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Talent Management System (TMS)

A Talent Management System (TMS) is software that provides integrated solutions to manage talent processes such as recruiting, development, compensation, and analytics.

Definition of TMS – Talent Management System

A Talent Management System (TMS) is a type of software that organizations use to manage their talent acquisition and development processes. TMS aims to attract, develop, engage, and retain employees within an organization.

The goal of a TMS is to streamline and optimize an organization’s people management processes through technology. This includes integrating key HR processes like recruiting, onboarding, learning management, performance management, succession planning, compensation management, and analytics.

By centralizing these processes into a unified platform, TMS provides organizations with an integrated approach to managing employee lifecycles from hire to retire. TMS aims to provide managers and HR professionals with better insights and tools to nurture talent at every stage.

The core capabilities of a TMS include:

  • Recruiting and applicant tracking
  • Onboarding and orientation
  • Learning management
  • Performance management
  • Succession planning
  • Compensation management
  • Analytics and Reporting

In summary, a Talent Management System is a software solution that consolidates and optimizes an organization’s talent processes including attracting, developing, managing, and retaining top performers across the employee lifecycle.

Common Use Cases and Examples of TMS

A Talent Management System has a wide range of applications across HR processes and is utilized by organizations of all sizes and industries. Some common use cases and examples include:

Recruiting and Hiring

Talent Management Systems provides an enhanced ability to source, track, evaluate, and select top talent with features like applicant tracking, automated screening, candidate relationship management, and interview management. For example, a retail chain uses TMS to post job openings on multiple platforms and score applicants based on prerequired skills.


TMS enables organizations to efficiently onboard new hires with digital tools for paperwork, company policies, benefits enrollment, and assigning mentors. For instance, a consulting firm uses TMS to create customized 90-day onboarding plans for each new consultant.


TMS delivers and tracks online, classroom, and on-the-job training through its learning management system features. For example, a hospital system uses Talent Management Systems to enroll nurses in required clinical certifications and skills training.

Performance Management

Talent Management Systems allow managers and employees to set goals, check progress, provide feedback and document performance reviews online. For instance, a software firm uses TMS for 360-degree feedback from peers on employee performance.

Succession Planning

TMS identifies high-potential internal candidates for advancement and prepares them for leadership roles. For example, a manufacturing company uses nine-box grid reporting in TMS to map out succession plans.

Key Processes Supported in Talent Management Systems

A Talent Management System acts as an integrated platform to streamline and enhance major HR processes related to optimizing talent. Some of the essential talent management processes and capabilities consolidated into a unified Talent Management Systems suite include:

  1. Recruiting and Talent Acquisition: A TMS provides tools to streamline and enhance talent acquisition including applicant tracking, candidate relationship management, requisition management, interview scheduling, offer management, and onboarding.
  2. Training and Development: The learning management system features in a TMS administer, deliver, track, and report on employee training and development programs including online, classroom, and on-the-job training.
  3. Performance Management: A TMS enables capabilities to set individual and team goals, define job competencies, undertake multi-rater assessments, provide feedback, and document performance reviews.
  4. Succession Planning: TMS allows businesses to identify high-potential employees, nurture development plans, and project promotion readiness using dashboards and analytics.
  5. Compensation Management: TMS automates linking compensation and rewards to performance outcomes as well as streamlines merit increase administration and equity analysis.
  6. Retention and Engagement: TMS provides data insights into workforce segments at higher risk of attrition while cultivating engagement and career development.
  7. Workforce Analytics: TMS generates reports and dashboards with metrics to derive insights across the talent lifecycle and support strategic decisions.
  8. Career Planning: A TMS provides tools for employees to map out their career paths, identify gaps, and develop plans to reach their career goals. This is enabled through features like competency mapping, goal setting, and succession planning.
  9. Leadership Development: TMS solutions offer customized leadership training, multi-rater assessments, coaching, and programs to nurture leadership talent. This helps strengthen the leadership pipeline.
  10. Collaboration: Many TMS platforms facilitate better communication and collaboration between employees, managers, mentors, and leaders through organisational social networks, groups, and portals.
  11. Surveys: TMS allows organizations to create, distribute, analyze, and act on employee surveys to gain insights into engagement, culture, and organizational issues.
  12. Analytics: In addition to reporting, leading TMS provide advanced analytics like predictive modelling, benchmarks, and talent forecasts to provide HR metrics and insights.
  13. Mobile Access: Modern TMS solutions provide mobile apps and responsive interfaces so employees and managers can access the system via mobile devices from anywhere.

