Executing Integrated Talent Management (ITM) – Step 2: Strategy

March 25, 2015

Written by:  Matt Lafata

HRchitect has been involved in approximately 2000 HR technology related projects for hundreds of companies of all sizes and industries across the world. We have gained tremendous insight that we love to share with you so that you can benefit from the experience, and the lessons learned from others. With 18 years in business behind us in working with many of today’s leading companies, let us best position your company for a successful future with Human Capital Management Systems!

Successfully executing the ITM concept requires a holistic approach that includes embracing ITM as a philosophy, developing a strategy, applying science & measurement disciplines, breaking down process barriers, selecting and implementing enabling technology, and sustaining the new solution over time.

Two previous posts around this subject have given you an overview of our seven-step process for a successful approach to ITM and covered the first step – Philosophy. Now we move on to step #2.

Step 2 – Strategy

Fundamental question: What are the high level focus areas and desired outcomes?

Once an organization’s leadership has made the commitment to ITM at the philosophical level, the next step is to develop a coherent strategy to get from the current state (often a disconnected result of a haphazard, reactive evolution of processes and technologies) to the desired state (a comprehensive, seamless flow of interconnected information, processes and technologies). HRchitect believes that there are four critical elements to an ITM strategy:

  • Business linkage – the strategy must link to business outcomes and organizational goals in order to be successful. The time has long since passed where HR can afford to have its ITM strategy disconnected from the organization. To do so risks the HR function in that firm becoming irrelevant to the business and its leaders. The best way to ensure linkage is for the project team to work collaboratively with a broad set of roles (“from the washroom to the boardroom”) to understand and document their critical issues, pain points, and “what if” dreams for the future. Once gathered, this information can be validated and prioritized to drive strategy development.
  • Demographic/cultural differences – organizations that operate across multiple geographies stand a good chance of having different (sometimes profoundly different) approaches to ITM, not to mention divergent processes and technologies. There may also be significant differences by location within geography if the business has grown via acquisition or merger. Understanding these variations will be critical to developing and refining the new ITM strategy, processes and downstream communication programs to best meet the needs of workers in all locations.
  • Key job categories – another critical component of developing a sound ITM strategy is to determine which job categories (aka “job families” or “key talent segments”) in the organization disproportionately affect business results. Not all jobs are created equal, and HR thought leaders are coming to the realization that the HR investment can no longer be spread equally like “peanut butter” across all job categories. Understanding the key jobs enables senior leaders to target the investment of HR dollars towards those jobs that most impact the business.

For example, a recent HRchitect client in the oil & gas industry identified engineers, geophysicists, land surveyors, and land negotiators as their key job categories; due to a combination of aging current incumbents and a shrinking pool of entrants from college, competition was becoming fierce between this organization and rival firms. These jobs became a special area of focus and investment for HR – not only recruitment, but retention as well.

  • Characteristics of top performers – finally, a good ITM strategy must understand the characteristics (e.g., skills, competencies, abilities, knowledge, experience, motivation, preferences, aspirations) of the top performers in key jobs – this will enable the organization to ultimately target recruiting and performance management activities to find more employees that fit the mold of the top performers, and therefore drive improved business results.

Based on the organization’s ITM philosophy and these essential inputs, the project team now must develop an ITM strategy that articulates the programs that will be put in place, how the various HR functional areas will work together, and the timelines for implementing the supporting solutions. The Strategy phase should also include prioritization of software selection Decision Drivers (something we will discuss in future blogs).

We’ll address the next step in successful ITM execution, Science and Measurement, in the next blog and please let us know how HRchitect can assist you to get maximum benefit that comes from Integrated Talent Management and as it progresses, E2E HCM.


Matt has over 20 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. He currently serves as President and the firm’s principle HCM analyst. As one of the industry’s leading analysts on HCM Systems Vendors, Matt studies the marketplace and meets with vendors on a regular basis to stay on top of trends in this industry. Matt has moderated numerous HCM shootouts & panel discussions for vendors & HR organizations. He has also been a featured speaker on HCM solutions and workforce trends at various industry & vendor conferences.

As President & CEO, Matt oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including client success, consulting operations, worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, alliances, finance and corporate development. Matt enjoys working with the HRchitect team and the satisfaction he gets from watching our people grow personally and professionally within the organization, and the positive difference our consulting services make in our clients’ organizations.