Jennifer Walzer of Backupmyinfo always tells me that her number one concern is her employees. She says her employees’ number one focus is Backupmyinfo customers. This is powerful.

Unfortunately many company executives don’t recognize that employees are their most important assets. If you have great employees, who feel empowered, challenged, loved (is that too strong a word for 2008) and happy, they’ll take care of your business and they will focus on your employees.

A few weeks ago I sat down with Paul Albright, General Manager, SMB and CMO for Success Factors one of a few companies who makes talent management software for small businesses. He helped me understand the power of technology in managing and retaining a team of employees who are motivated and dedicated.

There are many components to building the right talent pool and much of it does not involve technology. However, technology can surely aid in retaining and keeping employees, like it does many other critical business processes (such as marketing and finance).

Let’s take a look at the process of performance reviews. If the performance reviews are scattered in a variety of paper files, even if they are in nice and neat folders, you can’t get a transparent and global view of your employees if the raw data is not systematized and present as useful information.

As your company grows, from 5 – 50, or from 55 – 230 employees you’ll need a tool that can help you keep up with growth and manage the performance of your employees.

Using technology to help you manage your employees means that good employees rise to the top and are clearly visible – you know who to promote. While employees that are not so good are also clearly visible and you know who needs more training, needs to be reassigned or let go.

With project management tools you ensure each project is on time, profitable and of course before you even start the project, aligned with corporate goals. Employees are, in a way, no different. You need to ensure that your corporate goals and vision for the future are aligned with your hiring policies. You’ll only know if the employees you have newly hired and those who have been with you for 12 years are aligned with those goals and delivery the proper results.

Part of ensuring that great employees are acknowledged and rewarded is giving employees (and others) the ability to praise and/or acknowledge other employees. An employee management tool, makes this not only possible, but easy to do. Imagine any employee being able to tell management what a great job (or not so good job) their peer has done.

As a company grows, it’s important to move away from paper files and folders and Excel spreadsheets (which you should minimize using in the first place) to a system, aided by technology that can bring together the various aspects of an employee that go into getting a better view of how they contribute to a your company.

According to SuccessFactors, performance and talent management  provides a holistic approach to maximizing your company’s potential by helping your employees realize theirs. It encompasses a set of technological solutions and processes that help you:

•    Identify your talent needs, your best applicants, and your star players.
•    Align employees’ goals with the organization’s goals.
•    Evaluate performance, coach people to improve over time, and reward excellence.

It also helps you outperform the competition with the right performance and talent management program, which helps you:

•    Align team members’ goals with organizational goals, and productivity skyrockets.
•    Eliminate favoritism and politics from the compensation process, increasing employees’ commitment and engagement.
•    Build motivation by giving employees responsibilities and challenges that spur them to higher levels of performance.
•    Link succession planning with career planning and create a shared vision of an exciting future with your employees.

HR Management Software:

iEmployee.com
Halogen Software
Success Factors
Softscape

Ramon Ray is the editor & technology evangelist of Smallbiztechnology.com