Yes, But What About Career Management?






After just finishing 6 weeks of briefings with 25 Employee Performance Management solution providers, we are thrilled to share with our readers how much the market has matured in just 8 – 10 months since my last detailed evaluation. We are truly seeing the rise and adoption of next generation solutions. By and large, the latest product releases offer much more talent process integration and are far more focused on engaging the end-user and providing decision support. And unlike our last evaluation, is hard to find a solution on the market today that does not support talent and job profiles as well as much more sophisticated talent analytics. 

We will discuss all of these enhancements and provide an up-to-date analysis of the market and the solution providers in our comprehensive research report coming out in early October. 

Despite all of this progress, during the briefings and demonstrations I found myself asking over and over again “Yes, this looks great, but what are you doing to support career management?” Here are a few of the typical responses:

  • Let me show you how an employee can identify career goals on an individual development plan.”
  • Employees can indicate a career interest on their talent profile.”

 And if the solution provider was slightly more advanced in this area…

  • “We have this great talent and job profile match-up capability for employees to compare themselves with a job.” 

While these features are helpful for self-directed career management, they do not fully address one of the fundamental challenges of performance and talent management solutions today:

“How do we match individual capabilities and interests with the needs of the organization?” 

As we all know, no organization today is immune from talent challenges such as a shortage of critical skills, gaps in the leadership pipeline, and/or retention of top performers. These challenges threaten an organization’s ability to execute on their current and future business plans. Organizations must be strategic in how they protect their greatest investment – their talent. Today, people are quick to move from organization to organization in search of new experiences and to increase their earning potential. Scores of research studies clearly show that younger generation workers (GenX and Millennials) are likely to change organizations every two to three years compared to 10 years, which is the average company tenure for baby boomers. Without other employer-provider benefits such as a pension or length of service incentives to keep them around, why would employees stay loyal to an employer? 

A comprehensive and well-aligned approach to career management dramatically improves an organization’s ability to keep top talent satisfied and engaged, provides opportunities for development to close critical skill gaps, and helps to ensure business continuity.

Performance and talent management solutions should do much more to help organizations than they do today. In addition to the features mentioned above, here are just a few points of light we found in several of the more advanced solutions. We believe these features should be more broadly adopted in the market:

  • Incorporate 3rd party (science-based) strength assessments and career exploration tools into the suite environment to help employees figure out the “color of their parachute” and where they would be best suited.
  • Provide HR with the tools to create non-linear career paths with recommended development actions.
  • Recommend career development plans to employees identified in a talent pool or on a succession plan.
  • Enable employees to search for jobs and career paths based on their talent profile.
  • Automatically recommend jobs and career paths to employees that are suitable to the employee’s profile and career interests.
  • Provide recommendations on development actions and opportunities to enhance their skills through training, education and certification.
  • Provide employees with graphical views of career paths and possible directions.
  • Enable the organization to monitor and evaluate individual’s career development progress – thereby increasing the value or the employee to the employer.
  • Provide non-rated development plans for employees to manage their career development.
  • Incorporate social networking tools to enable employees to find and connect with “employees like me” or mentors and view their career trajectory.

After spending at least 130 hours viewing solution provider demonstrations and talking with 48 different organizations, we have many more “suggestions” on how we can improve support for a more modern approach to career management. But I am interested in hearing from you.  

How do you think technology can support this critical talent management practice? What do you wish technology could do that it doesn’t do today? Think about the employee experience. But more importantly, think about how we best align that experience to the needs of the business.  

I would love to hear your thoughts in the discussion thread or you can email me directly at

Robin Erickson

Vice President, Talent Acquisition Research Leader / Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Robin leads talent acquisition, engagement, and retention research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Recognized as a thought leader in her areas of expertise, Robin offers more than 20 years of experience, including prior experience in talent strategies consulting and research for Deloitte’s Human Capital practice. Robin led Deloitte’s global Talent 2020 longitudinal survey series and her work has appeared in several issues of Deloitte Review and in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends reports. She holds a doctoral degree in organizational communication and change, as well as a master’s in communication, from Northwestern University. Robin also has a master’s degree in theology from Northern Seminary and a bachelor of arts from the University of Chicago.

One thought on “Yes, But What About Career Management?

  1. Leighanne,
    Congradulations! I hope you and baby are doing well! I must say I like the bullet "provide non-rated development plans." This is really key when employees are trying to develop their skills, they don’t want to worry about being rated although it’s a fine line between performance and development. At the same time I hear about organizations wanting assessments until they realize the overhead associated with them. So the debate goes on, how useful are assessments? Whats the return on investment for assessments that truely measure capabilities. Many of the tools on the market offer the capability to do assessments but creating valid, reliable tests is another story.

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