What is Talent Relationship Management?

What is Talent Relationship Management? What makes it different from traditional Applicant Tracking? How does it drive and inspire us?

[This post originally published in 2013. And though it remains largely unchanged, was updated in August of 2022.]

Talent Relationship Management, or TRM, is more of a philosophy than a set of tools. It is about enabling interactions and designing software that treat the core of any good company, the talent, as just that — talented individuals who bring something special to the table. People who expect to have a relationship with their employer, and not treated like a line in a spreadsheet or a form in some HR application. It’s software that brings the very best of traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functionality to bear, but focuses on recruiting, networking, on-boarding, growing and maintaining a lasting relationship with individuals.

Tenets of the Talent Relationship Management philosophy:

  • Talent is the end, not just a means to an end
  • Attracting talent requires a strong network, a solid reputation, and a real opportunity
  • Nurturing and retaining talent requires mutual respect and ongoing growth

Good Talent Relationship Management software should be focused on enabling this philosophy by:

  • Enabling users. Don’t get in their way – value flexibility over rigidity
  • Enabling networking and ongoing relationships – value interconnectedness and continuous interaction over transactional encounters
  • Enabling user adoption by providing value to everyone – value usability and end-user value over complexity and pure top-down management analytics.

This is different from many traditional HR and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that focus on:

  • Transactional “one and done” approach to candidates
  • Complex representation of candidate information, often spanning many fields and forms
  • Rigid process flows
  • Management reporting needs

Behind the scenes, and over multiple decades, our founding team has personally built and operated talent-centric services business focused primarily in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market. We were very successful and over that time developed a deep understanding of where software could and could not help improve the relationship between companies and their clients.

In addition to seeing how software helped our clients, we also had to overcome our own challenges in finding and growing talent in our own business. It was a continuous journey that involved bringing in individuals from the most junior greenhorns to recognized industry experts. Not only that, we consulted and worked with hundreds of companies that did the same, in their own unique ways.

When we founded Crelate, we wanted to leverage our consulting and software development skills and build a product that would help businesses maintain solid relationships with talented people. Our talent relationship management system would be designed to make users more productive, as well as answer the needs of management. It would be clean and modern, focused on the key features rather than lots of fluff. It would value real-world flexibility over ivory tower workflows and Draconian processes.

So who am I and what’s my role? My name is Aaron Elder and I’m the CEO and a co-founder of Crelate. I have over 25 years of experience in product development and technology consulting. I am a former lead application architect of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft CRM MVP, as well as the former CTO of what was the #1 Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultancy in the world (which we sold in 2011 and continues as a #1 consultancy). I’ve spent most of my career hiring and growing developers, much of that time in niche technology fields. I spend some of my free time studying Austrian economics and am fascinated by macro-economic trends affecting hiring, job growth, wages and higher education.

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