Technology Software that’s in it for Life

By Katherine Jones Dec 19, 2014

​​Software can touch every part of an employee’s life—from hire to retire or fire.

This brings to mind one of the most overused phrases in tech talk: “end-to-end.” It means the software does everything possible in a business cycle (order to cash, for example) or, in the case of employees, handles every process from the time they apply for a position to the time they leave the company.

While today’s software providers may shun the cliché, the movement to integrated talent management has reignited the concept of a virtual cradle-to-grave people management environment at work. Originally, the concept of life-cycle management went from the point of hire to the point of exit—an “inside-the-four-walls” concept of the employee.

Today, that has changed.

Let’s look at “end-to-end and then some” and the data management ramifications for HR professionals.

Companies—via technology—begin collecting information about people long before the individuals may even consider applying to work there. And given the transparency of information available on social networks and through search engines, a great deal can be known—and maintained—about potential future employees. In the past, a candidate’s application was the first point of data collection about an employee. Now, data collection not only begins much earlier but also is often far more informative.

We have never had more data about our employees—and it seems to be growing dramatically. Yesterday’s “employee self-service” applications have morphed into systems of engagement, once-a-year performance reviews have become a continuous coaching and feedback loop, and anything that was once a static “event”—such as an annual survey—is rapidly being replaced by a wide variety of real-time feedback, social sensing, and analytics systems that can gauge and measure employee feedback quickly. The ability to check the pulse of the entire population in real time will appeal to HR and will mean more inbound data more often, all to be stored and analyzed.

In today’s corporate world, contact with employees may be never-ending. Once, employees who quit (especially if they were going to a competitor) were walked out the door and virtually banished from the company forever as a traitor to the cause. Today, companies sometimes keep tabs on those who have left and consider them for re-employment should they seek to return. Employers have access to contact information about and communications from the now ex-employee through any Yelp or Glassdoor comments or feedback that may be posted, and watch for updates to his or her LinkedIn profile that indicate the individual may be back in the job market.

Likewise, retirees are now treated like emeritus professors, communicated with on an ongoing basis, often with continuing corporate e-mail accounts that allow them to mentor and give advice to current workers. Like the employees who voluntarily quit for other positions, these retirees are regarded as a source of referrals to the company.

Katherine Jones, Ph.D., is a vice president, focusing on human capital management (HCM) technology research, at Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. She can be reached at

©2014. International Association for Human Resource Information Management. Used with permission.


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