HR: The Evolution

businessman business suit blur
flickr: Robert Scoble (yeah!)

BusinessWeek reports on the trend of HR to look at more than just hiring and firing—stuff we’ve been talking about since day one of this blog.

“Top companies are realizing that a holistic approach to what has come to be called ‘talent management’—one that aligns a company’s goals with succession planning and employee career objectives—can produce big cost savings.

“With unemployment poised to top 10% by summer’s end…this would seem to be a strange time for companies to bemoan ineffective recruitment and hiring practices. But a lot of companies have become more serious about finding the right people for open positions—or retaining their best performers—precisely because they don’t want to lose them in the tighter labor market they foresee once the economy rebounds.”

The article goes on to elucidate the ways HR can better screen candidates to choose better fits and then keep ’em happy once they’re in place. HR service providers like Taleo say it’s an uphill battle:

HR departments have generally been slow to invest in technology that can boost efficiency compared with the billions of dollars they spend on payroll, general ledger, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, says Michael Gregoire, chief executive of Taleo (TLEO), a Dublin (Calif.) firm that supplies HR software…

BW points out that these efficiency-boosting technologies can fall under a) “psychometric” testing, to ensure a candidate’s fit, and b) performance-based compensation, neither of which are very popular with the rank and file worker bees. “Take away the human element and the hiring company comes off as overly bureaucratic and mechanical. If I want that type of work environment I’ll join the Army,” said one commenter.

What do you think?