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        Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

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        Plum Provides Insights for Better Talent Management

        Perhaps no human capital management-related topic has been more widely examined in recent years than the struggle to find and retain top talent. Software has flooded the market to address the challenge from every angle — automated sourcing and stack ranking of candidates; artificial intelligence-powered employee sentiment analysis for identifying and reducing the risk of attrition; and internal skills gap identification with connected learning opportunities to help organizations quantify what they’re missing, allowing workers to forge their career paths.

        Concurrently, there has been a fundamental shift in the way organizations assess fitness for a role. As I wrote in this perspective, talent management is moving away from education and prior job titles as primary evaluation criteria,Ventana_Research_2023_Assertion_Talent_Talent_Intel_Platform_18_S (3) focusing instead on the actual skills required for success in a role. The primary focus has been on hard skills that can be quantified and documented in a skills ontology. I assert that by 2027, most organizations will abandon the traditional applicant tracking system in favor of a talent intelligence platform, combining external and internal talent evaluation, skills-matching and people analytics. The primary focus, though, has been on hard skills that can be quantified and documented in a skills ontology.

        While certainly important, hard skills only tell part of the story. Plum is a talent management platform that uses objective data to help organizations identify behaviors required for success in a role or team. The system gives insights into a candidate’s talents, behaviors and preferences and provides organizations the platform to marry the two and make better talent decisions.

        Plum’s approach is based on the five-factor personality model, a psychometric classification of personality traits that has been repeatedly studied, reviewed and scientifically validated for decades. The platform has tools to support talent acquisition, onboarding, team optimization, learning and development, internal mobility and succession planning. The system compares specific behaviors required for success in a role with the innate talents, drivers and demotivators of each candidate.

        Using this information, the Plum platform helps screen candidates based on their potential for success. The process also may identify candidates not otherwise considered for roles. For example, an organization searching for a sales leader may be inclined to promote the top-performing sales representative. The behaviors and talents required of a leader, however, are not necessarily the same as those that drive an individual contributor’s performance. Plum’s approach provides key insights to help managers understand what workers need to be most successful. It enables organizations to form better teams by comparing the talent makeup of each individual and sharing insights into how to best work with one another. These insights are critical to organizational success but cannot be found on a resume.

        Shifting to a skills-first talent management model presents many challenges. The organization’s stakeholders may reject a concept that is completely different from what they know and how they have always worked. Others don’t understand or believe that personality traits can be quantified, measured and applied as accurate predictors of behavior or success, despite an abundance of scientific evidence. In fact, Plum’s years of data have shown the model to be four times more predictive than a resume, demonstrating the efficacy of its model through a variety of client case studies.

        Even with a science-backed model and customer success stories, many talent acquisition leaders view assessments as a roadblock to hiring — another step in an application process that is already too long. Considering that the Plum assessment takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, this concern is valid. Length of application has long been ridiculed in the media, and candidates will often abandon an application process they deem to be arduous. Organizations willing to use the Plum platform for talent management could be reticent to do so if there is a concern it will discourage candidates from applying. I would encourage businesses with this viewpoint to consider that quantity does not always equate to quality. The process may be better served by the ability to consider candidates that have not otherwise been identified than by those who choose to opt out or who may have been considered top candidates based on resume or education but are not necessarily so when evaluated on contemporary criteria.

        There is no doubt that organizations are struggling to attract and retain the talent needed to drive business outcomes. Traditional methods of talent evaluation are giving way to more innovative and — by some measures — more accurate approaches. Plum has the potential to set a new standard for talent evaluation and management within organizations. I recommend it approach potential buyers with as much data and as many validated success cases as is practical. Plum also must be willing to walk away from organizations that simply won’t be convinced by the science that this approach has merit. For those willing to get ahead of competitors and identify new channels of talent, I recommend evaluating the Plum talent management platform as part of an overall talent management strategy.


        Quincy Valencia


        Ventana Research

        Ventana Research, now part of Information Services Group (ISG), is the most authoritative and respected market research and advisory services firm focused on improving business outcomes through optimal use of people, processes, information and technology. Since our beginning, our goal has been to provide insight and expert guidance on mainstream and disruptive technologies. In short, we want to help you become smarter and find the most relevant technology to accelerate your organization's goals.


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