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forte by korn ferry logo

[tab:Product Overview]

One of the best ways to not have to constantly go through the tedious process of interviewing candidates to fill a role is to retain your current talent. And, one of the top ways to retain talent within an organization is to have a strong development plan for your employees.  The problem is that many companies struggle with how to provide the right structure for such plans and make them effective.

Korn Ferry International, a global provider of talent management solutions, has developed a tool to help alleviate some of those headaches while allowing employees to take the lead of their own personal development within their organizations.

Launched originally at the HR Tech Show in October of 2012, their new product, Forte, is intended to help bolster talent development in an organization through a unique blend of technology, industry expertise and optimization of other products within the KF family, and most of all, through the transparency the tool provides directly between the employee/manager relationships.


  • ProSpective survey: Assessment of strengths, weaknesses & blind spots
  • User Success profile: Awareness and rating of competencies specific to their position
  • Education through case studies, coaching and insights to engage and educate employee and manager, guidance on giving and receiving feedback, and more
  • High/Medium/Low Manage Rating of employee competencies
  • Employee Gap Analysis: Identify employee’s blind spots & hidden strengths
  • Personalized employee development plans
  • Over 150 Practical Activities to help employees grow and excel in their current position and careers
Prospective Survey Sort Results

Sample results from Prospective Survey

[tab:User Experience]

Some of the biggest issues Korn Ferry set out to solve in bringing Forte to market are how to factor in the impact of generational, social, and mobile trends into providing a solution that can attract, engage, and develop talent for organizations.

The tool is responsive to many of these issues through its effective use of technology, but primarily in how it has changed the paradigm and put the employee in charge of their own development.  This provides transparency, simplicity, and it has the possibility of accelerating the development process by allowing the employee to be somewhat self-directed with input from their managers on how they steer their own course for achieving mutual objectives.

employee aspiration

Sample employee aspiration comparison view

The application itself currently allows for four possible pathways, two around career building and two around career transitions:  achieve excellence, get back on track, move to a new job, or move to a new level.  Once a pathway is chosen, and initial assessments are in place, the system provides a visual, interactive guide to move forward and track progress.

Forte incorporates much of the knowledge and core competencies from Lominger (another KF company) in order to see what needs to be made available to employees as they’re progressing through their workflow.  The tool starts with an employee taking a ProSpecitve Assessment (KF proprietary assessment based on the Lominger framework.)

Self sorting assessment selections

Sample of self-sorting assessment selections

Once the assessment is completed, employees and the managers can each view the results separately and see how they compare.  Employees can choose specific areas they wish to work on to build competencies while receiving guidance and approval from their managers through the tool.  The tool also signals who it’s waiting on actions from in case someone needs a reminder.  Support for matrix organizations where multiple managers can have influence on each employees progress is also in the works for future updates.

The tool also has a distinctive ability to reveal hidden weaknesses and conversely hidden strengths of those utilizing the system through its gap analysis.  It also forces a greater level of passive engagement as managers are forced to be more thoughtful in their ability to articulate their reason for suggestions, recommendations, or notes, which provides for a more robust content rich dialogue.

Through this dialogue and interaction with the tool, an actual development and activity plan is built out for employees to follow.  The tool has over 150 suggested practical activities to help employees grow and excel in their careers.  In addition, it also provides suggested reading from KF family of products, and it allows for employees to capture their own discovered materials for growth from around the web, incorporating an additional social piece to the tool.

Once the above mentioned action plan is in place, a manager’s only role becomes to review and confirm that the development plan has been completed, which takes a great burden of the ‘management’ out of employee development. Through interactions with the tool, employees and managers can also self-assess for improvements based on behavior to validate development as well as set specific milestones or remedies for behaviors.

Because everything is self contained within the tool, a clear mapping is demonstrated on what was accomplished to build and accelerate development with each employee.  The tool also shows the level of impact different areas of growth will have on each person’s chosen path to help focus their personal strengths and weakness in how they develop.

Large or small companies can easily integrate Forte into their workflow.  It could also be integrated company-wide or as a select development tool for top performers depending on your company’s preferences and focus on employee development.  The system can easily complement other development tools and strategies already in place by creating a simple, transparent, and empowering layer to current processes.

Our favorite aspect is that it puts employees in the driving seat, with some checks and balances in place to make sure everyone’s collaborating and moving forward.  Korn Ferry also seems to be listening and paying attention to how users are effectively engaging with the tool for product improvements to continue to address the trends in the market.  We’ll be even more excited when the support for matrix organizations is rolled out as well as the ability to use the system from all mobile platforms.


Like many of the current products hitting the market, Forte is a cloud based application. You can experience Forte via an internet browser or iOS via an iPad, however, Korn Ferry does have plans to expand to other platforms in the near future to continue to mobilize the tool.  Expect the user experience on the iPad to be more straightforward and slightly superior to the browser experience if you decide to use it in a mixed environment.

Forte doesn’t seek to displace any current strategies for employee development your organization is currently utilizing, but to co-exist among other solutions implemented.  They have a general API that can be used to help integrate their tool as well as platform specific API for products and services they’ve already partnered with.

For general support, you can go straight to their website to access support tools via a nice bold, easy to locate link, just make sure you’re signed in or register first before heading over. (Trust us, it’ll make it easier.)

If you’re looking at implementing Forte, expect about 6-12 weeks to get up and running depending on variables like volume, the level of tweaking to existing profiles, and any existing tools you’d like to integrate with.  Because they purposely focused their efforts on a set of early adopters to map successful profiles, there’s not a massive undertaking to develop competency models for the majority of new users, so some setups could go more quickly.

And, yes, Korn Ferry will even work to brand Forte for your company if you so desire.


Forte is currently offered via subscription based pricing, per user/per year.  Pricing can be determinate upon a number of variables including existing relationships with Korn Ferry or a KF Company, existing licenses with Lominger, and the volume of users.  You can expect pricing to align somewhere around the $175-250 mark per user, per year.

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[tab:END] Interviewing.com does not receive monetary compensation for our product reviews.  For more information on our product reviews, please visit our product review disclaimer.

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