Taleo, Talent Management and What’s Wrong With ERP Spending

Is your career worth at least one security patch?This week, Taleo is conducting its user conference in Las Vegas.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor

Is your career worth at least one security patch?

This week, Taleo is conducting its user conference in Las Vegas. They are announcing their Taleo 10 product this week to coincide with the show.

Rarely do I get to see a software vendor presentation that really nails the business problem their solution is addressing. In announcing Taleo 10, Taleo showed one slide that really resonated with me. That slide showed that the average American worker is paid about $47,000/ year. The average business incurs approximately $12,000/year in ERP expenses per worker and yet the average business spends less than $10/year/worker on talent management.

Think about that

Think some more

Those data points suggest a couple of items you should examine in your firm:

1) Are we really getting that kind of value from our ERP to be worth that expenditure? 2) Why are people/talent management costs so low in our firm? 3) Is a worker’s skill management/development only worth 1/1200th of that spent on ERP?

Lots of firms talk about how critical their people are to their firm but these statistics really show that few firms put their money where their mouth is. Either people don’t matter or firms haven’t had the right enablers to help them develop and manage talent. If you work for a company, bring this subject up in your next annual review. Ask your HR executive when the company will spend as much on your continuing education and career development as it did on its ERP maintenance fees, upgrades, etc. Don’t expect much of an answer or an answer that will satisfy you.

Am I surprised by Taleo’s numbers? No. Too few managers know how to manage, let alone develop, the talent in their firm. They do know how to connect transaction data and their systems together. They can print reports and map processes but motivating people is tough. For many managers, they cannot or will not communicate with employees and then act surprised that employees aren’t in-tune with the company’s strategies. Worse, some managers have a bad day and then take it out on the employees. Afterwards, these same managers can’t understand why people aren’t highly motivated, why they’re looking elsewhere for true employment love, why they’re polishing their resumes instead of selling more product, etc.

I’m not saying Taleo 10 has all the answers but they are least focused on the right problems and are looking at the business issue in the right light. Readers, you need to goad your executives and see if their vision of the workforce, alignment and strategy is appropriate as comapred to the monies they spend on ERP and other cost areas. But, above all, get the Taleo 10 deck in front of these executives and see if it prompts some better resource discussions in the Executive Committee of your company.

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