The Strategic Benefits of TMS

Implementing a comprehensive Talent Management System provides organizations with immense strategic value across multiple dimensions. Some of the major benefits companies can gain from deploying an integrated TMS solution include:

  • Improved Quality of Hire: By streamlining and enhancing recruiting and hiring processes, TMS enables organizations to attract, source, assess, and select higher-quality talent.
  • Increased Productivity: TMS eliminates manual tasks, consolidates systems, and leverages automation to boost HR productivity and efficiency. This enables focus on more strategic initiatives.
  • Enhanced Employee Experience: Talent Management Systems provides employees with an engaging, user-friendly experience and self-service access across the talent lifecycle. This leads to higher satisfaction.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Robust analytics and reporting in TMS provide real-time people insights to guide fact-based talent decisions aligned with business objectives.
  • Lower Attrition: Capabilities like career development, succession planning, and leadership training in Talent Management Systems improves employee retention and reduce costly attrition.
  • Improved Compliance: TMS centralizes and brings consistency across people processes which lowers compliance risks and auditing needs.
  • Global Scalability: Cloud-based Talent Management Systems solutions enable organizations to manage global workforces with capabilities that meet country-specific requirements yet allow centralized oversight.
  • Unified Platform: An integrated TMS suite eliminates siloed systems, provides a consistent user experience, and enables interconnectivity between talent processes.

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Talent Management Systems consolidate various talent processes into an integrated suite. In doing so, Talent Management Systems encompass capabilities that overlap with other HR information systems focused on specific areas. Some of the related or similar terms worth distinguishing include:

  • HRIS – Human Resource Information System: Software that provides a system of records for basic employee and HR data. HRIS serves as a foundation for TMS.
  • HCIS – Human Capital Information System: Collects, stores, analyzes, and distributes information on an organization’s human resources. An integrated TMS can be considered a form of HCIS.
  • HRMS – Human Resource Management System: Focuses on core HR activities like payroll, benefits, and attendance rather than talent processes. Talent Management Systems expands beyond HRMS capabilities.
  • LMS – Learning Management System: Software specifically for delivering and tracking online training and employee development. LMS is a component integrated within a comprehensive TMS.
  • ATS – Applicant Tracking System: Software to manage high-volume recruiting and candidate applications. ATS capabilities are included in TMS suites.
  • HCM – Human Capital Management: Strategic approach to maximize human resource value through workforce analytics. TMS is a key HCM-enabling technology.
  • HRPS – Human Resource Planning System: Focuses narrowly on analytics to forecast and plan human resource needs. HRPS informs broader Talent Management Systems strategy.
  • HRIS – Human Resources Information System: Collects employee data to help HR managers plan and make decisions. Overlaps with some HR metrics in TMS.

In summary, Talent Management Systems integrate capabilities across HRIS, LMS, ATS, HCM, and other tools into a unified platform managing the entire talent lifecycle.

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While Talent Management Systems offer immense potential, realizing the full benefits depends on effective implementation and adoption across the organization. Some of the most common mistakes that companies should be aware of when rolling out a TMS solution include:

  • Not requesting sufficient feedback from employees, hiring managers, and other TMS end-users during system selection and configuration. This can lead to low user adoption.
  • Simply digitizing current talent processes without rethinking and optimizing them first. This wastes an opportunity to enhance talent strategy.
  • Failing to integrate Talent Management Systems with core HR systems can limit analytics and create data inconsistencies.
  • Not adequately training employees and managers or addressing cultural shifts required to adopt a new system. Can impede user uptake.
  • Not piloting new functionality or phasing rollout results in too much complex change at once overwhelming users.
  • Not continually training on new features or refreshing Talent Management Systems configuration hinders solution sustainability over the long term.
  • Investing in TMS analytics capabilities but failing to build internal analytics skillsets restricts data insights realized.
  • Not accounting for mobile access needs in system selection and setup restricts on-the-go usage limiting adoption.
  • Having inadequate internal IT experts supporting the Talent Management Systems post-implementation leads to service gaps and system underutilization.

Commonly Used TMS Software

With the strategic importance of managing talent, many software vendors offer Talent Management System solutions suitable for organizations of different sizes and needs. Some of the leading TMS platform options to consider include:

  • Cornerstone OnDemand: Provides a full-suite TMS with strong learning, performance, recruiting, and analytics. Used by large organizations.
  • SAP SuccessFactors: Cloud-based Talent Management Systems offered by SAP focused on core HR plus robust talent analytics.
  • Oracle Taleo: Part of Oracle’s HCM cloud solution focusing on recruitment, learning, performance and compensation.
  • Nitso: Cloud platform combining HRMS, financials, and planning with dedicated talent management modules.
  • Saba: TMS for learning, engagement, recruitment, and succession targeted at SMBs.

Wrapping Up

In today’s competitive business world, organizations need to strategically manage talent to sustain a high-performing workforce. Talent Management Systems provide the technology infrastructure to optimize end-to-end talent processes in a unified platform.

By streamlining recruitment, learning, performance management, compensation, and analytics, Talent Management Systems enhance HR operations, delivers insights, and improve the employee experience. This leads to tangible benefits like quality hires, better retention, and data-driven decisions.

While overlapping with HRMS, Talent Management Systems especially focuses on integrated talent optimization versus routine HR functions. Leading vendors offer scalable solutions for organizations of all sizes. Avoiding pitfalls like poor integration and change management is key to successful implementation.

With its comprehensive talent capabilities, TMS has become an invaluable technology for supporting strategic talent management. Organizations that embrace TMS position themselves to attract, develop, and retain the human capital that drives growth and performance.

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