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Fundamentals of Talent Management – Getting Started

Fundamentals of Talent Management – Getting Started

Talent Management is analogous to managing a supply chain – the supply chain of critical skills and competencies needed to maintain a high-performing workforce. But each company is different, and their workforces require different combinations of talent to execute optimally within their respective corporate cultures and competitive environments.  

This leads to an interesting phenomenon – all organizations today recognize the importance of managing talent more strategically, but many struggle with the concept of where to begin. What is the precise balance of skills, competencies and abilities we need and at which levels of our organization, in order to outperform our competitors and execute our strategy?  Knowing where to start requires a thorough examination of strategy and organizational design. Whereas many organizations will look at Talent Management as a business process requiring automation (it is), they may also fall into the trap of thinking that software and process efficiencies will optimize their management of their top talents (it won’t).  A really effective Talent Management initiative needs to ask and answer some fundamental questions first:


  • Does our organizational design properly reflect our business strategy?
  • What are the most pivotal roles in our organization?
  • What defines the most pivotal, key positions in our organization?
  • What are the competencies and skills that we require of all our top talents, and why?
  • What is the optimal way to bring these competencies into the organization – what mix of internal promotion, up-skilling and external hiring will bring the best results?

You can make solid and lasting improvements to that supply chain of talent by simply knowing the answers to those key questions.  One of the first things practitioners have to do to begin this process is define key positions in an organization, and define the most critical skills that make people successful in those roles. I would like to use this article and a series of follow-ups to explain how SAP, together with key partners, helps companies take a fresh look at managing talent and defining key positions and competencies. As we get closer to the release date for Enhancement Package 4 ramp-up, we will also highlight how strategic talent management is now a key focus of SAP Human Capital Management (HCM), and how customers can benefit from new features and content.

One final note – stay tuned for an upcoming posting later this month from Paul Storfer, Director of Talent Architecture at Personnel Decisions International (PDI) on ERP@BPX. Paul is an industry expert on competency modeling and development. In his posting, Paul will explain how companies can better realize value from Talent Management by conquering what he calls “Competency Chaos”.

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  • I caught an offline demo of the new enhancement package 4 talent management functionality recently, and it looks great.  I hope that you will walk through the new functionality as it becomes available to the market.

    SAP technology aside, I’d really like to get some more insight into what the key pieces of talent management will be in the current economic environment. 

    Where do you see customers focusing when it comes to staying competitive while running a “lean” organization?