considering
becomes available. A strong talent pipeline must be enabled
internally through succession planning and externally through talent
acquisition activities.

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Case in Point: Equifax Expands Career Paths to Increase


Talent Mobility and Retention While Enabling Succession
Planning
KEY POINT
CHRO Coretha
Rushing stated,
This was not just
about structure,
it was also about
giving us a better
understanding
of the talent we

Since 2006, Equifax has experienced rapid growth around the


globe. The $2-billion, 106-year-old, international financial
services company is one of the three major credit bureaus in
the United States. Through the use of its unique data assets,
Equifax offers an analytical solution to support its customers
varied needs.
Rapid expansion often comes with challenges, though, and
for Equifax that meant an excessive number of job titles and
levels. Across the organization, job levels and career paths were
unclear, resulting in an urgent need for a more integrated
view of both business and people processes. Multiple systems,

have and creating

including 25 different performance management solutions, also

clarity around

prohibited Equifax from having a holistic view of performance

career options for

and top talent in the organization.

our employees.
We were trying
to understand
the common jobs
and feeder roles
necessary to get

Defining Competencies and Streamlining Job Levels


First on the agenda for Equifax was to move to a banded
organization, where roles were aligned and comparable
work was made clearer. To create greater simplicity, Equifax
established an initiative known as Connections to look at
common work across the globe. Chief HR Officer (CHRO)

to the next level.

Coretha Rushing stated, This was not just about structure, it

Its our operating

was also about giving us a better understanding of the talent

system for

we have and creating clarity around career options for our

managing talent

employees. We were trying to understand the common jobs and

globally to best

feeder roles necessary to get to the next level. Its our operating

support Equifaxs
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system for managing talent globally to best support Equifaxs


future growth objectives. As a part of this work, Equifax
identified six core competency areas that could be scaled for
different jobs and across the enterprise:

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Case in Point: Equifax Expands Career Paths (contd)


Business Knowledge

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Customer Value Creation

Influence

Execution

Talent Development

Equifax focused efforts on the sales organization initially,


soliciting support from business unit management working
closely with HR. Rushing shared, This work necessitated getting
sales leaders involved in the process, as they have the most
intimate understanding of the roles and the competencies
required. Having management involved increased the length of
the project, but instilled ownership. We wanted to make sure
they understood this was a business issue and that HRs role was
to facilitate the process. Equifax also implemented a softwareas-a-service technology to store the newly defined banded roles
and HR data related to talent within the organization. This new
technology also enabled self-service.
Better Career Paths
KEY POINT
CHRO Rushing
stated, Having
management
involved increased
the length of
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A critical element of this work was defining which competencies


were necessary for each job and how those competencies
evolved from position to position. This provided a natural
framework for creating clear career paths. As a result of this
work, career paths for the sales force have become clearer,
and professionals can now move around the organization
more efficiently.
Equifax is already seeing the competencies improve internal
talent mobility. For example, hiring managers can now clearly
articulate the core competencies needed for success within
a role. This enables the hiring manager to more effectively
advertise the position internally, as well as externally. As a result

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Case in Point: Equifax Expands Career Paths (contd)


of this clearer communication, employees are more apt to find
positions that fit with their career goals. Rushing stated, I think
people, even when they are really good at their jobs, often will
leave and go to another company for a role, even if that job
exists at their current company. The problem could be that they
just werent aware of the availability of that opportunity. Were
trying to fix that here, and having some real success.
Next Steps and Desired Outcomes
The Connections initiative was a success within sales, and now
Equifax is looking to extend it. The organization plans to both
roll out Connections more broadly and embed the newly defined
and mapped competencies into leadership development, talent
acquisition, and succession management processes.
Over the next three to five years, Equifax expects to see the
following additional benefits:

Increased retention throughout the organization

Improved performance management against a defined


set of competencies

Increased talent mobility and clear internal talent pools for


succession management

Enhanced predictive capabilities for workforce planning e

Starting in the Middle of the Roadmap


We are often asked if it is possible to start in the middle of this
roadmap. Although it certainly is feasible to begin somewhere in the
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middle and be successful, there are trade-offs. For example, the most
critical, foundational component of the roadmap is the establishment
of job responsibilities and competencies. This is important because these
elements affect how people are compensated and incentivized (total
rewards), how they are managed and assessed (performance

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management), how people can move through the organization (career


management and succession management), and how learning is
designed to support performance improvement (learning and leadership
development). If those initial foundational elements are missing, then the
rest of the organizations structures are prone to inconsistency.
Some organizations have succeeded by focusing on integrating talent
management for only a subsection of roles. In these instances, they
define responsibilities and competencies for critical roles, and then
focus on integrating the other processes. This can be an effective way to
both address a specific area of need and pilot an integration approach.
Still other organizations may have different needs, such as integrating
two processes that are further along in the roadmap (e.g., leadership
development and succession management). For these organizations,
although it is certainly desirable to have consistency between
leadership development offerings and the factors used to determine
succession moves, it is also important that these elements align with the
competencies and job responsibilities of the roles into which people will
be moved. If the organization lacks that consistency, the relevance of
both the leadership development and succession management processes
can be called into question.
Finally, it is important that an organization, regardless of which
processes it is focused on integrating, engage senior leaders early and
often. Without senior leader buy-in, it is extremely difficult to align and
integrate the various talent management processes.

