Taleo buys Learn.com: some thoughts on consolidation

This morning I learned of Taleo’s purchase of Learn.com through a Bersin e-mail alert. Bersin goes on to say:

” This announcement marks the beginning of a fundamental change that Bersin & Associates projects in the stand-alone LMS market. Our research shows that this market is rapidly bifurcating into integrated talent management systems and highly specialized learning systems.”

While I understand this trend of leaders in Talent Management software (SuccessFactors, TaleoPeopleclick Authoria, Kenexa) growing through  acquisitions and it doesn’t come as a surprise, I think what’s happening is bad for customers. All these vendors are good at only specific parts of the TM process (like Recruitment, Compensation or Performance) .  The part that made them a leader. (Taleo with recruiting, SuccessFactors with Performance…) They are often poor or mediocre at other parts of the process. Customers buying these ‘integrated talent management suites’ are often locked in to a suite and have to re-engineer their processes to map to the mediocre or poor parts of the suite, losing some of the complexity and richness they enjoyed in the software they used to manage the process previously. Furthermore, the promise of integration is often superficial. Data from one part of the suite does not seamlessly flow to another.

I think this approach of buying one tool or suite that does it all seems outdated. When you see what’s happening outside the world of Enterprise Software, we see that a bunch of sites and platforms interacting seamlessly (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa etc. etc.) What might be useful is to build a framework like Open Social specific to Talent processes and data that allows seamless flow between different TM tools and other related platforms like ERP, CRM and Enterprise Social Networking and Knowledge Management.

footnote: I think this post relates to my previous post on fB Places and checking in. fB places is guaranteed to be popular because it’s got a captive audience of 1/2 a billion. Yes, more people will use it because it shows up in an app they already visit. But it does not have the richness of foursquare. foursquare was purpose built to do check-ins. It has interesting game elements, badges etc….And it even integrates with fB. But fB users will see none of that richness of foursquare.

Performance Review – Part II

Performance review…Boy..is that a hot button issue? Guess who has once again made it a big topic of discussion. Dear Old Prof. Culbert who has now expanded his WSJ article (that I referenced in this post) into a full book.

This morning I caught this post on facebook from NPR which drew quite a response. Other posts on NPR’s feed such as Zombies And Giant Squid: Summer’s Monster Hits! or Spy Exchange Would Be A Cold War Flashback draw on average a couple of hundred “Likes” and 50 to 100 comments. The post Annual Job Review Is ‘Total Baloney,’ Expert Says at this time has drawn 1213 Likes and has 265 comments. And you guessed it…most people hate the Performance Review.

reBlog from humancapitalist.com:How Important is Private Equity in Human Capital and Talent Management?

I’ve been watching with some interest this trend of private equity firms buying talent/learning management vendors. Jason Corsello at Human Capitalist writes a great article about this trend here: humancapitalist.com, The Human Capitalist » How Important is Private Equity in Human Capital and Talent Management?, Jul 2009

You should read the whole article.


krishna_arjunThis relates to the previous post I wrote about Performance Reviews. Here’s a way managers can get started on coaching their direct reports regularly as suggested by Kris Dunn. The practice is called rounding. I heard about it at the HCS Certification course I attended from a HR leader at a healthcare organization in Northern California who adapted this practice from nursing.

Rounding is a weekly 10 minute check-in meeting that a manager has with their direct report in which they ask the following 5 questions:

  1. Who should I recognize in our team?
  2. What’s working well?
  3. What can be improved?
  4. Do you have the tools, equipment and resources to do your job?
  5. How can I help you?

I thought it was a clever adaptation. I found the the length and format attractive. I think it would increase the likelihood of managers talking to their direct reports to get that dialogue started which is the basis of coaching.

Your thoughts?

Performance Reviews

I’ve been working on a talent management project at work for the past few months. This past week I have been obsessed with learning more about performance reviews. Specifically, I am looking for a story about a company where the performance review process WORKS and employees genuinely LOVE it.  Every company has a performance review process and yet, I haven’t come across anyone who has told me unequivocally that they like it.

The most provocative article I read is Prof. Culbert’s article in the Wall Street Journal.  In this article he essentially calls for scrapping the performance review (because it “destroys morale, kills teamwork and hurts the bottom line.”) and replacing it with something called a Performance Preview (“Reciprocally accountable discussions about how boss and employee are going to work together even more effectively than they did in the past”).

The article ticked off some HR folks and they responded with their blog posts. The best rebuttal in my opinion came from Kris Dunn in an article for Workforce Management called “Want to Kill the Annual Performance Review? Step Up or Shut Up!” (Available by registration at http://www.workforce.com ) The article is summed up by this one sentence from the article: “You can only throw out the annual review if your managers can do one very important thing—coach talent on a daily basis.”

I am still searching for that story I mentioned earlier (Performance review process that everyone likes). Do you know of one?

Lateral Moves

When most people hear of Career Development, they think of a promotion. But as it has been said: Up is not the only way. I’ve been doing some research on the benefits of lateral career moves as part of my work in the area of Career Development.  I found these excellent videos at the Stanford’s Entrepreneurship site of Carol Bartz. Carol was recently in the news when she was appointed CEO of Yahoo! after a very successful run at Autodesk.



(WordPress doesn’t allow embeds from these sites…but they are well worth a visit!)