Thursday’s announcement that Oracle acquired Taleo for $1.9 billion is another in a string of acquisitions generating a lot of buzz in our industry (SuccessFactors was recently acquired by SAP less than 2 months ago). In the last 24 hours, I’ve only read article after article on what this means for Oracle (ORCL) and Taleo’s (TLEO) shareholders, and perhaps their largest enterprise customers – but not one on how it will impact small and mid-size employers? Is Taleo’s talent management solution the right fit as it gets folded into Oracle’s cloud-based offering? Maybe for the largest enterprise companies. But I believe, given the current spotlight on acquisitions in the HR solutions arena, it’s prime time for the nations most important employers – small to medium companies (SMBs) – to evaluate the technology they’re using and consider making a change.
Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees are the backbone of the American economy – and the key to future growth. According to The Small Business Economy 2010 report, SMBs produce the vast majority of new jobs and employ about half the country’s workforce – which means they do a lot of recruiting! To find and hire the best talent for those jobs, SMBs need an aggressive, nimble recruiting solution that can be customized to fit their specific needs. Taleo, especially under the Oracle umbrella, is not that nimble answer.
Obviously, Jobvite offers a recruiting and talent management platform that competes with Taleo. But this isn’t about my company, or specifically Taleo/Oracle. This is about what a small, growing company needs today to find the best talent as our economy rebounds – quickly, cost effectively and easily. Just look around at the wave of innovation breaking all over the HR technology market. Now is the ripe time for business leaders and their HR colleagues to replace old “1.0” systems with new, pain-relieving innovations. If you haven’t taken a look at your options in a while, you will be blown away by the exciting developments that have emerged recently from a new Cloud 2.0 computing era. Check out now what’s out there and how it can work for you. If you don’t, you risk being lulled into bad, unproductive habits that will keep you from easily finding – and quickly hiring – the talent you need to survive and grow.
5 areas to evaluate solutions:
Scale: Does the solution support the team you have, and make it easy for the entire company to make referrals? Is it as effective now as it was when your company first started? For small businesses with just one HR professional, or someone assigned to HR as part of other duties, the right solution can make the difference between getting lost in the hell of complex, rusty UI design – and getting your job done exponentially easier and better by involving everyone at the company to help recruit.
Implementation: If you need to hire open positions right now, you can’t wait months to set up a talent management solution. And even if you have the time – do you want to spend it slogging through an implementation? That’s what will happen with the 1.0 solutions of yesterday. Getting a platform that’s simple, user friendly and easy to get started can save time and money, avoid frustration and make a quick impact on your program.
Customer service: When the recruiting rubber hits the road, the right support team is crucial to any vendor/client relationship. Find a company that’s eager to provide exceptional service and has strong customer recommendations. Evaluate their track record, retention rate and ask for references. Speak with a customer service representative – find out if the actual culture fits the sales pitch. If you don’t, it will be harder to find a person to help you figure out your out-dated software then it will be your next hire.
Innovation: Today’s job market and recruiting landscape has changed dramatically from even a few years ago. To succeed in finding and hiring great talent, SMBs have to be quick and nimble. Their HR system has to match – not only adapting to the current trends – but continually pushing innovations to give you a competitive edge so you can find the right candidate – and make the first offer.
Cost: Recruiting dollars should be seen as an investment, not an expense. The right staffing can make or break a small business, and it makes sense to put money into a system that helps you find and hire a great fit. That said, you have a budget to keep and need to get the best return on investment. Evaluate your average cost to hire, and look for a solution that will help lower expenses. One of the quickest, least expensive and best-fitting hires is the employee referral. One in 10 referrals gets hired, vs. one in 100 standard applicants – so find a system that boosts employee referral rates.
Changing your talent management solution might look intimidating, and it may seem easier to stick with the status quo. But sticking with business as usual can be a costly mistake for some employers– not only do you lose a competitive edge but your current solution could be inefficient and more expensive than other options available. Take the time to evaluate the market, and know that when done correctly, making a switch can be fast, friendly and fruitful.
The Oracle/Taleo news brings up the size question – is bigger better? When it comes to talent management solutions, as with many other arenas, the answer is “usually not.” So have a closer look at what’s working and what’s not in your recruiting – and take advantage of an HR solutions industry in the midst of a hot streak. You have nothing to lose – other than the war for talent that you must win to survive.