The first time you hire a new team member, it might be easy to manage the process on paper or in a spreadsheet—but what about when you need to hire 100 people? Or if they live all around the globe? Complex hiring needs make a talent management system (TMS) essential.
This guide walks you through what a talent management system is, explains how it differs from an applicant tracking system (ATS), and reviews several options that may work for your company.
Table of contents:
- What is a talent management system?
- What is the difference between a TMS and an ATS?
- Finding the best talent management software
- Should your company use a talent management system?
- The best alternative to a talent management system
What is a talent management system?
A talent management system serves as a one-stop software solution for human resources, recruiting, and leadership teams to manage the entire workforce lifecycle. It combines features from applicant tracking systems, workforce management tools, learning management systems, and performance management software.
While the specific capabilities of each system vary, you’ll typically find these core HR features included in a TMS:
- Recruitment: Post jobs, find candidates, review applications, and hire new team members, all while providing a good candidate experience
- Development: Encourage career development through courses and continuing education modules
- Retention: Reward team members for high performance, plan the chain of succession, and adjust compensation packages
- Assessment: Evaluate how well team members are performing, identify top performers, and develop performance improvement plans
Your company’s recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers may all be involved in using the back end of the TMS. Many TMS platforms also have a talent-facing portal for managing job applications, submitting time-off requests, and logging hours worked.
What is the difference between a TMS and an ATS?
Talent management systems share some features with applicant tracking systems and other HR management software, but they aren’t identical. You can use a TMS to support your team members through their entire time with your company—from their very first application all the way until they decide to leave or retire.
An ATS, on the other hand, is only used to advertise a job, source candidates, and move them through the onboarding process. After being hired, the candidate’s ATS file will need to be moved to another HR system for payroll and benefits management.
Finding the best talent management software
When considering the right talent management software for your company, look for these features that will make setting up and using your new TMS easy:
- Cloud storage
- Multiple user licenses
- Workflows and automations
- Templates for job posts and employment contracts
- Ability to share job descriptions to job boards and social media pages
- Tools to support both prospective and current team members
- Integrations with your existing, preferred business software systems
- Customer support and user-friendly training to help you onboard
- A mobile app for team members to view and manage their data
The four talent management systems below are considered to be good, versatile choices for small and large businesses alike.
Eddy bills itself as a TMS solution for small, local businesses in the U.S. This web-based software as a service (SaaS) platform includes four different components:
- Eddy Hire for posting jobs, managing applicants, and extending offer letters
- Eddy People for managing HR data including time-off requests, team onboarding, and time clocks
- Eddy Payroll for paying your team and preparing end-of-year tax paperwork
- Eddy Learn for creating and administering training courses that support staff development
The Eddy platform uses interfaces that will be familiar to many business owners, including a drag-and-drop applicant tracking system that’s reminiscent of a Kanban board. Eddy also connects to over 100 different job boards, so you can upload one job description and send it out to multiple locations.
Eddy costs $8 per team member, per month. While the company doesn’t offer a free trial, you can request a free demo and custom quote.
SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite
SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite is a cloud-based tool that allows businesses of all sizes to manage HR needs.
The SuccessFactors HXM system integrates with other SAP solutions, so the full capabilities of the product may vary based on your company’s budget and needs. Its functions can include:
- Finding and onboarding qualified hires
- Building skills-based talent pools
- Monitoring compliance globally
- Running payroll
- Performance management
- Workforce planning
- Coaching and mentoring team members
- Approving time-off requests
- Developing team training modules
Companies interested in using SAP SuccessFactors must contact SAP for a demo and custom quote.
Bullseye Engagement is a full-featured TMS that enables companies to monitor and launch all of the following HR processes from one location:
- Talent acquisition
- Staff development and performance reviews
- Team feedback surveys
- Succession planning
- Compensation management
- Organizational development initiatives
- HR and data dashboard management
- Ethics concerns
The Bullseye interface uses simple point-and-click actions and predictive modeling to help HR teams work more efficiently. You can’t immediately sign up for Bullseye Engagement online—companies interested in using this platform must request a customized demo and quote.
- One-click posts to over 75 job boards
- Candidate pre-screening questions to find the top talent
- AI-powered applicant management
- Background screening compliance
- Hiring analytics
- Data-rich workforce files
- Attendance tracking and shift scheduling
- Performance reviews and goal management
- Virtual classrooms for staff development
The Zoho system can be customized for use at businesses of all sizes and could be a good choice for any companies already using Zoho’s popular CRM tool.
Zoho Recruit plans range from $0 to $90 per user, per month. Standalone Zoho People pricing starts at $1.50 per user, per month.
Companies interested in using Recruit and People together also have the option to enroll in a “People Plus” plan. This option includes access to Recruit, People, and other tools like Zoho Expense for $10 per user, per month.
Should your company use a talent management system?
Using a traditional TMS has many benefits, especially when you factor in all of the additional features they provide versus using an ATS. With the right TMS, you can:
- Improve the hiring process with automations and data insights
- Expedite the job posting process with quick access to multiple job boards
- Encourage better employee retention through training and development
- Easily manage team members’ requests for time off and benefits changes
- Run payroll and plan salary changes in the same spot you manage workers’ files
Traditional talent management systems are well suited to internal teams that have the capacity to not only post jobs and review applicants, but also manage all of the compliance matters that go along with hiring.
A TMS might not be the best choice for companies that have small HR teams, want to hire talent in multiple countries, or simply prefer to work with a partner who can handle the paperwork side of the process. In this case, an alternative to a traditional TMS might be preferable.
The best alternative to a talent management system
Alternative talent management solutions can reduce the manual burden on companies that need to hire talent—fast—across multiple regions and currencies.
Upwork’s Any Hire solution is a great example of an alternative talent management platform that can speed up your time to hire. Here’s how it works:
- You find a candidate you like and bring us their details.
- We’ll evaluate their classification status and recommend whether they should be a payrolled employee of your company or a contractor.
- We’ll help you generate a contract that’s compliant with your new hire’s local employment laws.
- You’ll get a dedicated portal through which you can manage important HR and payroll details for your new hire, including managing expenses, preparing tax documentation, and issuing payment. Plus, your team members can easily submit hours for your review and approval.
You can continue to add more team members to your Any Hire account as you grow and manage them all in one spot.
Hire skilled talent with confidence
While a traditional TMS helps you with human capital management, it can’t tell you the right way to go about hiring someone new.
When you choose Upwork Any Hire to support your human resource management process, we’ll guide you through each step and make sure you’re compliant—whether you want to hire someone next door or on the other side of the world.
We’re so confident in our process that we provide all of our Any Hire users with built-in liability support in case any questions about how your team members are classified ever arise.
Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation. Prices are current at the time of writing and may change over time based on each service’s offerings.
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