Talent Management Systems (Part One)

In past blogs, we dealt in depth about Learning Management Systems (LMS) while detailing various ways to assess the value of an organization’s educational program and chart the educational progress of an employee (the Kirkpatrick Model). A number of corporations have developed software platforms that add additional elements to the LMS concept. Talent Management Systems (TMS) are software packages that help organizations analyze and manage information spanning from the recruitment stage through basic human resources.

The following are just a sampling of the existing vendors:

  • SuccessFactors
  • Oracle Talent Cloud
  • Cornerstone on Demand
  • Workday

The TMS trend is pervasive not only in the corporate sector but throughout government. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) embraces the TMS approach in its mission (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/human-capital-management/talent-management/) as does the U.S. Veterans Administration is one of the largest bureaucratic entities within the U.S. Government. With a huge central, Washington-based nerve center, the VA has operations spread throughout multiple locations within each of the fifty states.


Let’s look at the basic elements of the TMS concept.

The Four Pillars of TMS

Various software vendors have created platforms geared toward the larger, corporate partner, but smaller solutions exist as well. A central feature of any TMS is human resources (HR). The four pillars of TMS are the following: recruitment, corporate learning, performance management, and compensation management.


Each pillar represents a different albeit integrated TMS module that is used for overall employee acquisition, development, and management. For this blog, let’s look at the issue of recruitment.

The World of Recruitment

After graduating from graduate school back in the 1980s, I remember looking through the New York Times and Washington Post Sunday editions to scour their respective employment posting. I was looking for work in the field of international affairs and defense contracting. Most of the jobs were geared toward individuals with advanced experience. The key concept back in those days was “networking.” So I spoke with friends in the field, attended professional mixers, stopped by Capitol Hill every Friday to check its job board; the process was never-ending and laborious. As we all know, things have changed greatly.

Especially with impact of technology in virtually every professional field, employers are seeking applicants with a robust and wide-ranging skill set. In many fields, employers have difficulty finding the right candidate and must vie for polished candidates with an ever-growing base of corporate competitors. Compared to previous decades, employers rarely use the newspaper-based model for seeking candidates. Rather, most employers use a variety of search and recruitment methods: corporate website postings, online job-listing sites, online resume-listing sites, and the like. True, many corporations, especially for higher-level management positions, will still seek out “head-hunting services,” but even much of that has been supplanted through online systems. In fact, or should one say indeed, I was surprised to the level of being shocked upon reading news that 65% of all online hires and 72% of interviews took place through the website Indeed.com.


Let’s look at some of the components of organizational recruitment:

  • job boards
  • search engines
  • social media
  • automation (regarding character recognition and resume auto-fill features)
  • candidate acquisition
  • screening/testing
  • video interviewing
  • applicant tracking
  • on-boarding


TMS software varies in its platform portfolios of services. So let’s look at some examples: various TMS packages are capable of searching external resume posting sites to identify candidates matching selected job requirements. In this regard SAP SuccessFactors identifies the following recruitment features on its website:

  1. Source with global job distribution: 4,000 job boards, social networks, universities, and schools in more than 80 countries
  2. Engage candidates with career sites and remarketing: this component deals with active candidates while fostering a community of passive candidates
  3. Comprehensive applicant management: this touches upon organizing identified professionals, planning phone and/or video interviews, et cetera.

Other TMS platforms include options such as screening applicants through online testing. Testing of this sort can query applicants on their knowledge base or seek responses for questions to identify personality and work weaknesses and strengths. One such major not-for-profit organization that uses such an approach is Ashoka (Innovators for the Public).

Let’s recount the corporate rationale for utilizing a recruiting TMS module:

  1. a fast, comprehensive approach to search for candidates and maintain a passive pool of candidates during non-job search periods
  2. a fast, efficient method to identify and rank qualified candidates
  3. an organized and, for some, multi-faceted screening tool
  4. a calendar-based, scheduling tool for interviewing
  5. a fast, accurate method to track the recruitment stage for each candidate
  6. an overall TMS integrated platform to determine possible salary ranges
  7. a mechanism to generate offer letters
  8. a means to on-board successful applicants while integrating them into the broader organizational employee HR system

One can see how a TMS recruitment module could be successful for large corporations. For example, SAS SuccessFactors identifies Allstate, Amtrack, and Brooks Brothers as some of their corporate partners.

Next week, given our past handlings of Learning Management Systems, we’ll go straight into the TMS performance management module.

Craig Lee Keller, Ph.D., JAG Learning Strategist