Using Technology to Enable Integration


Talent management technology suites are designed to enable an
organizations overall talent strategy. Our research shows that
companies with poorly integrated systems have low scores on retention
and employee productivity, similar to organizations that have no
systems in place at all.18 Merely attempting to automate old, disparate
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18

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.

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KEY POINT
Attempting to
automate old,
disparate processes
within a new
technology system
will not yield new
results.

processes within a new technology system does not yield new results.
Organizations must take the time to select the right technology
solutions, as well as determine the right combination of process
steps, that will allow the technology to enhance the overall talent
management strategy. Many organizations already understand this.
For example, a recent survey from Towers Watson showed that over
the past six years, technology was a primary focal point for HR services
and operations functions in their quest to improve overall delivery of
performance and talent management.19
One important decision factor for an organization is how to implement
technology. A phased approach is often best for two reasons. First, it
allows the organization to develop its capabilities so that they build
on each other, similar to how we outlined the process in the talent
management integration roadmap. Second, it allows the organization
to digest change at an acceptable rate. For example, the organization
will likely want to use pilots to test the feasibility of newly designed
concepts and processes, and then ensure that they have buy-in from key
players before completing the integration.

KEY POINT
A phased approach
to implementing
technology is

Technology solutions to support the foundational integration processes,


including talent infrastructure and competency management, will
be most essential at the onset. This may be followed by a phased
implementation of other offerings in the suite as additional steps are
taken to integrate development- and talent pipelinerelated processes.

most feasible

Some organizations will look to one system provider for their HR

because it enables

technology solution. In 2010, 34 percent of organizations were

the organization
sufficient time to
both build on its

planning to implement a talent management suite from one vendor.20


However, a one-stop shop is not the only answer to HR technology
needs. Twenty-two percent of organizations in 2010 indicated that

capabilities and
digest change.
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19

For more information, The Next High-Stakes Quest: Balancing Employer and Employee
Priorities, 20122013 Global Talent Management and Rewards Study, Towers Watson,
2012, http://www.towerswatson.com/assets/pdf/7990/TowersWatson-GlobalTMR-SurveyNA-2012(1).pdf. This survey reviewed 1,605 employers across four global regions.
20

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.

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KEY POINT
Many of these
teams will also
bring in external

they will implement a partial suite.21 This means that if systems are
already in place, they will seek to integrate legacy systems with newer
systems, many of which will be based in the cloud. Or they may seek to
partner with a few vendors that have technology offerings capable of
integrating or sharing data with other solutions.

consultants to

The key to replacing, integrating, or adding new technology is putting

provide additional

in place a solid team to make solution-related decisions.22 The teams

expertise and

most effective at integrating talent management do a number of

insights around
designing processes
and policies,

things differently. First, they include varied stakeholders (HR, IT, and
the business) who are knowledgeable about their respective areas and
also dedicated to the task at hand. Many of these teams will also bring
in external consultants to provide additional expertise and insights

leveraging the

around designing processes and policies, leveraging the technology, and

technology, and

managing change.

managing change.

One of the first items on the agenda for these teams is developing a
definitive strategy that will connect the different elements of talent
management at the right places. The team also needs to create clear
processes to support the new strategy and understand how those
changes can be translated into the online system. Finally, the team
must roll out an effective change management initiative to ensure
that everyone within the organization understands the new approach
and is prepared to implement it. If an organization can execute these
activities effectively and in a timely fashion, then it is much more
likely to succeed at integrating talent management and leveraging
technology appropriately.

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21

For more information, Talent Management Factbook 2010: Best Practices and
Benchmarks in U.S. Talent Management, Bersin & Associates/Karen OLeonard and Stacey
Harris, September 2010. Available to research members at www.bersin.com/library or
www.bersin.com/tmfactbook.
22

Ibid.

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Conclusion
The most successful organizations rely on a talent infrastructure that
encompasses the right competencies and job profiles as a basis for
integration. When this foundation is set, it is much easier to integrate
the different elements of total rewards, performance management,
learning, leadership development, career management, talent
acquisition, and succession planning. As an organization increases
the integration of its talent management processes, it increases its
level of talent management maturity. Talent management maturity
will not be achieved overnight and takes the involvement of business
leaders and multiple departments, as well as the appropriate use of an
integrated talent management suite. The roadmap to integrated talent
management may vary from organization to organization. As we have
presented here, one proven pathway is to progress from foundational
to development integration and, finally, to talent pipeline integration.
Technology is not the sole ingredient for achieving integrated talent
management success. When viewed as an enabler that works in concert
with strong teams and effective processes, technology will enhance the
ability of the organization to maximize the benefits of the overall talent
management strategy.

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The Bersin & Associates


Membership Program
This document is part of the Bersin & Associates Research Library. Our
research is provided exclusively to organizational members of the Bersin
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